The First Pour: Stone Arrogant Bastard
Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. We have a really great enthusiastic beer drinker and Beer School graduate, Mike Vecchio, writing these posts for us. If you see him around, make sure and thank him for his hard work.
By Mike Vecchio
Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale (American strong ale)
Released: November 1997
To drink Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, or read a review of it, you must agree to the following:
1. I am aware that the following beer review may contain images/descriptions of full frontal arrogance.
2. I am not a fizzy yellow beer drinker here under false pretenses.
3. I indemnify Stone Brewing Co. and all its affiliates from any damages to my ego I may incur from viewing/reading this material.
4. I am 21 or older and legally entitled to read about great beer.
I have read the above statements and I certify that I:
Accept | Do Not Accept
There’s something about reading about Stone’s most popular, egomaniacal, and aggressive ale that really does put you in an arrogant mood. But being in an arrogant mood isn’t just acceptable at this moment – it’s celebrated. The fine people at Stone Brewing Company from San Diego county California brew this fine beer and I heard that they’re currently doubting your ability to appreciate and enjoy the sophistication of this beer. In fact, they may likely be doubting your ability to even read a beer review or form a coherent and intelligible sentence. So they instead invite you to go ahead to keep drinking beer that’s closer to the classic mantra: “Tastes great! Less filling!” On that note, if you don’t like this beer – Stone honestly prints on their bottles of Arrogant Bastard that you should “keep it to yourself – we don’t want to hear from any sniveling yellow-swill-drinkin’ wimps, ’cause Arrogant Bastard wasn’t made for you.” So proceed with caution reading the review and with saddling up to the bar and ordering this flagship beer.
Arrogant Bastard Ale is an American strong ale by style and is Stone’s attempt to help the beer drinking population to break away from mass-produced style of American Adjunct Light Lager. The beer pours out brownish-red in color with a thick and heavy off-white head on top. On a good draft pour from Cicero’s, you’ll find that the head may not dissipate throughout the duration of the drink. The smell of this bastard (I’m clearly getting a kick out of being able to use this in a technical fashion) is slightly sweet – with tones of caramel malts and a slight pop of citrus hops underneath. You may ask yourself, what does liquid arrogance taste like? Well, it’s arrogance we’re talking about….so powerful and strong, but surprisingly well balanced and sneaky with regards to playfully hiding it’s higher ABV. At first taste the beer smacks you upfront with a strong citrus hop bite. Then you get pleasant sweet caramel and roasty – almost nutty – tones throughout the drink with a clean-dry finish on the swallow. There’s a notable amount of hop oil which lingers on the tongue after the swallow, but it’s not overpowering and balances the malt tones gracefully. Overall, the drink of Arrogant Bastard ale is outstanding. Because of the beer’s boldness and complexity, you’ll find yourself finding new enjoyable features all throughout your pint (and maybe a second pint – if you’re worthy).
While the review has bought into and contributed to the arrogant mythos surrounding Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, I want to stress to beer drinkers of all sorts that this beer really is a well balanced and approachable beer for any craft beer drinker. Remember that the beer launched in 1997, so while it was arrogant for it’s time…but most craft drinkers have been exposed to much more unbalanced and seemingly aggressive beers. So don’t hesitate to try a sample of this beer at Cicero’s and maybe even have a pint. But drinker beware, have too much of this beer and you may find yourself the arrogant bastard at the bar mocking fizzy yellow beer drinkers and this may land you in a predicament that even a multi-million dollar marketing campaign couldn’t get you out of. Prost!
About the Author – Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and got interested in craft beer thanks to local staples like Schlafly and O’Fallon. He credits Cicero’s Beer School for the evolution of his tastes from highly hopped IPAs to a range of stouts and traditional hefeweizens. When he’s not drinking a beer, Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at everything that moves, reading about crime, and home brewing with his co-workers (whoops that involves drinking a beer).