I haven’t always enjoyed beer. In fact, in college I’m pretty sure I used to say that my drink of choice was “anything but beer”. Well, times have changed and so has my palate.
Although not in day-trip distance to the bay area, Stone Brewery is definitely worth a trip for beer lovers. Beautifully set against a hillside in North San Diego County, this cave-like brewery is like a “dark movie set meets sci-fi machine”. The brewery has an overgrown lush green entrance and a sweet garden patio which makes it perfect to enjoy on a warm summer afternoon or even a chilly winter night (like I did).
Left: Menu and Decor, Right: Bar and exposed brewery
The beer selection is strong– not only in variety, but taste. We had the Stone Pale Ale, Smoked Porter, IPA, and Arrogant Bastard (left to right in the photo below). They were hoppy, bitter, and intense. My favorite by far was the Arrogant Bastard Ale for it’s strong and punchy flavor. I even preferred it to it’s Oaked counterpart. I have not been able to warm up to the extra hoppy IPA’s, but I will say that Stone also makes an amazing Cali-Belgique IPA that is fragrant, light, and crisp.
Clockwise from top left: Beer tasting, Mushroom pillows, Mac and beer cheese, Chicken Schnitzel
The mushroom pillows and mac and beer cheese were both excellent starters. The mushroom pillows were creamy, delicate, and just a bit spicy (which I love). And although I’m sure you can imagine the flavors of the mac and beer cheese, let me help you out. It was smoky, rich, and tangy with the perfect sauce-to-pasta ratio. For my entree, I had the woody and heavily spiced chicken schnitzel. The chicken was fresh and earthly while the veggies and potatoes were decadent and sweet.
Overall, the complex flavors of the meal were a perfect compliment to the bold beer selection. It’s a bit too far to visit on a casual Sunday, but if you happen to be in the area, I wouldn’t miss the chance.