August 1, 2011

The Brü Revü – Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

I really love Stone Brewery and what they represent in terms of craft brewing and their experimentation.  All of their beers are extremely well done and very good, so with that in mind I tried their flagship beer the Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.  With my first taste my initial thought was “what the hell?”  It had a very off-putting bitterness that was not necessarily an intense hoppiness like an IIPA and it was surprising.  The label states “It is quite doubtful that you have the taste of sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth,” and I was beginning to believe them!  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.  I finished the first glass and slowly poured the rest of the bottle with growing dread.  By now the beer had begun to warm a bit as I left it out of the refrigerator.  As it warmed, Arrogant Bastard took on a much smoother more balanced taste as the malts began to balance out the hop bitterness with a more roasty almost toffee flavor.  I easily finished glass #2 and completely erased my earlier disappointment. 
I realized that I fell into two traps: A) this being the summer in Austin we all want to drink a cold beer to cool off and B) in my haste for a cold one, I completely ignored the fact that most complex brews reveal themselves as they warm.
This is definitely an aggressive and sophisticated beer as the label suggests, and a very good, highly recommended introduction to Stone.  Just let it warm a little first.

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