Friday, April 24, 2009

Such Arrogance


"...this is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory - maybe something with a multi million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this..."



And so Stone Brewing Co. introduce you to their most infamous beer. I like this bit of blurb because it's undeniably true. If you are a macro beer drinker this beer will smack you about the face and call your mother a very rude name. I can't say it is a very complex beer; the intense bitterness swamps a lot of the flavour, but the malt is heavy and sweet and holds its own rather well. It's a big hitter at 7.2% and tastes it too. The foam is rich and here to stay, lacing the glass all the way, marking the tentative sips that this intoxicating beer persuades you to take.

Worth the hype? Perhaps. It undeniably does what it suggests on the bottle, but the marketing approach taken is strange to pushers of craft beer in Ireland and the UK. Here craft brewers want a small share of the macro market and attempt to lure in the more adventurous drinker who might want to try something new with promises of a rewarding experience. Stone, with this beer at least, are using some form of reverse psychology to goad drinkers into trying their beer. In reality we all know that this beer will almost never fall into the hands of committed light lager drinkers and it won't get the chance to hurt the feelings of too many people.

9 comments:

Chris said...

Is Arrogant Bastard the only Stone beer available in Ireland?

Thom said...

There are no Stone beers available in Ireland, sadly. I got this and a few others shipped in from England.

We are at the mercy of fickle importers and distributors.

Artist formerly known as Wurst, CEO APRK said...

I love their regular Pale Ale, even more than Sierra Nevada pale. Their IPA is also great. I was never a fan of Arrogant Bastard. There's a harshness in there that my taste buds don't care for.

Thom said...

There's no doubt that it is very bitter in a harsh way. It's not the best beer I tried by a long way but enjoyable.

I have a bottle of their IPA in my fridge which I'll crack open soon enough. I'm anticipating some serious hops.

Chris said...

When it first came out a dozen years ago, it was really different. Now it seems a bit tame compared to some of there other beers.

While not a huge Stone fan, I love vertical epic. They also did a bretted version of Stone IPA called Cali Belgique that was delicious.

Artist formerly known as Wurst, CEO APRK said...

The harhness is part hop, part some kind of malt. It almost tastes like there's too much of some sort of dark malt.

Mark said...

I've only had the oaked version of this and I've had that from the bottle and cask. It's ok and there's a lot going on but I agree with Wurst and there is a harshness in there somewhere, something almost ash-like (maybe that's just the oaked version). I thought the cask was beter, loads of berry fruits.

I'm a big fan of Stone's beers, particularly their IPAs. I've got the Russian Imperial Stout 08 and Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal stout in the cupboard waiting for the right moment...

Ed said...

The marketing approach is copied almost word for word by Brewdog, so not totally unknown in the UK.

Oblivious said...

Love their Arrogant Bastard and IPA