When you pick up a gargoyle-branded bottle of any one of Stone Brewing Company’s beers, one of the first things you notice is that this brewery takes itself seriously. They also reserve a lot of scorn for certain unnamed mass-marketed companies who have sold watered-down lagers to ignorant consumers. Depending on your taste in beer, this either makes them geniuses who are ahead of their time, or arrogant bastards who should keep their mouths shut. Considering they produce an American double ale called Arrogant Bastard, you can figure they place a lot of pride at flipping the bird to the haters.
It’s been that way since 1996, when they got their start brewing in northern San Diego County. Thanks to their sister craft beer distribution company, they quickly spread across southern California and not long after were selling their beers nationwide. It wasn’t long before they were hailed as the “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate … twice. They are currently the ninth-largest craft brewery in North America. The next time you stop by Liquor Barn and want a bold, hop-forward beer to take home and enjoy over dinner, consider any one of these awesome brews.
Stone Ruination Double IPA
This is perhaps the best known brew of Stone’s gargantuan lineup. A year-round fixture, Ruination is Stone’s “Liquid poem to the glory of the hop.” This citrusy, piney, tropical ale has an ABV of 8.5% and IBU of 100. Among the staggering six varieties of hops that feature in Ruination, you won’t be surprised to find Simcoe and Citra—mainstays of traditional West Coast IPAs—a crucial element of each batch.
Stone Tangerine Express IPA
In homage to Stone’s California coastal roots, it’s fitting that one of their flagship beers is this citrusy, fruity IPA brewed with tangerine puree and just a hint of pineapple. Stone likes to remind would-be drinkers that “we’re not looking for a sweet concoction to appease the ‘I want my beer to taste like fruit juice’ crowd.” So expect the flavor to hit you full on the nose, while the taste on your tongue will still be a classic IPA. At 6.7% ABV and 75 IBU, this one’s perfect for that first warm day of spring.
Stone Coffee Milk Stout
While Stone is mostly known for its hop-forward approach to making beer, they’ve come out with a fair number of stouts and porters over the years that show they know what they’re doing when it comes to dark, bready beers too. Their Coffee Milk Stout is an homage to roasty, malty stouts that you find in an Irish pub on a cold rainy day. Heavy notes of roast coffee, followed by lighter notes of cacao and smoke make this one a pleasure to drink. 5% ABV and 40 IBU.
Stone “Enjoy By” IPA Series
One unique facet of Stone’s brewing capabilities is they have a whole series of unfiltered IPAs that reflect the unique differences between daily batches. Expect deep peach and tropical fruit hop flavor, a gorgeous hazy pour, and a deliciously sticky, piney finish. Most of these batches are around the 9-10% ABV range and push 100 IBUs—not for the faint of heart! In other words, just the kind of beer that Stone loves to make. Enjoy!