Well hey howdy, Cal Poly. Welcome one and all to the fifth installment of “Beer Me!” Today is a very special edition, in which I will be tasting several different beers and conveying my experience, through writing, to you! I know — I can’t wait either!
Well, while drinking, we all have some things we like to do. Some of us like to eat, some of us like to have a cigarette, some of us like to dance on coffee tables until they break. But sometimes, and I mean pretty rarely, I just want to get Stone! That’s right, sometimes when I want a great drinking experience, I go out and get a selection of beers from Stone Brewery, located in Escondido, CA. Tonight I had such an experience. I have gathered together Stone’s Smoked Porter, IPA and of course, the Arrogant Bastard Ale.
For those of you familiar with the Stone line of beers, you may be wondering why I didn’t add Stone’s 10.5 percent ABV Double Bastard Ale to my tasting set. Quite simply, I thought it might inhibit the completion of my none-too-small homework. My wallet would also have been slightly less happy.
On that note, we’re off!
I shall start with the Stone Smoked Porter. This flavorful beer is quite tasty, if not all that unique. It has the typical coffee-chocolate-smoky flavor of your standard porter.
Although the name foreshadows its smoky aftertaste, this aspect is not too overpowering throughout the beverage. The aroma is of both smoke and coffee, while the coffee flavor takes over the first sip.
A light chocolate flavor then makes its appearance, leaving a sweet sensation as the porter is swallowed. The Smoked Porter’s 53 International Bitterness Units (IBUs) is balanced out by the mixture of flavors from the smoked and chocolate malts.
If you’re a fan of the porter, this is definitely one I would run out and get for your next beer night, though if you breathe on a friend afterward, he or she may ask if you recently got back from a camp fire.
If you try the Stone Smoked Porter and this is not your style of beer, then by all means wash it down with our next sample: Stone IPA. I’m sorry but I’m going to spoil the ending — I’m a big fan, which really made getting Stone a great experience.
To start off, the IPA has a nice, sweet aroma that contrasts the smoked coffee nose of the Smoked Porter. After this, the flavor is none too surprising.
Both floral and sweet, this IPA is hoppy, bitter and delicious. According to Stone’s Web site, they went above and beyond the call of duty to make this an ultra-hopped beer. With a reported 77 IBUs, there is a tasty amount of hop-induced bitterness to go with it. Pouring a golden-amber with a thick, white head, this beer looks as good as it tastes.
If you’re looking to get into the IPAs, go with this one. It may seem bitter at first, but take a few drinks to accustom your pallet to it and then pay attention to the floral aroma and hoppiness — you are sure to enjoy it.
And now, I would like to introduce: Arrogant Bastard Ale. With both its hop variety and IBU rating “Classified,” the Arrogant Bastard Ale begins to live up to its name before one even drinks it.
By this point in my tasting and reporting, my nose has become stuffed up and I cannot seem to get a good feel for the aroma. I can describe it only as hoppy. As you might imagine, there is quite a significant bitter flavor to go with this hoppiness when the Arrogant Bastard is tasted. This should be expected with an ale of 7.2 percent alcohol per volume.
It also seems that there’s a slight smokiness mixed in with the flavor. As with the IPA, there’s a floral flavor and aroma (as my nose begins to clear), though it is less prominent.
I cannot help but to think that this beer would go great with a nice slice of pizza. Next time you order a pizza from one of the nearly two-dozen pizza places in and around San Luis Obispo, don’t think it is unwise to go grab an Arrogant Bastard Ale to go with it. While I would enjoy the IPA more as a stand-alone beer, this ale’s flavor would not be overpowered by that of a pizza sauce, and depending on the sweetness of the sauce, would definitely compliment it.
If you do go out and try a few of Stone’s solid collection of beers and enjoy the experience, then do I have some good news for you. Stone Brewery will be having their own personal beer fest April 18. They have 70 kegs as of right now and expect more to come by the time of the event. Dubbed the Stone Oakquinox, it will feature “dozens of barrel-aged and wood-infused beers.” Sounds good to me. Of course, this could simply offer an excuse to visit North County San Diego in the spring, which wouldn’t be too bad either.
To conclude this column, I will simply say that I did thoroughly enjoy this exbeerience. The porter, while not entirely unique, was well-balanced and tasty. The IPA was floral, bitter and delicious. The Arrogant Bastard Ale … well, it was slightly complex and packed quite a punch, but next time I order some pizza, I think I’ll have one at my side.
Before I leave you to once again pay attention in class, I would like to end this particular article with a request. Whether you’re out getting Stone, or you’re out doing something slightly less legal that would add another consonant to the brewery’s name, please do so responsibly.
To say that the life of another is in your hands is not an attempt to make you feel powerful. It is an attempt to make you realize the fragility of life. Without a conscious thought, you could decide to drive intoxicated and take the life of another. If you hit a kid crossing the street, that child has parents, grandparents and likely siblings and cousins. If you hit an adult driving by you, that person may have a spouse and children of their own. In fact, they are somebody’s child, too.
Stay smart and stay safe out there, Cal Poly. Intoxicate yourself responsibly.