Happy Hour Special: Friday Beer Review!


Hello everyone.  Congratulations on making it through another week. Why don’t we start off the weekend in a fitting way by learning about beer together.

Today’s review will be on Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard Ale.  The best way to begin is just to tell you what the bottles says.

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.  

It says all that, and then on the other side, let’s me know I’m not worthy to drink it.  So far, so good.  I’ll be drinking it out of the bottle and out of my Stone Brewing Co. snifter later on.  Unless the devil on the front of the bottle stabs me first.  He has a look in his eye…

After opening, the first aroma is the deep, piney smell of potent hops, with a sweet, malty scent underneath.  The hops give it an uber tang, like someone just punched you in the face with a boxing glove made out of pine needles.  I can hear it calling to me.  Drink me, Paul!  Stop talking about me and drink me, or I’ll swallow your soul!

The first taste is very similar to an IPA (India Pale Ale), with its crazy hops and freshness.  But, this isn’t an IPA.  It’s just crazy.  It has a deep, hoppy/piney taste just like its scent.  The best way to describe it is bitter and sweet at the same time.  The bitter isn’t overpowering, but it is very strong.  The sweetness at the end of the taste counters it, reigning in the bitterness so it doesn’t run wild and annex your tongue from your mouth.

At the same time, there’s a deep fruit taste that hangs out under the hops, just chilling out in the corner like that shy girl at parties.  The taste is a bit like plums.  Maybe I’m just imaging the plums.  That could be.  This beer is an arrogant bastard.  Making up fruit wouldn’t be out of its realm.

After drinking from the bottle for a bit (and avoiding the bottle devil’s piercing gaze) I pour the rest into a snifter to see the rest of its secrets.  It pours out as a rich caramel color, deep and juicy looking, with a light tan head that bubbles up nice.  The aroma just explodes after pouring, like a little glass and beer volcano of tastiness.  The pine and malt increases by the second, and hidden lighter notes, like fruits and sugars, arrive only fashionably late to the party.  The same is happening with the taste, building and changing constantly, each taste bringing new flavors to the front.  Pine, then sweetness, then the malts, then just wheat, then pine again, then a light floral taste, back to the malts.  It’s like a German rave party in my mouth, without the unsettling side effects.

From the bottle and the tulip glass, its aftertaste seems to last for weeks, but mellowed out as a lightly malted, slightly bitter taste.  It seems to combine the best of each flavor as a reminder of its dominance over your tongue.  If your tongue went to prison, it would become this beer’s bitch.

Overall, I’m giving the Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard Ale a solid A-.  Everything about this beer is great, but its IPA-like flavor is a very unique taste, and not everyone enjoys the style.  Looking beyond that, its flavor is bold, complex, and aggressive, just like the bottle says.  It seems to know what it’s doing, even as you’re still catching up, trying to figure out what it tasted like five seconds ago.  Its lasting strength is immense, staying with you for a long time, making sure you don’t  take it for granted, while assuring you that you’ll make it through if you just release control of your soul over to that sly red devil.

Like the Dead Guy Ale from earlier, it looks like a beer should–a rich, juicy, deep brown that forces you to be thirsty even if you’re not.  It’s like a Jedi.  Or, I guess like a Sith, because I’m pretty sure its motives are totally nefarious.  And delicious.

Its only negative aspect is its price, and just like the Dead Guy, this may prohibit you from enjoying as much of this beer as you would like.  However, this might be able to be overlooked because of its drinkability.  This beer does not receive a Chuggable Bonus.  Oh no, not at all. To chug the Bastard would more than likely cause Hellfire to burst out from your tongue, simply because of the sheer potency of the hops.  It is best enjoyed slowly, especially if you can fashion some kind of system to keep it chilled while you consume it over several hours.  Ok, not that long, but don’t expect to be tearing through a six-pack in an hour.  With flavors this intense, you’ll want to pace yourself and take your time, or else you’ll get a throat cramp, and quite possibly die.  This beer is a distance run, not a sprint, and shortcuts aren’t allowed.  Limber up, harness your chi, and accept the fact that the Bastard on the front of the bottle has already won.  You’re only just trying to keep up with him at this point.


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