Roamer, wanderer, nomad, vagabond. Call me what you will.
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.
It’s time. I’ll be leaving Stone Brewing soon, the company I co-founded and led for the better part of my adult life.
Counting the ramp-up time, I’ve dedicated almost 30 years to this. Not gonna lie…leaving is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Stone has been my life. But at some point, your life has to be your life. And it’s time for that for me.
From the guts of me: a sincere and humble thank you to so very, very many.
If you ask someone how much they’ve changed over the last five or ten years, they’ll usually respond that they have changed a bit, maybe even a great deal. But ask how much they expect to change over the coming five to ten years, and most people respond “not much.”
It’s a real scientific thing. They call it the End of History Illusion. We think that where we are in the moment is where our attitudes and opinions will continue to be in perpetuity. We readily admit that we’ve changed in the past, but can’t fathom we’ll continue doing so because here, now, this thought…that’s the pinnacle of who I am…and I won’t change much from here at all.
And yet we do.
I read about this illusion years ago. And yet, I fell into it every time. Wherever my head was at throughout my career, I was sure it was there forever. The world has changed dramatically in the last few years. The beer industry changed with it. And, so have I.
Sure. I’d said it dozens of times. Quite possibly well over 100. I 1000% meant it every single time. It’s what I truly believed. I said it while pounding my fist both physically and metaphorically on the table. I’d said it over the telephone or on video with the narrative emphasis “…he says while pounding his fist on the table.” The words: I will never sell out.
To understand that, we have to understand the genesis of why I got into craft beer in the first place, and why I would pound my fist in accompaniment with the aforementioned phrase. For some, all they may be able to think about right now is an urge to pop over to twitter with their righteous pronouncement of judgement. I get it. I don’t mind. Really. Sure, it’s better to say it to me in person, but chances are good you may not have the opportunity, and even stronger that if you do, you actually wouldn’t. (Thankfully, while people might say not-so-nice things via their thumbs tapping on a small screen, they tend to find nice things to say in person.) At any rate, I got off social media a few years ago, so I won’t even see whatever it is that’s said.
Sure. I have an ego. Egos aren’t bad things. They’re pretty much necessary to get out of bed in the morning. If you don’t have at least a modicum of “I can do this!” running in your veins, it’s possible you may not do much at all. Mine has mostly manifested itself in (one would hope) good ways over the years. My main ego driver has been wanting to do the right thing. I want to share with people visions of better alternatives. Things that were better than the norm. The belief that others might be interested in craft beer too. Sure, I got preachy at times. But I wanted to stand up for craft beer, which was the perennial underdog of the beer industry.
Until it wasn’t.
When was that moment? That’s a harder call than [pick your metaphor], but it seems to be sometime around 2016. Or the day before yesterday. The day you select will likely be proportional to how long you’ve been into craft beer. For me, it was just a handful of years after Stone started when things really started to heat up, and it felt like people began leaning in when I wanted to talk beer with them, rather than looking for polite ways to leave the conversation.
It’s humbling to sit here and realize all of my dreams have either been met or far exceeded. In 1996 I dreamed of a world where people had better options, and lots of them. But I never dared to dream there would be nearly 10,000 breweries in the US. Stone was around the 850th—not the first by any means, but the room was a little echoey when we got here.
Back then, if you needed a great brewer, you usually just hired a random person you believed in, showed them the ropes, and got to praying. Today there are brewing courses all over the nation, and an industry that’s robust beyond my previous comprehension. This is wonderful.
Now there’s a booming craft beer scene in nearly every brewing country in the world. When we started, I dreamed of a world where you didn’t have to drive half way across town to that ‘one place’ that served craft beer. Now most neighborhoods have craft beer places around the corner, at every major sporting event, and every bingo hall. (OK, I don’t know that last one to be true…do they even serve beer in bingo halls? If so, then I have something to look forward to in old age.) And there are STILL places that are worth driving half way across town for. That’s the kind of beauty that hits a craft beer nerd like me in the heart.
