The Burrito Tribune


randomness, truth, and burritos

Craft Beer: Stone Brewing Co. Arrogant Bastard Ale


I know from experience that Arrogant Bastard Ale was one of the ground breakers of the craft beer market, and from the few times I have had it, I can understand why.  Despite they’re jabs at mass-market beers multi-million dollar marketing campaign, I have to give Stone Brewing credit in creating a great brand identity for people who want something different and unique.  Arrogant Bastard encompasses the attitude of loving strong flavorful craft beer, and getting to embrace being an above-average beer snob.  I find it slightly ironic that their “questions and comments” label on their bottle says to keep your opinion to yourself.  It looks like I will fail miserably on that one.  But how about this, if you work for Stone Brewing… you can go ahead and close the browser now.  I’m not asking you to read this.

So Arrogant Bastard Ale comes in at a pretty hefty 7.2% ABV, and pours out as a beautiful dark brown color.  The head is thick and rich, and even after a good five minutes or more hasn’t entirely dissipated.  It definitely smells spicier than even most other craft beers, especially a standard ale.  It reminds me of that spicy scent when you walk into a store full of fine leather.  It smells rich and complex, almost oily.

The beer’s flavor is a definite kick in the teeth, and I mean that in the best of ways.  Some beers are good because they’re bold and wake you up every time you sip them, others do better with being complex and intricate.  This beer seems to make it’s mark by being both.  While the flavor hits you fast and strong, there is a background of complexity to it that keeps you coming back for more.

I’ve been sitting here through half a glass trying to figure out how best to describe this beer, and I just realized that all of my descriptors seem to follow a trend.  My first inclination was to say it reminded me of a strong rich BBQ sauce.  After that, I started leaning to a semi-sweet molasses cookie or a ginger snap.  There is a bite or tartness that I can’t avoid, like someone squirting in a taste of lime juice.  I would think this comes from the hops in the blend.

This beer is almost too strong for my taste, but that’s a definite almost.  I might not drink more than one or two, especially at 7.2% ABV, but its complexity and flavor are unparalleled in the craft beer market.  For true beer aficionados, I think you will be hard pressed to find a brew that better embraces all of the qualities that make craft beer great.  If you are new to craft beers, I might be a bit of an arrogant bastard myself and recommend you take a sip of your friend’s or have a 4oz glass in a flight of samples before going all out on a pint.


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