There are few things more frustrating than being an American beer lover in Germany. Next time you're there, just try to convince a Beck's fan that there are in fact hundreds of American craft beers that will knock his Bremen brew on its hintern. Even an open-minded German beer drinker (and they're not easy to come by) will demand proof. And you'll have ... what? Even in Berlin, you'll be lucky to find a dusty, two-year-old bottle of Sam Adams sitting forlornly in a department store food section. Beck's it is, mein freund!
But Greg Koch, co-owner of Stone Brewing, wants to change that. Based in Escondido, California, Stone just closed its request for proposal (PDF) to construct a brewing facility in Europe. If it works out, in a few years Stone will be the first American craft brewery to make its product outside the United States.
"We think there's the opportunity there to bring something different to the table," Koch told me in a recent interview. Different is right: Stone's biggest sellers—its pale ale, porter, and Arrogant Bastard, a strong ale—are far from the typical biergarten fare. Though the details are still confidential, Koch said he had received several serious responses, both for new construction and retrofitting an existing plant.