Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard kicked-off my on-going love-affair with beer and mircrobrews in particular. I had enjoyed a fair share of decent beers prior to stumbling upon Arrogant Bastard but nothing had really stood out. Then, while perusing the beer selection in a liquor store one day I saw a bottle with the caricature of a gargoyle on it. I thought it looked cool, even a little bad-ass. And the name was comfortably over the top. I noticed the now-signature text on the back of the bottle and read. The text was a balance of decidedly arrogant and erudite posturing. Obviously a lure, but it was a lure I could relate to so I bought the beer, drank the beer, and really enjoyed the beer. I found that my growing contempt for run-off-the-mill beers put me in good company. Or agreeable company, anyway. I spent the next decade as an unpaid and unrecognized advocate of Stone’s endeavors. I unveiled one of those massive magnums of the oaked edition of the Bastard at a New Year’s party I hosted. Stone’s Imperial Stout played a part in developing my appreciation for stouts in general… and potent ones in particular.
But enough background… my relationship with stone could fill volumes, not to mention several recycling receptacles, but I am writing this increasingly wordy review simply to address Stone Brewing’s latest release: Lucky Bastard. No surprise, I really liked the label the moment I saw it. I didn’t even know what the beer was supposed to be, but like my initial Stone experience, the label was enough to hook me. Where I landed the bottle, City Beer, happened to have it on tap… so I was already feeling lucky, but was I worthy?
The beer was a copper and slightly foggy auburn with creamy, dark and pleasantly sour hops somewhere in the nose. The first sip was a big sip… I couldn’t see any reason in beating around the bush (and the tap was excellent, more like half-cask). An initially light mouthfeel quickly gave way to a dense savory cream/oak with late-blooming hops that lingered vegetatively with fleeting bitterness. The overall palate was solid, bold and a little edgy, which I expected. I found the oak notes integrated particularly well, producing a more difficult to parse, and therefore more intriguing, flavor. This wasn’t muddled, it was well-knit… not an easy task for a beer with a reputation for an obstreperous and magniloquent approach to beer. Tasty.