The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner with Randy Clemens

It is with great pride that I announce the publication of my next book, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance, gracing bookstore shelves on September 27, 2011. Not long after completing the manuscript for my first book (The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch), I started thinking about what on earth I wanted to do next. My answer? I wanted to write about one of my favorite craft breweries: Stone Brewing Co.

I worked tirelessly one evening back in January 2010, drawing up a completely unsolicited pitch email to Stone’s (in)famous CEO, Greg Koch, finally sending it off at 2:55am, telling myself I’d follow up if I hadn’t heard back within two weeks. Naturally, you can imagine my surprise waking up to a personal reply in my inbox at 6:53am!

Greg and I emailed back in forth a few times, coincidentally bumped into each other at a food industry trade show in San Francisco, and finally set up a meeting down at the brewery proper.  I’d honed my pitch and expanded it to encompass a wide spectrum of topics–the history of beer and how it’s made, the history of Stone, its beers, and how it has grown, a food pairing primer, recipes from the award-winning Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, as well as never before published homebrew formulas  for some of Stone’s most prized beers.

After getting the nod from Greg, I approached the illustrious Melissa Moore, my WONDERFUL editor at Ten Speed Press, and got a book proposal in her hands. Lucky for us, she’s quite the fan of craft beer, and she championed for this project just as much as we did!

And so began the leg work. Living in Los Angeles at the time, I drove down to San Diego on weekends to interview my co-authors, the co-founders of Stone Brewing: Steve Wagner and the aforementioned Greg. I dug through old photos, talked with lots of amazing people, tested a ton of great recipes,  and became even more enamored with Stone…AND San Diego.

One day, in the midst of it all, Creative Director Mike Palmer (aka Mike of Mike’s Beer Cheese fame) pulled me aside and said, “Hey, are you aware of this job posting for a Public Relations Coordinator? I think you’d be really good for it!” I hadn’t heard about it, but he was right, I would be really good for it! Applied. Interviewed. Interviewed again. And again. Hired. Moved. Win. (Mike, you’re awesome! Thank you! So are you Karen Tibbens and Dan Schlafman!)

It’s incredible to look back on, really… this past 18 months. I count my lucky stars every day, and am so incredibly thankful for all that’s come of it. Greg and Steve, you were an absolute pleasure to work with, and getting to hear so much of your incredible story straight from you has been an amazing experience. Thank you both for being so gracious, and for believing in this little craft beer geek who thinks he’s kinda OK at writing good.

To everyone else that helped, lent their ear, offered advice or expertise, a sincere thank you to you as well. In no particular order: Mitch Steele, John Schulz and his pirate crew at StudioSchulz.com, Chris Cochran, Karen Westfall, Mike Palmer (again), Sue Daughters, Alex Carballo, “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Alice Harvey, Tausha Lopez, Andrew Higgins, Arlan Arnsten, Dan Schlafman (again), Lee Chase, Tom Matthews, Vince Marsaglia, Carlton Greenawalt, Craig Spitz, Bill Sherwood, Julie White, Jen Knudson, Amy Krone, Sergio Salgado, Katy Adams, Kathryn Bouscaren, Ken Wright, Stephen Brucher, Jacob McKean (yes, even you), Todd Colburn, Kris Ketcham, Steven Via, Melissa Moore (again), Michele Crim, Kara van de Water, Jenny Fernandez, Colleen Cain, Toni Tajima, Kristen Casemore, Wade Lucas, John Dawson, Sharon Donovan, Jason & Todd Alström, Garrett Marrero, Charlie Papazian, Bill Covaleski, and EVERYONE else who helped and supported me along the way… THANK YOU. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE AND I AM FOREVER INDEBTED TO YOU.

Mom, Elliot Weingarten, Sandra Hernandez…countless others, your encouragement continues to mean the world to me. Nate Sellergren and Angelo Valdespino, thank you for making me fall in love with Stone’s beers so many moons ago. And even more moons ago, a repeated thank you to Matt Finkel for getting my young, undisciplined ass to swallow my pride and finish out culinary school. (Long story… maybe I’ll tell it to you over a beer sometime.) And to the unbelievable number of like-minded friends I’ve made since getting into the worlds of food and craft beer: I love you guys. Keep doing what you’re doing. We’re shifting the needle, and making this a much better world in which to live.

Greg and Steve…again, THANK YOU! To have been a part of this project has been nothing short of surreal. Your kindness and candor made it a pleasure, even if the manuscript ran decidedly behind schedule. The company and culture that you’ve grown and fostered is an inspiration to us all. Cheers to 15 years of kickin’ ass and takin’ names. Here’s to 15 more!