Upon convincing the gargoyle I was not a threat to Stone or it's brewers I was released into the hands of Tim Roser. Tim's food science degree led him to seek a career in brewing. His 4th day of solo brewing led him to be saddled with this traveling brewer asking a quarter of a million questions about a process Tim is just starting to fully grasp. Some guys have all the luck right? Tim and I did get a chance to discuss the learning benefits of explaining what you are doing during each minute of your day. Tim is one brewer in a team of brewers working in 24 hour, 7day a week schedule. In this format the team of brewers have taken Stone from 400Bbls of beer in 1996 to somewhere near 150,000Bbls this year. Stone IPA will be nearly half of that production. Tim was temporarily freed from his purgatory by Jeremy Moynier who led me off to detail more of the fun at Stone.
Stone website for good information on those. After discussing as many things as my caffeine addled mind could muster I finally shut up and let Jeremy talk. It turns out that the greater San Diego area is going through a food and beer renaissance. This is turning an ever increasing amount of focus on local beer and food. This new awareness of local beers has created an environment in which more than thirty craft breweries are able to thrive. In addition to thriving the breweries created the formidable San Diego brewers guild and invited all the area beer bars to join as well. This makes for a very open and friendly local brewing scene in which ingredients are sometimes shared. In addition to adding benefits for all of the brewers and bars involved it makes for a great yearly beer fest in Liberty Station. I even got to hear about why there is no sign on the brewery in one sentence - "If people want to find us they will." The amount of customers in the visitors center and pub at 11:30AM on a Monday morning instantly added weight to that statement.
The Gargoyle was watching.....
After a nice walking tour of the brewery with Jeremy I was invited to join him for lunch in the beer garden. Lunch was sausage and sour kraut with some other accompaniments. It was great to get a nice lunch without having to pay. After this I was determined not to raise a fuss over the brief, possibly necessary, caging.
That guy to your right is Phil. He is wearing black latex gloves in
After talking with Phil for awhile about his day and his job, missing another valuable chance to learn to do a yeast cell count in the process, I moved out to the cellar to find Tim again. The freedom to roam for a minute allowed me to spy an astounding array of colors out of the corner of my eye. I followed it to the best of my ability. It was moving so fast I wasn't sure what it was until I caught the bright streak back in the lab.
That is Drake. This is Drake's second week at Stone. He is the newest member of the brewing staff, and the resident wardrobe expert. His story at Stone begins with a move across the country. He has been working in breweries for 4 years but your guide on this journey has forgotten to write down where. He wanted to continue the non stop adventure that brewery work has to offer, and he is getting a change in scenery to boot. In the first week of his employment here he helped chop upwards of 2500 pounds of pumpkin for a project that is in the works. This is common ground for new brewers. When you start at a brewery you will rarely get a chance to actually make beer. Instead, your efforts will normally go towards the process of creating the things that make beer happen, whether it is cleaning tanks or chopping gourds your early days in a new brewery will be spent as a facilitator.
I did finally catch up with Tim again. This time he was cleaning up a mess that I helped make while we were measuring and adding hops. I decided it was time to give him a break and I left to go grab a beer before I departed.
This is Kayle. There is a good chance that you will see him when you visit Stone. If you're nice he might pour you one of the great Stone offerings. He also might pour you any one of the 32 great beers available in the classy on premise bistro. He will probably be incredibly patient with you when you forget the in house internet password 15 times in a row. Before you leave the pub don't forget that Kayle should be tipped heavily for these services.
Cheers to everyone reading. Thanks very much to Stone.
Look out for that gargoyle.