Monday, December 14, 2009

Romancing the Stone

My boyfriend suggested we take a day trip down to the Stone Brewery in Escondido. As the kids say, "I was down." In fact, I have always wanted to check the place out so we took a Sunday drive and got ourselves some beer.

The first thing you notice about this refined establishment is that it's more like a spa setting than a traditional brewery. Let's face it, the place is beautiful. I knew we were on sacred ground when I said to myself, "I could get married here," and then remembered we weren't at a church, we were at a brewery.

All your senses are overtaken the moment you walk toward the entrace. A garden path leads you to the cool rock covered entry way. Sensational and savory smells waft from a distance, a buzz of excitement is heard from the nearby tasting room.

The brewery offers superb fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, xeriscaped gardens, soothing fountains tucked here and there, warm inviting fires to drink along side-of and tours of the facility that end at their lovely gift shop an tasting room.

They highlight some random yet informative topics on their tour; a brief history of beer, a solid argument that beer is better than wine, the quantities of beer employees are encouraged to take home each month (and let me tell you it's an insanely large amount that not even Tara Reid could go through in a year), how you can live off beer longer than water and finally they give you six generous samplings of some of their signature brews.

My favorite ale was their Smoked Porter. This dark brown beer is complimented by a truly smokey fragrance and a hearty after taste. I've had the bottled version but the sensation of drinking this beer right from the tap is similar to taking a bite out of a chopped BBQ beef brisket sandwich from my favorite dive back home in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Our tour guide explained Stone's philosophy on the beer business. They aren't just all about making great beer, they are about drinking awesome beer. It's refreshing in more ways than one that they aren't so arrogant that they think they are the only notable brewery in the world. They remember being a younger, smaller, stuggling brewery and clearly feel giving great beers visibility, no matter where they come from, is a way to help the little guys get their comeuppance.

They bring in beers from every corner of the earth and stock their ginormous fridge with loads of them which they serve at their bars and restaurant.

And the restaurant is incredible. Here's just a sampling of some of the things we ate that night;

Artisinal Sausage Platter-Two locally made sausages braised in our own Stone Smoked Porter, served with her raosted potatoes, braised cabbage and a side of stone ground Stone Pale Ale mustard.

Chicken Schnitzel - They bread and season a free-range Jidori chicken breast after is has been pounded flat. Then they pan-fry it to a beautiful golden brown and serve it with their garlic mashed potatoes, local organic seasonal vegetables and lemon-caper cream sauce.

Lamb Osso Buco- Colorado all-natural lamb shanks wih pan jus and the Autumn season's finest roasted root vegetables - beets, fingerling potatoes, onions, celery and carrots. A feast for the senses!

I genuinely loved the holistic approach of this destination brewery. In my opinion Stone is a disneyland for the beer drinker and foodie alike. I am ready to go back anytime Ian gets a wild hair to take a Sunday drive. Thanks Babe.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your article on the Stone Brewery. We had the pleasure of visiting there last year too and throughly enjoyed the ambiance, food, and BEER (fantastic selection and quality).

    So glad you're posting foodie articles again! Keep up the good work!