A Brewery I Take For Granted

I've been neglecting the wonderful things that happen here...

There are certain things in life that bring us joy, but we begin to take for granted. The first thing many of us might think of here is family, or possibly good health. These are two very important things indeed, and I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have had good luck with both.  Right now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hugging the kids a lot and working out like a maniac.

I’m also enjoying great craft beers, another wonderful thing that I’m passionate about.  And while I’m grateful for the vast array of beers out there and the opportunity to exchange ideas with my fellow beer nerds, I realize that I’ve been taking a certain brewery for granted.  And it makes me feel like an arrogant bastard…

Or a maybe a Sublimely Self Righteous Ale.  Yes, the brewery I’m talking about is Stone Brewing, and I confess they’ve fallen off my radar for no good reason.

Stone is well distributed in these parts, and for many (including yours truly) they are one of first craft breweries folks get into.  There are bombers of Arrogant Bastard and Stone IPA in most liquor stores in New Jersey, even the ones who don’t “get” craft beer, making the brewery an easy and popular way to start exploring what good beer can be.

But it seems there’s always something new around the corner with craft beer, another brew to try.  In my thirst for beer knowledge, I moved on from Stone’s portfolio of wonderful beers and haven’t looked back of late.

Well, that’s until Saturday night, when I had their marvelous Imperial Russian Stout, a rich, intense and unique expression of the style (you need to get one, soon).  As I savored every sip, it kicked me like a mule in the head – I’ve been ignoring these guys for too long, and my been-there-done-that attitude has lead to me missing some wonderful beer moments.  I also realize that there’s plenty of Stone beers I’ve yet to try, an error I will be correcting soon.

So I guess this is an apology of sorts to Greg and the gang at Stone – sorry for taking your excellence for granted.  It’s also a reminder that great beer needs to be celebrated and supported, 12 or 22 ounces at a time, and with friends whenever possible.

How about you?  Is there a brewery you love that you’ve been ignoring lately, or do you always manage to work the classics into rotation?

I know my beer fridge will be seeing some Stone this summer.

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Categories: Beer, Uncategorized


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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30 Comments on “A Brewery I Take For Granted”

  1. Rob Crozier
    May 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Dogfish Head is my “take for granted” brewery – I pass on buying their beers all of the time even though I read great things and have enjoyed everything I’ve tried. Its funny though that I did purchase their Black & Blue over the weekend, perhaps I sensed that you were going to write this in your blog and felt a sense of guilt?

    • May 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

      A guilty premonition? I like it! DFH is a brewery I respect, but sometimes I have to screw up my courage to buy their stuff – their beers can be a little more challenging (and rewarding) than others. Can’t wait for Theobroma this year.

      • Rob Crozier
        May 12, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

        Never heard of Theobroma so I did some investigating – a chile beer, huh? My curiosity got the best of me and in my travels yesterday I picked up a bottle of Rogue Chipotle Ale; not the same as Theobroma but kind of in the same family. The dude at the check out counter said it was the weirdest tasting beer he ever had…nice!

        • May 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

          THeobroma is nuts, but it’s wonderful, too. Another good alternative is also New Holland’s El Mole Ocho, which blends chocolate and hot peppers in a masterful kinda way. I think LO still has some. It makes me want to climb atop of a South American pyramid and sacrifice someone…but in a good way.

        • Don
          May 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

          Is that God with a small “G” or were you trying to say there is a good way to commit human sacrifice?

        • May 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

          Oops – meant to say “good way” not “god way”. Thank God god goodness for the “edit comment” feature. Fixed.

      • Rob Crozier
        May 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

        Potato, potatoe…who cares. I’ve seen El Mole Ocho…I’ll have to try the Rogue first so I have something to compare it to. Thanks for the info.

  2. May 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Hmmm. I think you’re right, and the problem with craft beer lovers is that we’re always looking for the next beer to try! If you’re trying the next beer, you can’t be drinking that stalwart beer. You can only drink so much beer (or can you?) and life’s too short to feel guilty about such things. Now off to get an Imperial Russian Stout!

    • May 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      The Imperial Russian Stout was great, Scott. I also have a Sublimely Self Righteous in the fridge. I usually backtrack to the better breweries, but for some reason I wasn’t getting back to Stone. My loss for sure.

  3. May 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Brooklyn Brewery. Consistently great. All the regular offerings are solid, and there is always something wonderful to try with their Brewmaster Reserve Series. Did I mention that nobody does wheat beer better? Blanche de Brooklyn and Brooklyner Weisse are both great examples of their respective styles.

    Keith from the Hop Devil Grill

    • May 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

      Brooklyn Brewery is a great example of this, Kieth. Solid lineup, great limited release offerings, and widely distributed. Because they are everywhere, I think I don’t view them as being special, even though they are.

  4. May 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Yeah, good call on Brooklyn and +100 on their wheat beers. While not American, I think Samuel Smith fits the bill too. There they are, sitting on shelves all over the country and I’ll look them over. They make really great stuff.

