Phew, Stone and Whole Foods know how to throw a hell of a party – what an event.
My initial thought, as we were heading to Whole Foods on Sunday, was, “Really? A beer release event at a Whole Foods? This does not sound promising.” I was wrong. Oops.
I walked through the front doors to find the bar being slammed by thirsty, eager Stone-ites…Stone-ians…Stone-ans, oh whatever, fans of Stone beers. Upon further inspection I found that they had 15 beers on tap, from the old standbys of Arrogant Bastard and Smoked Porter, to some real treats of Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter and the 2010 Old Guardian Barley Wine. As if that wasn’t enough – all beers were either $5 or $4 a pint…nice.
After twenty minutes or so, Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing Co. took the microphone, thanked everyone for coming out and proceeded to work the crowd. The dude knows how to win over a room.
After a few beers at the bar, we decided to check out the Vintage Tasting Room to see if out taste buds could handle the 06.06.06 Vertical Epic Ale, the 07.07.07 Vertical Epic Ale, the 2006 Double Bastard Ale, 2007 Double Bastard Ale and the 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (still pours like motor oil). It had appeared that they were out of the 13th Anniversary Ale by the time we got there.
The beers were amazing, and it’s always enjoyable to taste beers with so many other people. Sharing opinions and feelings and having open conversations when tasting beer is a very, very good thing.
I will voice my only complaint here, the Vintage Tasting Room was very disorganized. There were multiple, disjointed lines for tastings, people were confused and the room was absolutely packed – people simply weren’t rotating out of the room fast enough.
For our last stop of the evening we tried some of the food and beer pairings they had throughout the store. People will always debate the Beer vs. Wine thing, but let’s be totally honest here – beer can pair with food just as good and, in most cases, better than wine. Now that I have that off my chest, here were the pairings:
- Stone IPA paired with a cheddar cheese
- Stone Smoked Porter with chocolate
- Stone Smoked Porter with bleu cheese
- Stone Pale Ale with pulled pork BBQ
The pairings were fantastic and absolutely spot on – the beer complemented the food VERY well (or was it the other way around?).
It was later revealed that the Stone event resulted in the number one beer sales day EVER for that Whole Foods (which is the world’s 3rd largest Whole Foods) – even better than the Superbowl.
Anyway, a great event – very well done by the folks at Stone and Whole Foods.
Oh yeah, before I forget…great to meet Stone’s Mid-West Regional Brewery Representative – Aaron Tyrell. Looking forward to having a beer with him soon!