Arrogant Bastard is a top-notch craft beer classic from Stone Brewing that I’ve avoiding reviewing, and for that matter drinking, solely based on how passionately I hate the name. Yes, I know it’s tongue in cheek and all in good fun, but it still makes me cringe. That said, it gets a 98 on BeerAdvocate from the brothers, and a 99 on RateBeer, so I really can’t ignore it any longer. It’s classified as an American Strong Ale, which in this incarnation means it’s a big, heavy, hop-bomb. The nose is actually pretty light, lighter than I expected for sure, primarily grassy with a bit of pine and some lemon. The middle is bitter, with dark roasted coffee, pine pitch, and grapefruit rind the major notes. The malt brings a bit of caramel sweetness towards the finish along with a bit of booze and more lemon. It’s got a fairly heavy body and lingers on the tongue for a bit. As a strong ale, I can envision it being more balanced, but that clearly wasn’t what they were going for here, and it’s without doubt exceptionally artfully crafted and executed. If you don’t enjoy hoppy, bitter beer this is certainly not the brew for you, but if do you enjoy the big west-coast hop bombs, this is an wonderful example of the pinnacle of the style and craft.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.