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Feb
20

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

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Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.

How can you NOT love a beer that includes such a compelling insult on its label?

Arrogant Bastard Ale was the beer that first introduced me to the Stone Brewing Company. If memory serves, I had my initial taste of Stone and this strong ale at The Brickskeller in Washington, DC. And if I may indulge in a brief aside, I firmly believe The Brickskeller deserves as much attention as any other monument in my nation’s capitol. They have a beer menu the depths of which would make Dickens shudder.

This is my second Stone Ale of the year (third, if you count the Special Holiday Ale), and I’m planning to drink Stone on Saturday (Oaked Arrogant Bastard) and on IPA Monday (Ruination IPA). The Gargoyle and I will be good friends by the time next week gets under way.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find a simple 12 ounce bottle of Arrogant Bastard and had to settle on a big bomber. Perhaps arrogance doesn’t come in small packages; that is, at least not since Napoleon. But this has given me a chance to break out the 25 ounce mug I earned as a lifetime member of the Upland Brewing Company’s “Mug Club” (Bloomington, IN).

When I learned — during a visit back home in Indiana — that the Upland was phasing in new mugs, I successfully negotiated (read: big tip, lots of groveling) for my mug’s release some years ago. And I have reserved it for special occasions ever since.

There I go with another digression.

The Arrogant Bastard Ale filled my huge Upland mug, but foamed up such that I had to pour in stages. It’s a great problem to have; the resulting head has laced all the way down my mug (only a few ounces left as I write this). The beer is a brownish red, dark and pretty but not over-carbonated.

Lots of malt and hops in the aroma, some citrus and spice. The taste — am I drinking an IPA? Strong, piny hops smacked my taste buds around at first. There’s some grapefruit citrus in the taste as well as the aroma, but it took me three quarters of the bottle before I was able to taste anything but the hops. There’s a complex malt here, too. I first noticed the malt in the tail, with a lingering, mellow sweetness as my taste buds recovered from the bitterness. Gradually, I realized there is a caramel maltiness throughout the taste — if I only had 12 ounces, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the other flavor elements. As the label accuses (“You’re Not Worthy“), my palette simply isn’t accustomed to nuance while distracted by power.

A great pub beer, Arrogant Bastard would go quite well with burgers and fried food. I understand the beer also makes for incredible onion rings. But I’m at home tonight, polishing off the last few ounces with some sharp cheddar cheese — a delicous pairing.

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Categories : Beer a Day

3 Comments

1
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I was first introduced to this beer by the t-shirt of my neighborhood barista when I first moved to Portland.
After a few trips to the Coffee Cellar, I realized it was quite appropriate for Hal to be wearing that shirt.

(Hal coincidentally became my cow-orker and eventually a housemate in those last days before the sig. other.)

The Arrogant Bastard has a special place in my heart, I still see him every now and then, he just lives up the street, sometimes he spins records at one of the neighborhood joints.

Oh, I like the beer a lot too. If you see it on tap, get a pint!

3
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Also the beer that introduced me to Stone (as I stare the remaining 22 oz. of my Stone 2008 Old Guardian bottle). What a great brew. And thankfully, can be found all year ’round.

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