OK, so I mentioned the other day that I was pretty excited about going to the Stone 12th Anniversary Celebration that was held last weekend. But you know, it ended up being rather disappointing.
First, it was too crowded. It seemed like every one of the 40-plus beer lines was either long or super long. Getting from one line to another meant pushing through throngs of people, too.
Second, the breweries didn’t post their offerings anywhere, so you had to either wait in a long line or push your way through the crowd and go up to the front of the line to find out what they had.
Third, with few exceptions (notably the Bruery, which had some great offerings), the breweries didn’t bring very interesting beers. You’d find more special brews at O’Brien’s or the Tap Room almost any night of the week. Case in point: Ballast Point, which makes a lot of specialty beers, had only their widely available Yellowtail Pale Ale and Big Eye IPA on hand.
Add to all this that the taster glasses have shrunk down from 6 ounces in the past to 4 ounces this year, that every tent was vigilant about taking your taster ticket (meaning there were no bonus pours) and that they no longer sell extra tasting tickets and it adds up to a rather unsatisfying beer experience.
And we won’t even complain about the things we knew going in — that the fest was in San Marcos, which is a haul, and that it was very hot in the sun.
Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch has said that they will make some changes for next year and possibly sell fewer tickets. Here’s hoping he follows through on that.