Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Arrogant Bastard Ale

Brewing Company: Stone Brewery
Style: American Strong Ale
Size: 12 fl oz. or 22 fl oz.
ABV: 7.20%

I know that this blog was intended for seasonal beers. But this label got my attention and it seemed fitting seeing that Halloween is right around the corner. So for those that have daring pallets... step into my office.

Over the past few weeks, I've gotten to know the Beer Manager at Southington Wine and Spirits. He knows a ton about micro brews and I try and learn something new every time I stop in. Last week, I noticed a whole new line of beers that I hadn't seen before from the Stone Brewery out in California. And I trust the managers selection... he recommended that I give the Arrogant Bastard a try.

I have to admit... it was the name that drew me in first. Then as I examined the logo of the devil, I noticed their tag line: "You're Not Worthy." Then I read the back of the label and was instantly sold. The description on the back label is absolutely that of an "arrogant bastard". Check it out for yourself:

"Arrogant Bastard Ale: This is an aggressive beer. You Probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory --- maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this."

And of course.. you have to recognize the last line on the bottle:

"Questions or comments? If you don't like this beer, keep it to yourself --- we don't want to hear from any sniveling yellow-beer-drinkin' wimps, 'cause this beer wasn't made for you."

Ok, enough about what the bottle looks like... let's move onto the color & taste. It pours a nice dark amber color with a light brown head. The taste is incredibly complex hitting you instantly with hop/maltiness and finishing with a bitters. I feel like the bitter taste resembles that of a grapefruit. And at 7.2% ABV, it hits you harder than most beers... but with a name like Arrogant Bastard, I kind of expected it. It's not a "hop bomb" as some call it, but somewhere in the middle of a Double IPA and a Barley Wine.

Now what happened next was a little bazaar. I found that while the beer warmed up slightly... the tastes started really evening themselves out. At first what came across as a very strong bitter ale, was now much more mellow; drinkable and enjoyable. I highly suggest that when trying this beer, you maybe want to let it "breathe" before jumping right in. When I had it, we poured it right out of the fridge and jumped right in. Not the way to go. Instead, open this beer and let it sit on the counter while you enjoy something first. Then, jump into the world of the Arrogant Bastard.

If you are looking for a little extra credit, I also had the pleasure of sampling the Arrogant Bastard Oaked variety. A little more expensive than it's Arrogant cousin, but the oak'y taste really comes through on the end. Pointed out by my friend Ian, it had a nice maple finish to it.

Final Grade: B+ (A- Oaked)

My apologies for straying from out seasonal mentality. But this was something that I absolutely wanted to share with the Beer411 public. Be on the lookout for the next review thanks to the Girosky brothers - 2 hand delivered bottles from Maine. SHIPYARD's SMASHED PUMPKIN!!! 1st RELEASE!!

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