Arrogance served by Stone
We are so glad that we have a few beer angels amongst us who whole heartedly believe that sharing is caring and open up stupendous beers from all over the world. Thanks to these kind souls we had the opportunity to try out 2 outstanding craft beers from US based Stone Brewing Co.
Brews from Stone Brewing are known world over for 2 reasons – first is obviously the beers themselves and second is the badass image that they have created for themselves. Stone Brewing Co’s brews take pride in the fact that they do not follow a people pleasing approach to brewing and the ‘devil gives a damn’ marketing strategy is a spin-off from this premise. The founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner started out in 1996 with Stone’s Pale Ale and today have more than more than 10 beers in their portfolio; apart from this they have beers which are part of annual special releases, partnerships and collaborations. For a craft brewery they have a lot of variations available and it is up to brewmaster Mitch Steele to maintain quality of these brews, especially since craft beers have picked up tremendously in the US. Stone Brewing Co has been winning awards since the day it was set up and is ever present in top 10 lists for RateBeer and Beer Advocate.
The two beers that we tasted are Stone Brewing Co’s stalwart beers – Stone Imperial Russian Stout and Arrogant Bastard Ale. To say that they aren’t meant for the faint hearted is an understatement in itself and they are definitely an acquired taste. Both beers are strong dark ales with a penchant for taking you in for a surprise, which is what we were. These beers aren’t meant for guzzling.
Stone Imperial Russian Stout
This is Stone Brewing Co’s annual release beer, which is created especially for cellaring. The critically acclaimed beer was created by Wagner in 2000 with four malt varieties and Warrior hops. With 10.6% ABV, strong and heavy do not begin to describe the beer, but it has a sneaky tendency to grow on you making yearning for another glass.
Nose: The roasted coffee notes overpower the nose in the beginning, but slowly as you savor the nose opens up to chocolates and hints of spices.
Palate: The special Warrior hops add a robust bitterness which evolves into a roasted coffee with sweet and spice of anise and cinnamon.
Arrogant Bastard Ale
‘You’re not worthy’ says the label. This beer is part of Stone Brewing Co’s Bastard series introduced in 1997, if you study the label further it defines the beer as aggressive. And that is exactly what is. As to whether or not you are worthy of this 7.2% ABV beer or not is for you to decide.
Nose: A caramel and jaggery like sweet notes come across on the nose together with cocoa.
Palate: It is on the palate that the aggressiveness of the beer comes into full force with the hop bitterness which is further amplified by the cocoa notes. Hints of earthy notes surface occasionally but it is the rich bitterness which prevails giving it a long finish.
Unfortunately these beers aren’t available in India, but Stone Brewery Co does export them out to Japan, Australia, UK, Germany and Thailand. If you know anyone returning to India from any of these countries, make it a point that your shopping list includes these fine specimens of Stone Brewery Co’s arrogance.