The Best Stone Brewery Beers (tasting notes)

My sister-in-law was kind enough to take me to the Stone Brewery Company tasting room in South Park in San Diego last weekend

and we both got their insanely well-priced $6 tasting, which included our choice of 4 beers.   The bartenders gave me a splash of the regular Arrogant Bastard Ale (to test against the Oaked version) and I bought a bottle of the Russian Stout, which wasn’t on the menu, but I wanted to try since it was listed as the #2 beer in the world according to an article on their wall.  So in all, we tried 10 beers.



In each round, we tried 2 beers and here are our tasting notes for each round.    They go from lightest (least alcohol content) to heaviest, as that is the order the bartenders recommended.

Round 1: Levitation vs. Smoked Porter.

I liked the levitation ale as it was a hot sunny day and it’s a great drinkable beer.  Anne liked the smoked porter better as it seemed like something that would go well with a sorbet, and that restaurants should sell it as such.  I like a tasty beer, and enjoyed the smoked porter but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.  Maybe on a different day, but I did like some of the later heavier beers (e.g. Oaked Arrogant Bastard) better.

Round 2: Stone IPA vs. Double Dry Hopped IPA.

The IPA is their best-seller and makes up about 40% of their business.  They were serving a special double dry hopped version.  I liked the regular version better.  Again, maybe it was my mood on a summer day, but the extra flavor wasn’t pleasant for me.  The IPA was nice and drinkable though I liked the levitation more.  Anne liked the double dry hopped IPA better because the IPA was just a beer while the double dry hopped was “more like different”.

Round 3: Stone Cali-Belgique vs. Stone Oaked (and non-Oaked) Arrogant Bastard

I thought both of these were great.  The Arrogant Bastard Ale was supposedly an accidental creation and it’s recipe is guarded well, though many home brewers say that Chinook hops were the start.  I personally liked the Oaked version better than the regular version.  However, both of us liked the Cali-Belgique even more and it might have been my favorite beer of the entire tasting.  It was both tasty and complex, yet drinkable and suitable for a hot day.  Just a great beer!

Round 4: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous vs. Stone Ruination

Two of the highest alcohol content beers and I liked the Self-Righteous beer much more than the Ruination.  I also tried the Russian Porter in a bottle later and to me, the Self-Righteous Ale is the best of the heavier beers that Stone serves.

My final favorites:

1. Cali-Belgique

2. Sublimely Self-Righteous

3. Oaked Arrogant Bastard

4. Levitation Ale


I’d like to thank the bartenders for a wonderful time.  Apparently craft beer sales are growing as mainstream beers sales decrease, and so perhaps I’ll do this more often.  The recommended visiting Asheville, NC for aspiring beer tourists and checking out the Beer Pulse blog.

What do you think of my rankings?  Vote for your favorites below.

Best Stone Brewery Company Beers

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