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When you’re maniacal about drinking the freshest, hoppiest beers available and you find yourself in Southern California, you know there’s only one thing to do: visit Stone Brewing Company.

Stone has been cranking out some of the finest hoppy beers in all the land since 1996. Yup, that’s right – this is their 20th Anniversary. Twenty years of making arrogantly hoppy brews. If you worship the Holy Hop, this is a pilgrimage you need to take.


Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Escondido

Address: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029

Escondido is the home of the Stone production brewery, as well as one of their massive World Bistro & Gardens. You’ll wanna start by taking a tour of the 55,000 square foot brewery. Dual 120 barrel brewhouses work tirelessly to keep the river of hoppy suds flowing.

After your tour, grab a seat in the one-acre garden or inside the modern bistro to enjoy some brews and excellent fare. With 36 beers on tap, over 100 bottled selections and a rather extensive wine collection to choose from, you might want to order up an appetizer while you decide. I’d recommend starting with the South American Tilapia & Tiger Shrimp Ceviche or the Fried Castelvetrano Olives with roasted almonds and estate-grown rosemary. Their expertly curated farm-to-table menu features tons of local and organic produce and meats.

The on-site store sells apparel, beer-spiked foods, special bottled releases, plus growlers and crowlers to go.


Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station

Address: 2816 Historic Decatur Rd #116, San Diego, CA 92106

Located in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, Liberty Station offers a different experience than the Escondido location. In addition to also having an large garden (30,000 square feet!), there are also two bocce ball courts and a courtyard for screening movies.

An on-site 10 barrel brewhouse offers up a rotating selection of special one-off brews and pilot batches that are under development. If you’re looking for some rare beers, this is the spot for you. 40 draught lines pour Stone products, as well as rotating guest craft beers. If that’s not enough, they’ve also got over 100 bottled selections!

Traveling with someone who’d rather drink wine? They’re gonna be happy here, too. Liberty Station has 17 wines on draught.

The farm-to-table bistro serves up SoCal specialties like BBQ Duck Tacos, Seared Mahi Mahi, and pork belly Banh Mi. Meat not your thing? Swing by on “Meatless Mondays” and grab some BBQ Avocado Tacos with fried avocado and green papaya-jicama slaw or a spicy Tempeh “Fuego Burger.”

The on-site store sells apparel, beer-spiked foods, special bottled releases, plus growlers and crowlers to go.

San Diego International Airport

Location: Terminal 2

Ok. You’re tired. You’re stressed. You want to grab a beer and a bite to eat before your flight. But hey, this is the airport, so don’t get your hopes up, right?

Wrong! If you’re flying through the San Diego International Airport, run – don’t walk – over to Terminal 2. With twelve draught lines, ten of which are dedicated to Stone beers, and a solid bottle list, you’ve got the beer covered. And I have it on pretty good authority that they make a damn fine spicy Bloody Mary, if you happen to be traveling in the morning.

But the food is probably phoned in, right? Wrong again. Stone takes this location just as seriously as their other World Bistro & Gardens restaurants. They offer a paired down farm-to-table menu second to none. This was the only time that I’ve ever thought, “Yeah – I’ll have the fish tacos!” in an airport restaurant.

Although you can’t get a growler or a crowler, you can buy bombers of beer to take home. Apparel and Arrogant Bastard-spiked hot sauces are also for sale.


Behind the scenes: The Barrel Room

Address: Top Secret

Since you can’t visit the barrel room, I thought I’d give you a little insider information on what’s going on there. I had the chance to meet with barrel master Steve Gonzalez for a private tour.

Stone has ramped up their barrel-aging program over the past few years and now boasts the most beer resting in former Tequila barrels of any brewery in the world. There were dozens and dozens and dozens of AsomBroso barrels filled with secret beers stacked to the ceilings.

Bourbon barrels were aplenty, and even a gin barrel or two could be spotted. Three massive Foudre barrels stood like centennials in the center of the room. Their contents were top secret, but one had a sign that read “Funky.” Can’t wait to see what comes of that…

Back home in Vermont

As Stone is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, they’re hosting a plethora of events all across the country. Vermont will be joining in the celebration during March “IPA Madness” month, with fresh hoppy beers being tapped at bars around the state. Maybe I’ll see you for a pint of IPA soon?

Keep up to date with Jeff Baker’s beer-infused wandering here

Jeff Baker

A student of existentialism, a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and a Wine Location Specialist on the Champagne region, Jeff believes in thoroughly evaluating and extolling the merits of finely crafted beverages. He is currently a contributor for the Daily Beet, a columnist for the Burlington Free Press and the Curator of the Curriculum for Farrell Distributing.