Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (SBWBG) is the best place in the world to drink a beer. I know that's a bold statement, but I find it hard to believe that any location could top Stone. We visited on Monday for my birthday and it was a great dining experience. The restaurant's design is modern and open, with high ceilings and stone as a prominent feature. It has large ceiling to floor windows / sliding doors that look out on the patio and gardens. The patio has a koi pond and fire pits, mixed in with tables and other areas to sit and enjoy the gardens, along with an outside bar. The gardens, now fully grown, have trails and stones of all sizes, and seating areas that allow you to enjoy a beer. It's the most esthetically pleasing restaurant I have ever visited. It beats Picholine in New York, Farallon in San Francisco or the restaurant who's name long escapes me that was in an ancient building in Dijon, France (but I'll never forget the double-rack cheese cart).

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens was created with great food and beer as its inspiration. The food has a focus on in-season ingredients from local and organic producers. The farm-to-table philosophy usually results in a pretty darn good meal. From a beer perspective, it has thirty-five taps, less than half are Stone beers leaving an impressive line-up of other craft brewers and brewers from around the world. SBWBG proves that a great tap list and an upscale environment are compatible. Its bottled beer list is impressive, too. I did not count how many bottles are available but any beer aficionado or geek could find multiple gems. The draft and bottle prices are reasonable, with the typical pint $5.

We started with the Stinky Cheese plate that had four distinct cheeses, including a goat, gouda and Stilton. I had an 8 oz Dupont Saison Vielle Provision and the Beer Rovette had Craftsman's Biere de Blanco, a Belgian-style wit. I had seen the Dupont Saison for years but had never tried it. What a treat. It was the near perfect beer for sitting on a patio on a hot summer afternoon. Its flavors of fruit and Belgian yeast paired well with the cheese. For dinner I had the Shepard's Pie, maybe not the best choice on a hot day, but when I see Shepard's Pie I must order it. It was made with tempeh, which is a soybean, and it was delicious. You'd never know it was made without meat. The Beer Rovette had the buffalo burger, which was done to perfection.

I had Lagunitas' A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale with dinner. This is a fruity, hoppy beer that was excellent. I did not even know it was a wheat beer until I linked to BeerAdvocate, it tasted like no wheat beer I've ever had. I was guessing it was a pale ale or a mild IPA. No matter, it was good, as its fruity taste was ideal for a hot day and it had enough hops to keep it interesting.

I understand SBWBG is not for everyone. It's menu is not like any other brewpub and its prices may surprise people. Even walking into the restaurant can be intimidating, because it is immediately clear it's on a different level than other brewpubs. For me to even compare it to other brewpubs is unfair to SBWBG because it's not, its more like a resort - a beer resort. If you're expecting an Oggi's, a BJ's or any other generic brewpub you'll be disappointed with SBWBG. If the food is not to your liking, get a beer and head for the gardens. The beer prices are reasonable and the selection incredible, and there is no finer place to enjoy a beer.


J.Rhode said...

My only complaint about the entire place is that damn little glass that your saison came in.

Steve said...

yes, that shitty little "8oz" tumbler glass they serve their expensive/higher alcohol beers in is absolute bush league.

Rational Realist said...

Yeah, that mini-pint glass is a little strange. More like a juice glass, and I kind of drank the beer like I was drinking juice.

J.Rhode said...

Had to drink Saison Dupont out of one of those things this past Sunday, pissed.

Rational Realist said...

The Saison Dupont was the most expensive beer on the draft menu - $6 - the day I visited. Not sure why it was in the juice glass unless Stone did not want to charge $12 for a pint, since Saison Dupont's ABV is only like 6%. Could have used some more Saison Dupont.