And now we have ridesharing, so bring on those IPAs and Double IPAs (and everything else)! It’s a personal kind of heaven.
But back to the gratitude. I thank you all. I thank those of you who supported us, who helped both envision and create a world in which better beer, food, experiences, and environments were made available to more people. It has always, always been a collective effort.
I thank my partner, and our original brewmaster, Steve Wagner. He was the steadfast foundation. He created Stone Pale Ale, Stone IPA, Stone Imperial (Russian) Stout. That’s a hell of a resume. Stone and I could not have done what we did without him. Period. He didn’t stop me from every dumb decision, but he helped us avoid many. More importantly, he worked with me to help realize the best decisions all along the way, including the founding of the company itself, which will go down in the history of decisions I think were really really good.
I thank our amazing team. The ones who are here today, working to evolve Stone. And the people at every point of our now 26-year history. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the absolute best.
People often ask me how Stone was able to achieve what it did. Well, a lotta luck and a lotta hustle. I was lucky to find the right partner in Steve. Someone who was as dedicated and steadfast as I was, but smarter (and more talented, and way more focused). Because peddling “craft beer” in 1996 was not easy. They called it weird beer. Foo foo beer. Said it was a fad. But I didn’t believe it.
You needed good people and you needed luck. I had both. And we worked our asses off.
We were lucky to join the revolution during the period when ‘microbrews’ were transitioning from being the butt of pejoratives, to when the craft beer voices were starting to be louder than the critics. More brewers got inspired, which inspired more consumers, who inspired bars, restaurants and retailers to begin offering a selection, which inspired writers to write about it, and home brew shops to cater to the newly curious. It became a virtuous cycle, and it began to snowball.
Our taste for big, bold flavors seemed excessive to many at the time, so not many followed us down that road. Turns out we lucked onto a principally uncharted road that eventually a lot of people found they wanted to be on (once they gave themselves a chance and tried).
When we opened the doors of Stone on July 26, 1996, there were four of us. Steve, me an office manager, a delivery / do-it-all guy (shout out to Estella and Mike). Our distribution vehicle was a panel minivan with our logo on it (and the only minivan I’ve ever been proud to be in). At the time, with just the four, Stone was the largest company I’d ever worked for. Today, we have around 1,000 people. Passionate, caring, hard working, creative people. I leave the brewery in very capable hands.
But wait…again…why go?
Two primary reasons.
One, I have to be self-aware enough to know that just because I co-founded and led the company for many years, I may not be the best person to helm Stone into the future. I’d planned to operate the puppet strings all the way to my last days, but can easily see now how disrespectful that would be to all the people that have shared our vision along the way…especially the folks that are here now and showing up and working hard every day. I’ve run the calculus every which way (over and over in my head for years now), and this is the most pragmatic decision to ensure this beautiful thing I care so much about has a future.
And two, for the same reasons we started Stone. Got one life. When your gut nags you, follow it. I’ll finally fully honor my inner introvert. Gonna take myself out to pasture, both metaphorically and literally (but to clarify, I’m not dying…but hopefully I’ll do that in some random hiking trail, jungle or pasture when the time comes).
Gonna start my semi-recluse phase. I might just find myself a volleyball to talk to.
I thank the detractors who kept me humble. And I realize that many reading that sentence are chuckling. Greg…humble? Just think how bad it would have been without you. Lolz. Through the years I’ve sometimes been known to be a bit overly passionate, overly serious, and I have even come off like an ass at times. I promise you that under that bombast was always a healthy dose of self-deprecation, self-mockery, and a metric ton of self-doubt. Any supreme confidence was an alchemy of my own intense need to make this work — to protect the baby we’d built and the industry we all created — and a good dollop of old-fashioned self-doubt that I might not be up to the task. You can see almost all of those emotions present themselves in the I Am A Craft Brewer video I created with my friends Jared and Chris at Redtail Media, that featured some of the people I most admired on the planet.
