Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stone Night: I’m not worthy!

I have often thought some of Stone’s bottle artwork would suit a death metal album cover

Most familiar with the San Diego based Stone brewery know them for their aggressively marketed heavily hopped bold West Coast style American ales. I myself first encountered Stone beers a few years back on holiday in California and enjoyed many of there offerings including the accurately named 'Arrogant Bastard Ale'. Anyhow, after obtaining a few bottles from the Internet, I decided to have a special night dedicated to stone and consume the three bottles I had. I even wore my 'Arrogant Bastard Ale, Your not worthy' t-shirt for the occasion. It was almost like being back in California... Except for the overcast weather, Co-op over the road, smaller cars and the fact I was actually in the humble Northumberland town of Alnwick. In fact earlier that day down Alnwick Market a bloke at a stall questioned if there really was a beer called Arrogant Bastard Ale? I told him it was in from California, I mean it wouldn't be British would it, the nanny state wouldn't allow such things, and at 7.2% alcohol! My god, this could spark a binge drinking epidemic! Anyhow, I digress.

Anyway, as many of you may know, Stone brewery is owned by Greg Koch, if your not familiar Greg, the coolest guy in beer, well... Your probably not real beer geek. He was also the bloke behind this video and is on my list of most wanted head brewer/brewery owner autographs. 

It’s like he’s handing me the first beer

Ruination IPA.

So, first up was the Ruination IPA. As the label clearly states, this is 100+ IBU beer. In short this means the technique of total un-relentless brutal hopping has been used to obtain the extraction of as many bitter hop soft resins as possible from the hops in to the finished beer. Pretty hardcore, and the first time I tried this beer back in California, I remember being totally slightly overwhelmed by the vicious assault of concentrated resinous citrus hops. After the first half pint it got better and I gave it the benifit of the doubt. It was only near the end of the glass I actually started thinking this beer was actually good. This time I was bracing myself.

Ruination IPA, 7.7% and over 100 IBU. Don't mess.

But this time the shock and awe didn't have the same effect. Was it because I was ready for it? Was it because I'm a more experienced beer drinker now? Or was it because the bottle was only just out of date (hop bitterness fades over time) and had travelled half way across the globe? Ether way, it still tasted like the unstoppable avalanche of fortified hops I remember and this time I actually liked it more. Hop heads love this kind of beer, and I can see why. If your craving the hops, and want a testosterone driven sledge hammer to the face attack of bitterness units coming at ya from the glass then this beer is defiantly recommended. I personally prefer Stone's standard IPA better.

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.
Next up, Oaked Arrogant Bastard ale. Basically, after clearly remembering the awesomeness of Arrogant Bastard Ale, I decided to get hold of an Oaked version. Apparently Arrogant Bastard Ale was apparently invented by an accidental over hopping of a developing pale ale. It was going to be scrapped but Greg loved it so much developed it further. I'm not sure where the name comes from exactly. The beer itself (the oaked version in this case) drinks a bit more mellow than the original. Rich amber in color opening on the palate with kind of oak smoked complexity layered over (and taming slightly) the familiar citric hop resin flourish and bulked out bready fruity malt. This intense, slightly rich brew finishes with signature lingering hop resins. Thumbs up for this one, almost as good as the original but that would depend what mood I was in.

Sublimely Self Righteous Ale.

Sublimely self righteous ale, at 8.7% gave the impression of being the breweries kind of 'tribute to everything we do' brew (reading the long passage on the back). Believe me this one is good. Probably the best Stone beer I have tried with exception to Old Guardian Barley Wine maybe. It pours an almost black/very deep mahogany amber with that signature Stone aroma... Hops, lots of hops... American hops, over some dark fruit notes. Flavor wise its pretty interesting. Like a rich fruity, fruitcake like bready malt base (think Heavy Scotch ales) with US hops basting right through it. Sort of contrasting yet balancing the malt sweetness. A little different and intriguing, with various dimensions to it, but intensity and balance make this awesome to drink. A good one to finish the night on.

So. Some might think this was a bit light weight only having 3 beers, but (considering the high abv's) for me it was enough. It’s rarely beneficial to drink copious amounts of these kinds of beers, you won’t last long. In fact I once remember Greg himself clearly challenge drinkers to drink less beer. Does that make sense? It was one of Greg's tangents on the back of an Old Guardian barley wine bottle. A good theory that I agree with. Drink for quality, not volume. A little a lot, a lot a little.   


Ed said...

I had a bottled of ruination recently. I liked it but the lovely Lisa went 'urgh' when she tried it, though she did concede that it wasn't the most disgusting beer she'd drunk.

stonegreg said...

Thanks for the good word! Glad you enjoyed our beers. Just imagine what it would be like to be able to enjoy those beers fresh. Maybe it'll happen...

I'll be in Aberdeen for a Stone beer dinner on Sept. 10 at Musa. Join if you're's just a short drive, no?



Rob said...

Thanks Greg. Am very humbled. Aberdeen is a fair distance, but the date is a good one so I could see you there.

Anonymous said...

Exceptional post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

Look into my website; Mario Lemieux Authentic Jersey

Anonymous said...

hello!,I really like your writing very much!
percentage we be in contact more about your post on AOL?
I require an expert on this area to solve my problem.
May be that's you! Having a look ahead to see you.

Feel free to surf to my site: Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to return
yet again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may
you be rich and continue to help others.

Here is my weblog ::

Anonymous said...

This is my first time visit at here and i am in fact pleassant to read all at single place.

Also visit my web-site; Louis Vuitton Purses

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you're getting your information, but great topic.
I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

Visit my blog post ... Chaussures de football pas cher

Anonymous said...

Truly when someone doesn't understand then its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it takes place.

Here is my webpage: Air Max One

Anonymous said...

Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some
help from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up
your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I'm thinking about setting up my own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

Also visit my page; Find Out More

Anonymous said...

If some one desires to be updated with hottest technologies afterward he must be visit this website and be up to date daily.

Also visit my blog post; Cheap NFL Jerseys

Anonymous said...

Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of
the images aren't loading properly. I'm not sure why but I think its
a linking issue. I've tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

Feel free to surf to my page: Boutique Air Max