Amber Ale - 7.2% ABV
Happy Inauguration Day...
Today's beer comes from our good friends in the USA - Stone Brewing.
Since it's release in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale has been hailed as a watershed beer. It's deep and intense flavours were brewed as an alternative choice to challenge all yellow, fizzy and bland beers everywhere.
Admittedly, it actually started it's life as a mistake. An oversight or malfunction happened during brewing and the result was this particular Amber Ale. At the time it felt too extreme to release but that's exactly what ended up happening and thus the name Arrogant Bastard seemed entirely apt.
Basically, this beer is what it is and you either like it or you don't. Either way, it's not making any apologies.
Intriguing no doubt, but will it be up to the job?
It would seem that it's time to find out...
In The Glass:
This Ale is much darker than I expected it to be. It's got a heavy looking dark red colour with a smooth white head.
On The Nose:
Funnily enough, there isn't too much to the aroma. Perhaps an underlying malty scent of caramel but nothing too dramatic.
Very malty indeed but this is only beaten by its extreme bitterness.
This beer doesn't mess about. It has some incredibly dominant flavours but is very well balanced as the bitterness of the hops and the sweet flavours of the malt combine pretty well.
The caramel, coffee and dark fruit undercurrents are submerged below waves of grapefruit and a bitter citrus zest. Driven on all the while by a tidal booziness that let's you know that this ale means business!
The sign of a good beer is one that is well balanced, in such a way that the flavours can embrace each other and dance together in one beautiful movement - a ballet of sweet and bitter essence.
This beer is different however. Whilst it balances well, rather than unite the conflicting tastes to work together, it manipulates them into a cacophony of noise and clamor. All flavours performing together but in one gigantic mosh pit of guitar riffs and drum beats, where everyone's shouting to be heard.
I'm going to be honest here, I didn't want to like this beer.
I knew what Stone were getting at when they named it and can appreciate the humour element, but I don't like arrogant people and I really wasn't sure that with all of it's strutting and pompousness, I would like this ale much either.
But the truth is, it's actually alright.
For all it's chest beating and forehead frowning, it seems to work ok.
Don't get me wrong, at 7.2% you wouldn't want to hang out with this arrogant bastard for too long, lest you may be lowered to his level!
However, if you do find yourself in the company of this overpowering brew - I'd say, give it a chance.
After all, what's the worst that can happen? 😉
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