I don’t regret the ‘overly passionate’ part. But if I could go back and give younger self some advice, it might be “Lighten up, Francis.”
And speaking of lightening up….
I’m still, and expect to always be, a supporter of independent craft beer. It’s my roots. It was my cause. I’d like to think I made some contributions to the effort over the years. I will continue to enjoy craft beer because, well, craft beer is awesome.
However, I’ve softened my rigidity around this in recent years. I’ll happily buy a beer from Avery, New Belgium, Dogfish Head and Bell’s. And Anchor. I’ll always happily reach for an Anchor. I have a special place in my heart for Anchor and always will, as it was my epiphany beer all the way back in 1987. The one that turned me on to what ‘could be’ in the world of beer and was the initial spark that sent me on my craft beer journey.
I have a special place in my heart for all of you. Both the supporters and the detractors. Really. You shaped Stone. You shaped the world of beer. You shaped me.
A few more special and heartfelt THANK YOUs:
- To all the breweries out there doing crazy awesome things today. You have constantly shattered my expectations. Sure, I don’t always love all of it, but I love a lot of it. And that leaves me plenty to enjoy, and little to complain about. If you’re making great beers with passion, heart and soul, thank you.
- To all those pushing progress on the DEI agendas, you are showing what I’ve believed all along: that craft beer is for everyone, and that all should feel welcome and included. I’ve always loved the diversity of craft beer, but always wanted it to be diverse-er. Due to the active advocacy of a great group of voices from many communities, the industry is making leaps and bounds in this direction. As it should be. Thank you.
- To those moving sustainability efforts forward. The world needs you, and you’re making a difference. This has always been and will always be a team effort, but I also encourage the average person to apply these principles to their daily lives. (And people please, stop with the fucking single use plastic bottles of water already. It’s not a good look.)
- And once again, to the people at the company whom we affectionally refer to as Team Stone: You ARE Amazing.
In closing, I wanted to share something I heard recently that really resonated with me. The psychologist and author Dan Gilbert talked as a guest on one of my favorite podcasts about the fact that after having a 20 year long career in the public eye, he “no longer needed to hear himself talk.” It struck at the heart of how I’m feeling (which is great, by the way). This blog may be the last time that you hear from me. I’ve enjoyed being a passionate — and vocal — advocate for craft beer, but I’m ready for smaller, more intimate conversations now. If you are inclined, you can listen to the exact part of the episode of People I (Mostly) Admire with Steve Levitt by fast forwarding to minute 43:20.
And now it’s time for me to be a fan of your work, to enjoy the results of your art, and to listen to what you have to say. As another of my highly recommended favorite authors/podcasters Seth Godin likes to say “Go make a ruckus.”
Right decision, right time. Go live your life, hike, walk one of the world's great pilgrimages (highly recommend this option!). Soak it all up, see, live, breathe, experience as much as you can, free from social media, on your own terms. You get the one life. Cheers!
I arrived in San Diego from England in 2001. At the first bar I went, Stuft Pizza, I asked the barman if he had any dark beer. He replied "Arrogant bastard!". Initially taken aback by his response, he quickly explained he was referring to a new beer they had just tapped from a new brewery called Stone. The rest, as is often said, is history. However, fast forward to the opening of Stone-on-Kettner and I recall a conversation with you, Greg, about the possibility of Stone brewing a gluten reduced beer because my wife is gluten intolerant and the gluten free/reduced ales at the time were pretty awful, to say the least!. I recall you lowered your, being much taller than I, and softly said you had plans for a gluten reduced beer, and to be patient. No long after the conversation, Stone Delicious IPA appeared, and, perhaps not surprisingly, since Stone doesn't do anything by half measures, it was bloody good! So much so, it has become my go-to IPA, and which my wife and I can enjoy together! Thank you, Greg, well done! Now you can rest. Cheers!
