User_ex and I, 40oz, left Irvine at 11:30 a.m. full of giddy anticipation of
great beers to come. We got on the 5 freeway and immediately hit traffic
that persisted all the way down to the 78. We finally arrived in San Marcos
at around 2:00p.m. After parking in a dirt lot down in a ravine, we hiked
up towards the pavement when looming above us through the dusty heat, like
the Arch of Titus guarding the entrance to the Forum, we saw "Stone Brewing"
set forth on the side of a huge tilt-up. <a href="/images/features/sto-1.jpg"><IMG SRC="/images/features/sto-1t.jpg">
After making our donation to the SurfRider Foundation and being issued age-identifying w
ristbands, tickets, and tasting glasses,
we dove into the ring. First we hit the Alesmith and Craftsman booths; with
their delicious hard-hitting beers, our blood alcohol content was achieving
comfortable levels fast. Then we systematically attacked the excellent
beers at the various other booths and encountered some brewers that even us
RateBeerians have never heard of like Stuft Pizza and Alpine Beer Co. Last
but not least, we dive bombed the Stone booths imbibing numerous samples of
the mouth-watering Ruination and Smoked Porter.
We had a great chat with Greg (TheArrogantBastard) who heroically saved
User_Ex from the age-police by replacing User_Ex's broken wristband with a
spare he was carrying.
The crowd was eclectic but very friendly and we had
many amazing impromptu conversations about beer and life with total
strangers; including enjoying a laugh with an Englishman about a featured
hefeweizen called "Willy" and looked for Vincent Cilurzo at the Russian River booth. <br clear=all>
While we definitely enjoyed some beers more than others, all the
participating brewers should be commended for participating in such a
worthwhile cause and making the event so memorable. We especially salute
the Stone gang for organizing the event and showcasing so many outstanding
beers, including many not made by Stone; demonstrating Stone's cojones and concern for the brew community at large.
<a href="/images/features/sto-7.jpg"><IMG align=right vspace=5 hspace=5 SRC="/images/features/sto-7t.jpg"> We left San Marcos hot, sweaty, and content, with light heads and heavy
bladders. I had to lighten the load by pouring one for the homies before being chauffered off by our designated driver. We arrived back in Irvine and went straight to BJ's to "taste"
more great beer and to reminisce the Stone VI Anniversary festival. I hope
that Stone will have many such anniversary parties in the future.
Editor's note: I visited the man and he doesn't mean to brag, but I can tell you it's true. Check out the <a href="/images/features/sto-9.jpg">40oz's empties.