Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stone South Park Is Open

I went to the "soft" opening of Stone Brewing's new Stone Store in South Park this evening.  I arrived around 7:45 and the place was packed, with a line outside for people waiting to enter.  I was able to bypass this line as I only wanted a growler fill.  Once inside I was greeted by another line and it took me nearly 45-minutes to get to the counter.   The crowd was orderly and Stone had good control.  No one seemed upset about the lines.  Obviously, the lines will not be a common occurrence.  The crowd trended young and male, but there was a good mix of people, so the old guys (like me) and the several groups of women didn't stick out.  Stone didn't have anything special on tap, and stuck with the basics for the soft opening:   Pale Ale, Ruination, IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Smoked Porter, and Levitation.  (San Diego Beer Blog has a rundown of the proposed list for next week's Grand Opening.)

The store seemed small, and is probably not much bigger than the store at the Stone World Bistros and Gardens in Escondido.  But the amount of people may have made it feel smaller than it is.   It did not seem that all the merchandise was in place.  There was no beer fridge for six-packs and bottled beer to go, and the walls seemed pretty barren. This makes sense because tonight was a "soft" opening not a Grand Opening.  (For next week's Grand Opening, Stone would be well served by adding a second or third register.)

I did not taste any beer to avoid the longer wait.  Stone was only serving what looked like 4 oz tasters.  I wonder whether, after the initial opening rush, it will serve pints?  No one seemed too upset about not having a pint, and tasters seemed like the right decision tonight.  I debated whether to get a growler of Arrogant Bastard as a tribute to Stone or Ruination.  I chose Ruination, and the picture below shows the growler being filled.

Stone seems to have picked an awesome neighborhood.  There were a number people buzzing about the streets, and there are plenty of nearby restaurants, shops and salons.  There is an adjacent wine bar named The Rose Wine Pub, and I bet it's going to love the spillover business that the Stone Store will generate.  Parking is a pain, but it's a bother everywhere in South Park and North Park, so it's an issue not unique to the Stone Store.  It looks like Stone has another winner on its hands and I plan on heading back after the Grand Opening.

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