Wish you the best of luck and a happy life...My youngest son CHAD was on the bottling line at STONE--- NOTE: Chad was the 15th anniversary poster boy!.(note; REMEMBER his handle-bar moustache?)... Has that portion of the bottling line you got out of the mud in new orleans due to hurricane katrina ever been replaced..???.. Chad did not like to be on sweeper duty of broken glass from bottles flying.!!!..and the rest is history. take care and enjoy what the future brings you.
Greg, just would like to wish you and all the best. You have created a remarkable business model in Stone. It hopefully will live on and do well. Been a fan from the beginning when you were in that brewery that use to be Pizza Port. Stopped in many times for some. Our daughter went to school in the San Diego area and sent her in for a case of Triple Sawyer and her only remark was all the been nuts that were in line with her.
Again the best to you and enjoy your time away but do stay busy. Just a Stone Beer nut also.
Greg - I want to thank you and Steve and all those who made and still make Stone great. I admire the Arrogant Bastard from days of old, and truly leaving as it began and continues - "the renaissance of beer". I still have the very first collaboration between you, Bill C. (Victory), and Sam C. (DogFish) in my basement. And I thought that was cutting edge...I do hope some day our paths cross as I would love to hoist a glass with you and thank you personally for all you have done to bring us where we are today in the industry. Cheers!
Thanks for everything you did to push the boundaries of craft beer. Stone IPA for sure had a big influence on me becoming a brewer. Stop by Project Barley in Lomita or Redondo Beach when you get a chance.
Getting a bit long in tooth and growing up in Switzerland I was always looking for hoppier and more assertive beers and ales. After tasting your IPA, my favorite, and very familiar with your Mata Way location (I helped to open the Heating and Cooling Branch at the other end of the building) I bough three growlers on my first visit and headed back to Coronado. I was hooked, did not get my all my re-supply from San Marcos, but managed to maintain a reasonable turn-over of Stone brews. Working in retirement at SeaWorld, at the time an A-B owned company, I converted many of the beer side employees to Stone (and other craft breweries :-)! While I was hoping you'd steer Stone for longer, there is always a TIME to call it. I wish you a happy retirement as I have been enjoying mine!
You have earned the right to enjoy life. Do what makes you happy. Sad to see you go. I’ve been a fan for a long time. San Marcos long. Good luck with whatever you do. Thank you.
So long and thanks for all the beer -
Since Mata Way and remember the european bottling line ;) The sadness of leaving San Marcos to see the owner bending rebar in the Grand entrance of Stone Escondido, surreal and tranquility, just stunning.
You're never out of the game but you surely have days off.
wow wow wow...first of all, I would like to say that this is STILL the best beer and Brewery around! I have been a fan for 24 years. When I first tried Stone Pale Ale at my old job, I was blown away with how good it was. Thank you and Steve for the awesome times, the blurry memories and the great beers, cheers my friend!
Stone products are by far the best of any craft beer made today. We have been drinking it since 1997 when we moved to San Diego.
Just one disappointment...the loss of Ruination when Ruination 2.0 was introduced. It and Stone IPA were the 2 finest beers ever brewed. PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!!
Thanks Greg and Steve. Mostly for Citracado, but for everything the existence of that beer implies, as well. Others have already said it well in earlier comments. Well done, son! I have TRULY enjoyed - and enjoyed serving - many of your beers (especially Citracado). There are a few of them among the most memorable beers of my life. Particularly Citracado. And the first Wootstout. And Merc Machine. And, of course, Arrogant Bastard.
And yes, may we all find our end on that mountain, trail, or in that pasture. I truly hope to look at the open sky as I fade away for the last time. Or maybe it'll be a dropped ceiling. Doesn't matter. I've already died once and it's WAY more interesting whatever the last setting will be. Enjoy your journey. It's a good one, isn't it?
