Stone’s bearded CEO and co-founder Greg Koch already has nicknames in Germany: “Bier Jesus von Mariendorf,” referencing the Berlin suburb where the new “Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Berlin” is located. Another one: “Bier-Rocker.” Berliner Kurier refers to the new Stone location as his ‘temple.’
Yelpers! and reporters alike question Stone’s location ten minutes from the nearest subway or suburban trains. This does not bother the 52-year-old Koch.
“In our hometown of San Diego, California, we are ranked number three largest brewery with a similar location,” he told the Berliner Morgenpost October 1 after Stone Berlin soft-opened, and one month before recent layoffs at Stone’s in San Diego County. Koch wants the new Germany location to serve 17 European countries.
“Craft beer for all Europe,” reads a headline by the Berliner Abendblatt.
The brewery is designed to produce nearly 100,000 barrels of beer annually. Stone was available in just 25 Berlin restaurants before the new Berlin location opened.
“I prefer beer brewed with creativity, passion and knowledge,” says Koch. He is surprised that “cheap” for many Germans is more important than quality.
Many have wondered what Germans will think of the stronger aromas and higher alcohol content of San Diego craft beers, as well as Stone’s bitter flavors.
One Yelper! warns others about Stone’s different taste than traditional German beer, describing international bitterness units and where Stone falls on that scale. “Have a big glass of water with the beer,” the Yelper! Writes. “I had a 0.3 Hasel and coconut brewed beer (without liquor), and it tasted remarkably well.” Commenters commend the 65 types of beer, from Stone and local German brands, on tap.
“One seeks in vain the sweet beer mixed drinks (a.k.a Radler) at Stone,” writes Daniel H. of Berlin, referencing popular drinks in Germany that mix fruits with beers.
“The American beer recipes take some getting used to,” says Berliner M. W.
“The beer tastes super,” says Berlin resident Patrick J.
“Craft beer lovers get their money’s worth here,” says.Commenters nearly ubiquitously lamented Stone’s high prices in Berlin.
“I’m not ready to pay California prices,” says one commenter. They finish the comment in English: “This Ain’t California in Mariendorf.” Further, Germans express disappointment with a ‘No Smoking’ terrace.
“Smoking is forbidden on the terrace,” complains Dusan S of Berlin on the Yelp! for Stone’s new location in Berlin, Germany. “Incomprehensible!!!”
Koch’s vision for the Berlin location, after all, was somewhere “which takes you far away, and in the middle of Berlin.”
Eleven beers are brewed on site. Morgenpost reports the “hoppy” Indian Pale Ale is most popular at the European location, followed by Cali-Belgique Indian Pale Ale and then Arrogant Bastard Ale.
Koch calls the 115-year-old, 2400-square-meter building with numerous gardens a “world-class destination for relaxation in a creative, environmentally friendly environment.”
Glistening bright tanks are separated by a glass wall from the gastronomical area, where experimental meat and vegetarian dishes are served from a food truck, such as duck tacos. It cost Stone 23 million euros. Like it’s Escondido location, tours of the facilities are offered.
“It took a lot of time and countless hours to get where we are now,” says Koch about Stone Berlin.