Written largely in first-person and with a casual voice, the content of the book belies its sophisticated packaging. Overall, the book comes off as a sort of a giant advertisement for Stone Brewing Co., and I don't usually have much patience for being sold, but it did have some useful and enetertaining pieces. Part 1 begins with a basic lecture on beer genetics and history for the unexperienced that can be quickly thumbed through by most anyone with a serious interest in beer.
This is followed by Part 2, a portion dedicated to Stone's history and growth which takes the form of a variety of stories and anecdotes connected to the brewery's rise within the craft beer movement. You get a chance to read about the philosophy that inspired Stone's founders and ever-increasing number of employees and devotees to continually push the envelope and challenge consumer palettes. This section of the book tells the company's story through a variety of lenses and details their numerous successes both as a business and as a brewery. Part 2 ends with a detailed rundown of all of the beers that Stone has created both on its own and collaboratively.
Part 3 of the book shares recipes and culinary knowledge from Stone's flagship restaurant and presents some advice about glassware and food pairings. The final pages of Part 3 presents recipes shared by Steve Wagner and Greg Koch, scaled to home brew proportions. I spent most of my time looking through this section and decided to brew my first smoked beer based on Stone's Smoked Porter recipe. I decided to base my smoked porter on their recipe, but made some changes to hops and grains based on my personal taste preferences. Stone's original recipe is as follows:
Stone Smoked Porter
10 pounds 8 ounces 2 Row
1 pound, 2.5 ounces Crystal 75
10.7 ounces Chocolate
4.9 ounces Peat Smoked Malt
.71 ounces Columbus @ 90
.60 ounces Mount Hood @ 0
.5 tsp Irish Moss @ 15
White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast
I made this beer on January 9, 2012. The biggest change I made flavor-wise is the use of Cherry Wood Smoked Malt instead of the Peat Smoked Malt in the original recipe. I'm hoping to obtain a mellow smoked flavoring in the final product. You can see my full recipe here.