Arrogant Bastard Ale – Stone Brewing Co.

Long before hipsterism brought a self-righteous disdain for pretty much everything to our pop culture, Stone Brewing Co. was brewing beers the way they liked them, and telling people who didn’t that they could, effectively, go fuck themselves. While that attitude has nearly become normal in today’s craft brewing scene, when Stone did it in 1996, it was revolutionary. As were some of the beers they brewed, big agressive hop-forward beers unlike most of what was being brewed at the time, even by other progressive craft brewers. Their IPA is a high-water mark for most people, when talking about the style. And Arrogant Bastard Ale effectively birthed the modern idea of “American Strong Ale”. Even if you’re put off by some of their marketing, it is hard to deny the quality of their beers, and their attention to detail. Stone Brewing Co. is so meticulous when it comes to details, that their website has a whole page dedicated to proper name usage. Stone Brewing Co. is okay, Stone Brewing Company is not. Seriously. They are also manic about freshness, having a beer named “Enjoy By” with a date. They have a reporting system for customers to notify them if they find old beer for sale. And they have stringent shipping and warehousing requirements of any importer they deal with. That last point (and, of course, the insanity of the LCBO) is why it seemed like they never had a chance in Ontario. But Horizon Beers reached out to them, and made it work. From refrigerated shipping, to a policy about the freshness of draught being poured, Horizon met their needs, and we all won.

Arrogant Bastard Ale — Stone Brewing Co.

Arrogant Bastard Ale — Stone Brewing Co.

From a 650ml bottle, Arrogant Bastard Ale pours a brilliant copper red with a  lovely light tan head. Aroma is big juicy hops. Dank and earthy, with a bit of citrus peel. There’s a nice malty undertone, but it’s fair to say that this is a pretty hop-forward beer, right off the start. Taste is more of the same, big biting hops that show a lot of aggressive bitterness, there is still a bit of citrus peel, with pine and earthiness, and there’s a touch of melon, which I sometimes notice in very hoppy beers. I think I’m aware of the maltiness, more for its ability to keep the hops (somewhat) in check, and maybe a little note of raw sugar that pops up somewhere between the initial pine and earth onslaught, and the lingering biting dryness. It shows a bit of alcohol on the finish, belying its 7.2%abv. The body is medium, though the astringency of the hops cuts that well. Overall, this is an assertive hoppy beer, to say the least. Definitely not a beer for everybody, and one that makes no apologies for that. If really really punchy hops is your thing, this will do you very well.

Cheers to Stone, and welcome to Ontario!

Buy Arrogant Bastard Ale

Now on draught around Toronto and further afield, and at the LCBO in June.

Drink This With

Cheese. Not even going to go for a main dish here, just get something funky and dank and run with it. I got a chunk of Saler from Monforte Dairy on the weekend, and it had started to crack and get some blue veining in it. Needless to say, it’s like peas and carrots with Arrogant Bastard Ale. Sharp and funky, not particularly salty. The astringency of the hops cuts the fat of the cheese, and the dank sharp notes from the cheese compliment the dank earthy hops perfectly.

About Stone Brewing Co.

Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 10 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multi-faceted company will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate its own brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations is anticipated to begin late 2015. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.

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