A little more than 17 years ago, a bright-eyed Steve Wagner and rosy-cheeked Greg Koch joined forces to set the beer world a-pucker by founding Stone Brewing Co. That's an occasion most certainly worth celebrating. The Stone abides.
The Stone 17th Anniversary Celebration and Invitational Beer Festival is not only an opportunity to visit a pretty extraordinary beer list; it's also a chance to add to an ever-mounting pile of charity donations. To date, these festivals have raised more than $1.5 million for local charities, and, this year, Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, Fight ALD, Palomar Family YMCA and Surfrider Foundation will be the beneficiaries of your debauchery.
At the time of this writing, there were still tickets available ($40 each) for both Saturday sessions. I'll only offer the caveat that, year over year, I hear complaints about the heat and sun exposure, probably best evidenced by the "expanded festival area with two levels and more shade" bullet point on the festival details. Attendees should be mindful of their hydration and headgear.
If you're not able to make the festival, you can always celebrate like I will: quietly drinking the anniversary beer alone (and possibly weeping, if the moment takes me). The Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA is a stylistic collision between the Old and New worlds, using malt and hops typically associated with German pilsners for a West Coast IPA. Though the German term is meant to relay a disastrous series of events, this is a very pleasant amalgamation. It's got a big, dank, flowery presence, but the finish is more peppery and crisp than resinous. I get bright hints of lemon and apricot within the hop strata, as well. It's a great beer to round out the summer.