Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale – 7.2% ABV
You may be wondering why I started this review with a line like the one you see in the title. Look no further than the bottle cap from the company itself. Look at the picture above if you don’t understand. Stone Brewing Company, based in Escondido, CA, is no stranger to “in-your-face” brewing. On the bottle, near the bottom of the label is the quote “You’re not worthy.” Sound brash enough for you? Read the back of the bottle. It basically tells you (over several paragraphs of tiny font) that you’re not good enough and do not possess a palate refined enough to enjoy the super-strong bitter hoppiness and depth of flavor that smacks you right in the face when you drink it. Immediately I thought to myself “Damn, these dudes just don’t give a flying” you-know-what. Arrogant Bastard is quite the appropriate name for this beer if they’re gonna lay it down like that. But I digress. Better pour this sucker and see what all the hype is about.
When I poured Stone Arrogant Bastard into my imperial pint glass, the aromas already began to hit me. I didn’t necessarily need to stick my nose in the glass to smell it, as it provided plenty of aroma to fill the immediate area already, but I did it anyway. First the appearance – amber-reddish brown body with a nice thick cream-colored head (almost two fingers of it) that leaves behind plenty of foamy lacing. Getting back to the aroma – tons of earthy hop action going on and a bit of booze. This produces a stronger boozy aroma than many other beers I’ve had that are closer to ten percent than seven. So I should come to expect that the flavor is going to follow the nose and hit me with hops and booze. Let’s find out.
As I expected, the strong malty backbone produces plenty of alcohol punch almost immediately, but does not subside while the strong hop bitterness delivers the right cross and damn near puts you on the canvas. Now I know what they were talking about when they said you probably won’t like this beer. Arrogant Bastard is not for the faint of heart. Tread lightly when you get one of these. It definitely falls into the category of beers that are an acquired taste. If you like drinking anything macro and flavorless you better go somewhere else. These are not the droids you’re looking for. With me, I’m all about bigger and bolder beers, always have been. This is a prime example of that. This puppy takes no prisoners and if you do not respect it, it will kick your butt straight through the uprights like Janikowski on a career day with the Raiders. Stone calls this an aggressive beer. I call that the understatement of the year. Get after this one, but I warn you, you better be ready for it. You may just run home crying to mama afterwards. Cheers!