Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stone - Arrogant Bastard Review

Brewery: Stone Brewing (CA) 
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 7.2%
Grade: A-

Obviously, I've had Arrogant Bastard Ale before. It is arguably one of the defining beers of the American craft beer resurgence. Stone, too, deserves both their arrogance and their reputation, as they're one of the best breweries in the country. They perfectly represent one end of the American craft beer scene.

Still, I hadn't had Arrogant Bastard in a while, and after reading the New York Ale Project's interesting assessment of AB as a gateway beer, I had no choice but to pick up a bottle on a grocery run. And I have to agree.

It's been a few months, at least, since I've drank this, so I had mostly forgotten what to expect. I was actually taken aback by how malty AB is — in the sense that I expected, and remembered, it being a huge hop bomb. Hops are there in full force, but Arrogant Bastard is a shockingly balanced beer, especially for one with such... um, confidence. It really is quite drinkable, notwithstanding its 7.2% ABV — a quintessential American beer, maybe a quintessential strong beer in general. The bitterness is manageable, subdued by the forceful maltiness and sheer complexity. It's like an English IPA on steroids, without the signature profile of British yeast. It's clean and drinkable, with a ton of flavor packed in that you really start to notice once it warms up. I wouldn't consider this one of my all-time favorite beers or anything, but it's such a well-balanced, well-made example of beer-in-general, that I would propose locking this in a time capsule for future generations of mutants and aliens to find, imbibe, and admire.

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