After fifteen years in the beer business the founders of Stone Brewing Co. have written a book. Greg Koch and Steve Wagner teamed up with published author and Stone Brewing Co. PR Coordinator Randy Clemens to co-author The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.- Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.
The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. comes out September 27th and retails for $25. If you pre-order a copy through La Jolla’s Warwick’s bookstore before September 9th you’ll be able to purchase one of the beers in the next Quingenti Millilitre series release, 2010 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels, 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels or 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Wine Barrels. This offer will also be available at The Great American Beer Festival later this month in Denver, and at the book release event on Sept 27th at Stone Brewing Co. See Stone’s blog for more details.
The two-hundred page book is broken down into three parts: Part 1 explains the basics of beer and gives a brief history of beer in addition to telling the story of Stone Brewing Co. Part 2 is a comprehensive list of most of the beers Stone has ever released with facts about each beer and often the stories behind the beer. Part 3 includes scaled down homebrew recipes for 18 different Stone beers, recipes food recipes from Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens (with pairing recommendations) and a few short “Beer How-Tos” from “Dr” Bill Sysak.
Before I received my review copy of the book I knew it would include a history of Stone as well as food and homebrew recipes, but I wasn’t sure if one section would dominate. They’ve done a good job of balancing things so the book doesn’t feel one sided towards any one of the parts. There’s enough content in each section to satisfy anyone that cooks, homebrews or is just a Stone fan that wants to know more about their history.
I’ve only been drinking Stone’s beer for about half of the fifteen years they’ve been around, so much of their early history was news to me. Well written and entertaining, it and kept me turning page after page, reading it in one sitting. There were one or two preachy moments when I briefly felt like I was reading a Stone brochure (a $25 brochure at that) but those times are very few and far between. There was even once when I nearly spit out the beer in my mouth because I started to laugh (I won’t spoil it for you, just be sure to look for Wagner’s story of a friend transporting some yeast for them).
There were a couple beers from Stone’s past that they no longer brew that I had never heard of, anyone out there get to try Heat Seeking Wheat? While the beer is very un-Stone, the label art was what really shocked me. Look for it on page 40, it reminds me of Stone’s gargoyle meets the Toxic Avenger, something I can’t imagine the brand conscious Stone Brewing Co. even thinking about releasing now.
I haven’t tried any of the homebrew or food recipes yet there are a couple I’m anxiously awaiting testing out. Some of my favorite Stone beers got the homebrew recipe treatment here including Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Jolly Pumpkin / Nogne-O / Stone Special Holiday Ale, and Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison Du BUFF as well as others that I never got to try including Lee’s Mild and some of the earlier Anniversary Beers. Other favorite’s are notably missing, including Stone Ruination IPA. I’m hoping some of the IPA recipes that aren’t here will make an appearance in the forthcoming IPA book being written by Wagner and Stone’s Brewmaster Mitch Steele.
The food recipes are equally tantalizing. I was pretty excited to find the recipe for my favorite Bistro item, the Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA Soup included. There are plenty of other great looking recipes including the popular BBQ Duck Tacos and those infamous Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings.
The sections on the basics of beer, the general history of beer and “Dr” Bill’s Beer How-Tos might be repetitive to those that really know their beer. But for those that don’t obsess about beer like some of us, they have the potential to be hugely educational.
Overall The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.- Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance is a pretty interesting read that can come in handy in the kitchen or the brewhouse instead of just being relegated to the bookshelf or coffee table when you’re done with it. Scoring the next Quingenti Millilitre series release if you pre-order just sweetens the deal.
Note: Ten Speed Press provided me with a pre-release copy of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. for review purposes.