Stone is the brewery that got me into craft beers years ago. Have had the pleasure of meeting Greg a couple times and always walked away thinking what a good guy he was. Sorry to see you go, but wish you all the best. And thanks for opening my eyes.
It was a helluva ride! It was so fun to reconnect with you at RAF in Chicago in 2000(?) and then to follow your success. I think Stone did a lot of good for craft beer, but the scene has definitely changed in recent years. Hope you enjoy the time off, you have certainly earned it. Cheers!
Thanks Greg and Team Stone for all the years of great beer and infectious passion for craft beer. Churchill said “I am easily satisfied with the very best” and that quote always reminds me of Stone Brewing and the excellence that you achieved consistently. A special shout out to the 7th and 10th Anniversary Ales…and the Original Vertical Epic series. All the best to you Greg and Steve!!!
In a day full of big news, this news item for me was the biggest. The week you and Steve opened on Mata Way was the week I gave up messing up my kitchen making homebrew. I sang the praises of Stone everywhere (including sell merch at the Del Mar Fair, you might recall) and passed out those "I wish a had a Stone" cards at restaurants pouring craft beer. More importantly you, Steve, Arlan and many others made my wife and I feel welcome at the brewery and those early beer dinners. I hope as you and Steve move on that you find new passions that give you joy. Cheers gentlemen!
The end of an era, Greg! But, best wishes to you in your recluse phase. We used to live just a mile from Stone Brewing in Escondido - dangerously close! We spent many happy hours in the gardens there, drinking and dining, and occasionally talking with you when you were around. We imbibed during the free tours and eagerly soaked up the ambience of the place - there's literally no place like it. Early on, we attended the book club meetings with you that were held in the garden - pure pleasure. We even held a birthday celebration there when my mom turned 90 yo in 2011 (she was a fan, too!). Ten years ago, we moved to San Diego and began enjoying the location in Liberty Station. I hope that with the change of ownership, we can continue to be Stoners. Rock on, Greg!
Thanks for bringing Stone to Berlin. It was a pleasure working for you! You wished me all the best when I left Stone to open my pub in Dortmund. Now it’s on me to wish you a the best for your next step in life. Btw we still sell only craft beer beside good Asian food! Hope to see you again!
I moved back to Oceanside in ‘97, and quickly found your beer. I have been an ardent loyal fan of it since. North County SD is hands down the best place to live if you surf and love good beer. Thank you and enjoy your remaining life to the fullest. Cheers and thank you!
Enjoy your next adventure in life. I have been a Stone fan for the past few years. Favorite is Bastard. Also been enjoying limited releases. Just today I pick up 2 Righteous 6 packs and a Enjoy by 7/4 for my vacation in Hilton Head NC for the July 4th week. I will be thinking of what you and your team accomplished. I wish in honor of you, they could do a special release of Double or Triple Bastard. Sincerely a fan, Ed.
I was a New Jersey beer lover on a business trip to Temecula CA when i walked into one of your first distributing liquor stores and the proprietor steered me to the Stone section, proudly proclaiming to be one of the first to carry Stone. I bought Pale Ale, Porter, and the (then) brand new Arrogant Bastard Ale. I honestly wonder if those 2 22 ounce bottles i bought were the first on the east coast, and I shared the 2nd at my local craft brew bar and blew a LOT of minds. Years later when you posted your opinion of the craft brewery buyouts of Ballast and the like I commented something along the lines of "If somebody hands you a couple hundred of million dollars it can be hard to say NO!" With all due respect I say I told you so!, may Arrogant Bastard never die, and I wish you forever CHEERS!!!! Thank you for the kick in the ass that was Stone and Arrogant Bastard!!!!
Man. This is bittersweet. I hate to see stone get acquired. I really do. It goes against the entire mission statement and everything stone was built upon. It's why we all supported this company. Just a couple of years ago with the whole KeyStone's thing going on, it was a huge push for craft beers and it was good to see stone still standing up for the small guys.