    • May 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

      Oh yes, the famous “hiding in plain sight” brewery Samuel Smith. I still haven’t gotten around to them.

  5. Katie Pizzuto
    May 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    I’m with Keith on often overlooking Brooklyn Brewery. Funny, I saw that Rob just got Dogfish’s Black & Blue because I love their Red & White but haven’t tried the Black & Blue. On a complete side note, I have a gripe: I was just reading through All About Beer’s latest issue and under their Best Beers of 2009, for the category of “Fruit Lambic” they chose Lindemans of all companies! That stuff is so commercialized and artificially flavored/sweetened with syrups that I can’t begin to imagine why this publication would choose them over some other AMAZING, real-fruit lambics. What the FUCK!?!?!?

    Ok, I’m done. Go Brooklyn.

    • May 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

      I guess we’ll never accuse you of taking Lindeman’s for granted Katie…

  6. May 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Deschutes and Stone.

    Both produce outstanding beers. But like most of you, I tend to explore and seek out new beers. So much so, I sometimes forget out about the standards. So many beers, so little time.

    • May 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

      I haven’t had much from Deschutes because they’re not out here, which makes them an “exotic” brewery to me. So one man’s “been-there-done-that” is another’s “new and exciting.” Kinda like dating I suppose…

      • May 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

        Yep, pretty much. The local nature of many craft breweries is part of the excitement about beer. Out here in the Seattle area, I’ve never seen anything from the Brooklyn Brewery. But, as I travel across the country, there are so many different things to try, that as you said, are someone’s standby or forgotten old friend.

  7. May 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I think it’s pretty easy to do this because of living in So Cal. However, Stone has gotten pretty big, so I do try to buy elsewhere at times. Yet, all you have to do is like at some recent stuff on the site to find that I’ve been sipping quite a bit of Stone lately. My for granted brewery was Three Floyds in Indiana. Once I moved, I was like “I want some Three Floyds”…I want it even now.

    • May 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

      Your thoughts on Stone makes me think of Sam Adams if we’re talking about places that have gotten unfashionably large. Much of their stuff is good, but I tend to dismiss them as macro-junior. That is until I have one of their beers.

  8. May 14, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Sorry guys, been neglecting you lately. Been reading, but not feeling like writing much lately… I feel like I’ve been neglecting Victory lately. I think it is because I know I’ll get some quality beer and bee very satisfied, so my expectations are probably met before I even have one. Sounds strange?

    • May 14, 2010 at 10:12 am #

      No that’s not strange, Peter, it’s the definition of taking a brewery for granted. You know it’s good and you’ll enjoy it, so you don’t even bother buying it. It’s like we punish these guys for being excellent.

    • Don
      May 14, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      Well Peter right now aren’t you neglecting every brewery? I’ve been following you adventures on the wagon. Good job! I too read you blog just about every day, but haven’t left many comments lately. Maybe its spring and I’m thinking about all the women in short skirts and low cut blouses, but I too haven’t felt like writing much! LOL 🙂

      • May 14, 2010 at 10:19 am #

        Ya know I thought you were slackin’ there Don! 🙂 Glad I’m not the only one…

    • Chuck
      May 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

      Victory has to be my take for granted and, while not micro brew, Sierra Nevada is the other. Victory makes incredible beers and I have yet to have one I didn’t enjoy. Sierra Nevada is the other. Again, they make incredible beers and all are great.

      • May 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

        Victory would be on my list, too, except Storm King is my wife’s favorite beer and I buy it often.

  9. May 19, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    I have neglected Samuel Smith’s for sure. Before it gets too hot here in the Skylands of NJ, I will have to imbibe some Oatmeal Stout!


    • May 19, 2010 at 5:49 am #

      I still haven’t tried Samuel Smith’s oatmeal stout. A classic, I know, but I’ve just never dropped one in the cart. I’ll have to remedy that soon, but I don’t feel rushed by the weather – that’s what air conditioning is for!

      • Bill Bennett
        July 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

        Wow, I am sure late to the table on this… but it is a worthwhile subject to keep exploring.. Especially now as it is nearly 700 degrees and we are all looking for something to cool us down. My taken for granted brewery is Sierra Nevada, probably my favorite pale ale of all time (soooo refreshing), and yet, I only seem to buy their Barleywine or Estate Beers.

        This said, I have this thing with Samuel Smith where it makes me queasy. Long story short, got real drunk one night in college (probably rum and cokes), decided to buy an SS Oatmeal Stout the next day, hair of the dog as some might say.. In any event, I popped the cap, poured the glass, smelled it, and threw-up before it even touched my tastebuds. While it had not part in the activities of the night before, the aroma did not do me any favor in the hungover state I was in, and to this day, 17 years later, I cannot smell it without becoming slightly ill…

      • July 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

        Boy, now I really want to try the Samuel Smith’s!!

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