Stone collaborates with local beef jerky company Homegrown

San Diegans pride themselves on exemplifying the entrepreneurial spirit. The city’s startup culture excels in industries ranging from biotech to beer, making the region a hotspot for innovation and collaboration.

Sometimes those collaborations bring together unexpected partners. Most recently, it’s Stone Brewing and Homegrown Meats joining forces.

The local artisan beef jerky producer, co-founded by San Diego native Thad Benshoof with longtime ranchers the Mendenhall family, teamed up with the Escondido-based brewery to launch two new jerky flavors using Stone’s beers as marinades.

“Greg [Koch, Stone’s co-founder and current Executive Chairman] and I met a few years back through acquaintances, and developed a foodie-focused friendship,” said Benshoof about how the unusual union came to be. “We both champion culinary creativity, so it seemed like a natural fit for us to team up and create a delicious collaboration with Stone’s awesome beer and Homegrown’s craft jerky.”

The two new flavors use Tangerine Express IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale, a pair of year-round releases from Stone and their sub-brand Arrogant Consortia (formerly Arrogant Brewing).

“We tested several different Stone beers in our marinade, and the flavor profiles of the Tangerine Express IPA and Arrogant Bastard jerkies were our collective favorite,” said Benshoof. “Each came out balanced yet beer-forward — which is exactly what we wanted.”

The Tangerine Express IPA variation definitely pushes a citrus-forward flavor without losing the smokiness of the 100% grass-fed meat, and the Arrogant Bastard Ale jerky continues Stone’s commitment to an “uncompromising celebration of intensity” with a rich, spicy, complex version that makes one question whether they are indeed worthy. Both pair well with their respective beers as well, although it seems any hop-forward brew would probably do the trick.

Stone is known for its fiercely independent streak, focus on sustainability, and local roots, which made the partnership with Homegrown a no-brainer.

Finding truly locally sourced meat has been historically difficult in San Diego, thanks to a shortfall of nearby United States Department of Agriculture-certified slaughter facilities. But as demand for more environmentally conscious meat continues to rise, ranchers across Southern California are increasingly improving their practices without sacrificing quality.

“Nourishment should never compromise taste,” said Benshoof in a recent press release.

Launched in 2011, Homegrown Jerky only uses 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat for their jerkys, which are available for purchase online and nationwide at Whole Foods, as well as a number of local retailers. Other flavors include cracked black pepper, Western mesquite barbecue, tangy orange teriyaki, paleo, and Joel’s traditional.

Homegrown only uses meat from ranchers “dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and to sustainable farming practices,” according to its website. The company also avoids using artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives in order to appeal to health-conscious consumers. Every jerky is also gluten-free and contain no nitrates or nitrites, unlike many mass-produced beef jerkies or cured meats.

Jerky aficionados can expect more culinary-inspired releases from Homegrown in the future. Stay up-to-date with the latest collaborations by following #FuelTheJourney, or sign up for a jerky subscription on the Homegrown website.

Beth Demmon is a San Diego-based craft beer writer whose work has appeared in BeerAdvocate, Playboy, Thrillist, MUNCHIES, Tales of the Cocktail, and more. Email her at beth@bethdemmon.com.

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