The last couple of years, it's been evident things were changing. Arrogant bastard breaking off into it's own brand, all of the core beers disappearing and a huge influx of weird fruity / tropical beers felt like Stone was following the trendy beers instead of leading with crazy bold new concoctions. Then, more recently coming out with hard seltzer (like, what? everyone is doing this, why stone too?) - Then some of the core stuff started coming back, FML is killer, Hazy IPA is great, ruination is awesome.. but the lineup just feels hollow. A shell of it's former self. It's been weird. We knew something was going on, but not quite sure what it was exactly.
Stone will always have a special place in my memory and I'll do my best to continue to support the brand but it's going to be hard to adjust..
I get why it's being done but it just feels surreal at the same time.
What a long strange sip it’s been. Glad I was there in the formative years. Respect for living your vision. Creating a beach of malt in the brew house for your Swimsuit photos for Celebrator cover was epic. The opening of the new brewery topped even that. Your pathetic guitar playing with Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick at CBC years ago proved you fail upward. We’ll done, brother. Go forth and don’t veg. Somehow I think you won’t…
Congratulations my friend. What a fabulous ride. Enjoy the sunsets, every single one. You, Steve & Stone changed my life and I have nothing but fantastic memories and best wishes.
You guys killed it. Life moves on, stone will always Work for. Thanks so much for team stone for making this happen. Cheers Greg and Steve!
Thank you. You and Steve set out on a journey that I'm sure had many twists and turns. In the end, the two of you managed to do something amazing, and I hope its ultimately been a fulfilling journey for you both. Best wishes in the next adventure and to paraphrase Douglas Adams, the secret to flying is to throw yourself at the ground and miss; however, its the missing part that presents the greatest challenge.
Friend of a friend who worked there...I always heard that Stone will never sell...it didn't make sense to me. Somebody's at the helm and will someday wanna retire like me...right?? I knew my inner calculations were accurate. Value wise, thought you were worth more than Ball Pt...timing may have been off but meh : )
Thank you Greg for all that you have done to make Craft Beer what it has become.
I remember those days when I used to have to drive miles to pick up my fav beers.
Now there are so many choices it hard to decide.
In my infinite wisdom, I once advised GK that 22oz bottles were trending down in our market and that we should consider discontinuing them, to which GK replied : " We choose not to participate in that trend" ( he was right , we sold many thousands of cases over the years ;-)
It's been a great ride - thank you.
I first tasted your Pale Ale late summer of '96 at a beer garden for the North County Century (100 mile bike ride). I had never tasted an American made beer that was so good. Following year we moved from Santa Monica to North County. Suffice to say that I've been a Stone lover practically from day one. I believe that the modern craft brew industry owes you guys big time, as do us craft brew consumers! Safe travels.
Greg, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. The first beer I ever had (because my buddy recommended it) was Arrogant Bastard. That's how I STARTED, and I immediately fell in love. I will never be able to thank you for sending me down the craft beer path before crap beer could hook me. You've been an inspiration, and will continue to be. I hope that Sapporo was the right move, ant that they continue to grow and evolve these beautiful brews. I'm taking every word of this post to heart. Know that you are loved and appreciated, sir. All the best. Perhaps we'll meet again in the future at some beer show somewhere (meeting you once at the brewery was so cool). Take care of yourself. I'll raise a glass of Arrogant Bastard in your honor at beer o'clock.
Thank you Greg!
I've learned so much about beer thanks to you. I moved my family from Israel to the US based on a conversation in which I asked: "what does IPA stand for?". It's been quite a ride since then. After 9 years in Arizona, I'm now back in Israel missing Stone hoppiness. Thankfully I have a good friend in AZ who jumped through many hoops to send me the lastest incarnations RuinTen. Thanks Frank for the introduction to IPAs and Stone!
