Welcome to the Hotel Citracado

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Many moons ago, or 2011, I embarked upon a media tour with Stone Brewing in Escondido. Stone Farms was part of the trip, as was Liberty Station but the big news was that there were plans to build a destination hotel across from the World Bistro and main brewery.
Liberty Station is now up and running with a pilot brewery and airplanes landing at the airport nearby. Stone Farms has been spun off. Not one but two breweries have been built on the East Coast and in Germany. Even Wine Country had plans for a small Stone outpost and nary a peep on the hotel front.

That has changed. Stone Brewing and San Diego-based hospitality collective, Untitled Hospitality are partnering to build the Stone Hotel.

Here is the spiel from the PR folks at Stone: “Guests to Stone Hotel will delight in a craft beer experience complete from the moment of arrival. An inlay on the hotel’s driveway artistically displays beer flowing from a tap at the top of the driveway down to Citracado Parkway. Alongside rare historical Stone memorabilia, the watchful eye of the gargoyle will be discretely on guard throughout the hotel, and Stone beers will be available upon a moment’s notice. In addition to the normally incredibly wide array of Stone beers that will be on tap, archive special release beers and unique casks will be periodically tapped at the three on-site bars. Hotel amenities will be equally beer centric, epitomized by the availability of a complimentary Stone beer immediately upon check-in and in-room growler delivery service. Stone Hotel will mirror the philosophy of all Stone projects, exhibiting a high level of creativity and wow factor, ultimately creating a memorable, true craft beer experience.”

Not only is the hotelier San Diego based but the designer is as well. More from the press release, “The design of Stone Hotel will be far from ordinary, offering a wide variety of unique guest experiences ranging from a bar-style lobby check-in to oversized guestrooms, all in excess of 375 square-feet. Underscoring Stone’s environmental sustainability efforts, each of the 99 rooms, including 6 suites, will utilize state-of-the-art energy efficiency and water saving features. Rooms will incorporate signature BASILE Studio details such as custom designed furniture and floor-to-ceiling window systems, which flip open to an expansive balcony, providing an open-air in-room experience. Stone Hotel’s event facilities will comprise of an 8,000 square-foot ballroom, a 10,000 square-foot rooftop garden located adjacent to the pool deck, as well as nearly an acre of outdoor event space.”

Don’t pack your bags just yet, this will obviously take a while and is expected to be running in 2018.
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Stone SourFest

My beer buddy Richard and I traveled to Escondido for the pleasure of puckery sour beer at Stone Brewing. And at 10am no less.

We arrived and quickly received are elegant sampler glasses, our 15 taster tickets and the menu…..

I started with Sang Royal from famed (and often mentioned on this blog) Cascade Brewery in Portland which had (6) sours on the menu. Of which I sampled two. The Vine with it’s big white grape taste and milder acidity was my favorite. We found a rock wall to sit on at the lowest level and plotted our sour choices on the sunny day…

My plan was to alternate between fruit sours and barrel aged sours. Mostly to keep the acidity level in check. (Even though I brought some Tums in case). And because there were so many choices, 53 on tap plus 49 bottles, it was easy to do.

There were only a couple of duds in the 11 that I sampled but they were far outweighed by two from Cantillon that were simply amazing. The Lou Pepe Kriek and the Iris.

The kriek was like a spiced cherry pie. It was a cloudy red with excellent aroma. My number one choice of the day.

If you went this year or last, what were your favorites?

Stone Media Day – the photos

Part two of the Stone blitz is purely photos. Enjoy!

Steve and Greg before the day got started.

1st, a new store in San Diego
Pointing out the sights at the Liberty Station location.
Beer at the farm!
two thirds of the brewing team behind the upcoming Green Tea IPA

Stone Media Day – quick recap

The Stone Brewing that you know now will be so much bigger and cooler in 2013 than 2011. As you may have seen in the Twitter-sphere and on Facebook, Stone is expanding and in typical Stone fashion, boldly.

I was among the lucky people that got to experience the news in one day straight from the source, Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. We traveled from the Stone World Bistro in Escondido, to Liberty Station near the San Diego airport to a lovely little farm in North San Diego county. And it was jam packed with news. So here goes…..

1. A new Stone store will be opening in the South Park area of San Diego. Similar to the store at the World Bistro. You can get a growler fill, buy a bottle and get a shirt. It will be tremendous for those in San Diego who now don’t have to trek north to get their beer.

2. A new World Bistro will open at Liberty Station. In the old Navy mess hall! And you can play bocce! (OK, I have never played bocce, so I don’t know why I put the exclamation point there) And their will be a brewery on site that might make some interesting one-off beers.

3. And they bought a farm! Yes, a real working farm that supplies part of the food for the restaurant. It may end up hosting educational events that reinforces the Stone locavore ethos and might be the site for beer dinners. It already has an outdoor oven and a great little lake. Combine that with the great San Diego weather and you have a winner.

4. The headquarters is expanding and not by a little. This will be HUGE! A new production facility about the size of what they currently have right next door. An expanded kitchen, more parking, electric vehicle charging spots near the front door. Then across the parkway will be a 50 seat boutique hotel, a barrel aged and sour beer facility and another garden.

5. There will be a lottery for the Barrel aged Macadamia collaboration porter in the new fancy caged and corked bottles because they will not hit the regular distribution chain. Why? There are only 672 of them.

6. Today is the brew day for the charity Green Tea IPA collaboration. A big 9% beer with loads of tea and literally a world of hops in it.

7. The Belgo Anise Imperial Stout is excellent. Big anise and coffee aromas. Not heavy and viscous at all. It is lively and fun to drink. Unless you do not like black licorice. It will be available along with the regular Imperial Stout in a couple of weeks.

Oh and there is something about a brewery in Europe too.

In a couple days, I will talk about what I believe the future holds for these Stone ventures.