A vast and expansive book, The Craft of Stone Brewing Company succeeds in so many levels for its varied topics and sections. You need not only be a Stone fan, or even a beer fan, to enjoy this book as it also includes various food recipes as well. Even better, the entire book is written in the same arrogant sarcasm that Stone is known for. After all, the subtitle is Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes and Unabashed Arrogance!
While the book does include other topics, the main point of the book is on the company. The history of how Greg Koch and Steve Wagner met along with how the company grew is detailed. The book is filled with side bars from each other giving different perspectives on how each felt at different stages. Also included is stories of other people involved in the history, like the illustrator for the now recognizable gargoyle motifs.
The real highlight in this section is the history of their beers. Every official beer they’ve made is listed along with a brief history or flavor profile and primary hops used. Also included are each year of their anniversary beers, each year of their Vertical Epic series and their collaborations. The only beers not listed here, are the ones released after this past spring and their beer variations (bourbon aged, double dry-hopped, chipotle pepper etc).
The other section of the book that deserves a mention is the recipes. Recipes included are from Stone’s World Bistro and Gardens restaurant as well as a few extras. Many of the recipes can be used as a starting point for your own dishes such as Arrogant Bastard batter, hop vinegarette, or barbecue sauce.
The second part of this section is the homebrewing recipes. A brief overview of how to brew beer is provided for those new to brewing. Despite the short overview, it is a very thorough guide that can definitely be used as your only source for beginning to homebrew. Recipes include a few of Stone’s year-round beers as well as some of their anniversary and collaboration beers. This chapter really highlights Stone’s open honesty, and even arrogance, in that they are giving you recipes for their beers. They even give you the water profile for their brewery so you can match their water chemistry. A few obvious beers are omitted, like Arrogant Bastard, but nonetheless, they are willing to share their secrets. It’s almost as though they are daring you to attempt to recreate their beers.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a very thorough, entertaining book, well worth the read for any food or beer aficionado.