Thanks Greg! I hope I get the pleasure of having a beer with you someday.
Greg - Thank you for the trip down the rabbit hole.
One thing I remember is that, when you and Ken came and spoke at Charleston's first Brewvival, I am rueful that
I was so into the enormity of the event, trying dozens of new beers, and for my first brew fest, I didn't stop and listen
to you guys. I wish I had.
Thank you for the awesome stouts, especially the Epics. The fab IPAs. The barleywines.
I'm disappointed that it's a big fish that is going to eat Stone, which will happen, but thankful for all of the
great stuff you've sent east.
Hurts my heart. It was my favorite beer that is now in corporate hands. Well, i enjoyed it for many years.. thank you for those.
And thank you for all that you did for Craft beer, San Marcos/Escondido, and north County in general. As a loyal customer/fan for 20+ years, there is no shame in taking an exit that keeps your dream alive.
Looking forward to what you do next, neighbor.
I met you at the very first Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder. I listened to your speech on what craft beer could be. I was taken by your enthusiasm and the way you spoke about what craft beer could be, would be. It inspired me to help fan the flames by blogging.
All things must pass. You’ve run a good race. Now go out and find another race to run. I think there’s still a lot of enthusiasm left in you.
Arrogant Bastard Ale changed the way I thought about beer. FML confirmed that change. Thank you for that.
One comment, though. The quote you prefaced your essay with, attributed to “Heraclitus, poet of Marcus Aurelias”, is actually Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who flourished around 500 BC. The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, reigned 161-180 AD. He may have quoted Heraclitus in his own writings.
I've been trying to feel sad about this, but I can't. Yes, I will never look at a new Stone brew with the same anticipation of surprise and delight. Sure, the industry-constructing work you and Steve have done will now fall to others who are more interested in following rather than inspiring trends. And, of course, I will feel less a part of craft beer culture now that the home team flies a foreign flag.
The 'fans' complaining about your decision are the same passionless followers in life who will happily go back to the fizzy yellow beer they drank before inadvertently stumbling on a Stone. The true fans know you all inspired a legion of brewers who should be supported in continuing the revolution. That's the legacy you can rest upon. Enjoy your alone time, then let us know who is still doing the good work so we might stay a little bit Stoned.
For years now, every time I've walked into the Pasadena tap room (or the occasional trips down to Escondido), I've experienced the thrill of the new. There's always some sublime experiment awaiting me, some new hop combination to partake of. That's been a gift, and I hope it continues. Thanks for the ride...
Thanks for sharing this. I grew up home brewing and definitely appreciate the impact stone ipa has made in San Diego.
Good luck in your journey.
Stone was among the craft brewers that opened my eyes to the vast pallet of beer flavors. To be brutally self-aware, I became a bit of a beer snob, and any beer produced by a business larger than a microbrewery was only fit to be flushed. But my attitude has changed. My favorite Lagunitas beers have tasted just as good post-Heineken, and Greg's beloved Anchor hasn't been dulled by its change of ownership. Maybe we can all just agree to drink good beer that we like. Let's not forget that we have Greg--and Steve, and hundreds of others--to thank for having that good beer around. Cheers, Greg. Enjoy the rest of the ride.
Stone Arrogant Bastard was the first IPA I ever tried. I hated it.
Stone Double Bastard was the second IPA I tried. I hated it even more.
I guess I could have stopped there, decided I didn't like hoppy beer. But I wanted to understand why my friends loved this stuff so much. So I tried the Stone Ruination. . . and it all clicked for me.
Thanks for the journey.
I visited your brewery in the summer of 1996. I had a Stone IPA, fell in love, and have been a hophead ever since.
My first beer experience was in Japan. I couldn't hang with whiskey or sake, so I chose beer (it was Kirin). With Sapporo coming on, my personal beer story has come full circle.
Thank you for believing in your passion and making "real beer" for all of us to enjoy. You deserve your time now.
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