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Stone Beer rants

I don't mind conceit, as long as you can back it up... but IMO Stone Brewing really doesn't live up to alot of their hoopla...

Come on... "Arrogant Bastard", or "Oaked Arrogant Bastard"... they really have the market thinking this is great stuff...

And all that *&^%$#@ on the bottle about how "you don't deserve to drink something this good", lol.... reminds me of a saying I heard once: "don't let your mouth overload your ass"...

I've tried quite a number of Stone brews, which I usually don't even keep track of because I've never had one make it to the Finals of any blind tasting I've ever had...

But I'm sipping one now that I've consistently liked... "Sublimely Self-Righteous"... and there's a Stone Porter that I recall very favorably... but that's about it...

Their strong suit is supposed to be PA and IPA and I just don't see it...

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  1. While I agree with you on the over-the-top pitches on many Stone beers, I do feel they have an interesting selection, and most all of them are far better than average.

    1. Their "conceit" is basically tongue and cheek. If your beef is that they don't live up to their hype, well, the hype is part of the job of selling their beer, and they do a good job of it.

      I confess that Arrogant Bastard is one of my favorite beers (along with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot), and disclose that I am friendly with Stone's CEO and head brewer.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        I know Greg Koch and don't get any sense of "irony" from him. But as I said, I don't care much for the pitch, but believe that almost all Stone beers are way above average in flavor.

        1. re: Tripeler

          I could see how their marketing could be a turn-off for some people. I suppose that's the price they pay for edginess.

          I have a theory, by the way, that one element of success can be to stake out some specific turf as regards image, and to consistently work that turf. Examples of successful breweries that have done well with this are Rogue, Lagunitas, Stone.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Stone's image is obvious to me where Rogue & Lagunitas aren't. Please describe the image that Rogue & Lagunitas are putting out.

            1. re: JAB

              Rogue: clenched fist and a star, looks like the people's beer. sort of brash, edgy and irreverent, which all makes some sense given that two of its founders came out of Nike.

              Lagunitas: again, irreverent, counterculture types. Look at their beer names/descriptions. One was supposed to be named kronik (however you spell it; I know nothing about this stuff), another commemorating a dope-related event that resulted in the brewery losing its license for a period of time. the brewery even disrespects itself. Example: the beer named "Lagunitas Sucks".

            2. re: Jim Dorsch

              There are other examples, too. Speakeasy in SF has the gangster/Untouchables theme, Bruery the high-falutin' sophisticated approach, Lost Abbey their weird religious/blasphemy angle.

              My favorite Lagunitas bottles were the ones with the Frank Zappa labels. It's a real shame the ZFT put the lid on that.

              1. re: Josh

                Yes, the Zappa bottles were fun, and I agree that it's a shame it had to stop.

        2. Stone is an interesting brewery because they also own a distribution channel. If you ever visit their locations one of the great things about them is that they sell lots of beer from other breweries. They are the first to admit their beer isn't for everyone, and that's OK. I'm not a fan of all their beers either, but they have a few I really like.

          I agree with Jim that the bottle writing is really meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Josh

            When Stone started that pitch a long, long, long time ago, they had far fewer colleagues or competitors, and it really was meant to be tongue in cheek as well as a way to set themselves apart. My guess is what they had in mind was sort of being the anti-Samuel Adams.

            Yes, since then they've gotten huge, almost to the point of stretching the "craft" label. They love the marketing gimmicks, too, but I think most people ignore that.

            To expand on what Josh has said, they have been good ambassadors for the smaller craft breweries around San Diego as well. They may make you cringe a lot, but I think overall they still fall on the side of good. :)

          2. I was also initially put off by their "we're the extreme beer guys" and would intentionally steer away from their products because of it. Then, I got over that because they have some damn good beer.

            1. A lot of that "you are not worthy" trash talk was done WAY before the current craft beer craze so Im fine with it. I mean if you are bragging about how crazy your beers are today you are just another boring "extreme" brewery with no imagination. If you were bragging about how crazy your beers were in 2007 you were on the cutting edge. But if you were bragging about how extreme your beers were in 1996 like Stone was then you were just wacky beer heads with a death wish marketing campaign. Not a lot of people openly advertised how undrinkable their beer was in 1996. But Stone did. And it paid off in spades for them. And Greg Koch is one of the funniest guys in the business (no one comes close to Sam of course). So humor has always been a big part of their shtick.

              I very much enjoy a lot of their beers (their drink now series has been pretty good) and would consider them an A class brewery across the board.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Insidious Rex

                Thanks for giving some history on where that verbiage comes from.

              2. I thought they made more interesting beer when they first came to my area (2005 maybe?) than they do now. The IPA was a hoppy staple in my fridge and Ruination was a hop bomb - I remember my roomate asking if I was brewing when he came home one night when I was drinking it because he could smell hops as soon as he walked in the door. Arrogant bastard had a unique flavor that was unlike any other beer on the market at the time - now just seems like a non-descript strong red ale that tastes just like every other strong red ale. I was willing to ignore the rants and the frat boy antics of its "CEO" (how he introduced himself to me when they were still a small brewing co.) as long as I enjoyed the beer but those days have been over for quite some time.

                A bright spot recently was their Enjoy by, but with each new release, it just seemed to lose its citrus/tropical fruit punch and has tasted more and more like toasted onions to me. I have even given up on that one now too.