Stone Brewing Co. :: San Diego

If you can’t find a good spot to hunker down in this garden, we’ll stone ya!

From their website:

(Stone Brewing Co. was) Named “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine in 2008…AND 2009! “The most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!”

One Man’s Experience

Throughout my travels, I have always been eager to go to breweries, but I am just as often reluctant to consider them “beer gardens” because their focus is on brewing, not on the garden or serving.  That’s totally 100% ok with me, it’s merely a nomenclature issue.  Many of these fine breweries have beer gardens, but none of them are beer gardens.

Whew, got that off my chest. Ok. Now. Onto the business at hand!  Stone Brewing Co.  I have had this place on my radar since before I began the trip.  My friends in San Diego alerted it to me and, in my research, I heard fantastic-al things about the grounds.  As Joey, Crystal and myself pull into the gigantic signless parking lot, the sheer popularity of this place is evident.  There aren’t any spaces open and people have begun to park on curbs (all of which are taken too).


Eventually we luck out as someone is leaving and we snatch up the precious real estate.  We head in through a thick tunnel of vegetation to find the entrance foyer.  The building is enormous.  Directly in front of us is a huge gift shop that would make Disney jealous.  There you can buy any merchandise you can think of, as well as growlers of their brew.  To the right is the open walled indoor dining area.


The ceiling towers above as the packed room eats, drinks and be’s merry.  One can see through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows to the left, the brew tanks and operation.  To the right, the walls open up to the fresh air and the garden is visible.

We throw our name on the wait list.  An hour.  We decide to grab a brew at the bar while we wait and search the garden out back.


We get a little separated when we get back there.  This is totally understandable given the 1 acre area of winding tree riddled wonderland that is Stone Brewery’s beer garden.  At first glance it is a well manicured, heavily vegetated landscape.  The real magic happens as you wander around past the patio seating.


There are a few paths leading around the grounds.  They first take you to a beautiful little pond.  All around it, you can see people perched on rocks or in little grassy landings.  Everyone tends to cluster in a small groups and laugh in the shade of the tall trees.



As you wander around, you can notice carefully placed standing tables along the path.  Farther back, small openings emerge with scattered seating or rocks to rest upon.  Each turn reveals a new plot to assemble a small gathering.  Each turn is different than the one before.  Each turn is full of smiling people of all ages.

I am taken aback by how diverse and well maintained this oasis is.  The place is packed up front in the dining and patio area, but even though there are plenty of folks milling about the garden, it feels comfortable and relaxed.  I know I could find a spot by the pond and just plop down all day if I wanted.


I make my way through the loop of paths and find myself crashing a wedding party.  This, even more beautifully manicured area, is off limits and I get red faced as I try and find an exit.  I am sure I am not the first to bust through lost, but I am also sure that they were not thrilled that I was there.  But it speaks to the design of the area.  The wedding reception area is right next to the dining area but it feels separate and special.


I find Crystal and Joey again, and they had sneakily secured us a table on the patio outside of our wait-list reservation.  The sun was blistering, and the only spot available was right under it.  It doesn’t matter though, everyone is looking for a spot, so we take advantage.  We order some great food and brews.  As people leave around our huge stone slab table, we slide into the cool shade.  Respite at last!

We we are done eating, we get up and wander the gardens together.  As soon as we are out of our seats, they are snatched up lickety-split by a group of guys.  I am happy to wander through the trees, water and flowers again.  This garden is tremendously impressive.  It must be cared for with patience and intelligence.  There have to be hundreds, if not thousands, of people that come through the garden everyday, and for it to look so beautiful is astounding.  Respect and awe.

Again, in my opinion, breweries aren’t beer gardens.  They are breweries that sometimes have beer gardens.  But, of all the beer gardens I have seen across the US, this one is the most impressive in scale, varied plants, water features, sitting areas and ingenuity.  They hype is real!

One Response to “Stone Brewing Co. :: San Diego”
  1. lairbooo says:

    Looks like an awesome place to have a beer or four. Nice pics.

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