Beer Guzzler-June 16, 2004 

Stone Brewing

There's something Stone Brewing wants you to know--you're not worthy. They contend that their brews are either too sophisticated for your pedestrian palate, or so fine that they will ruin you for anything else. Tongue placed firmly in cheek, their back label diatribes alone are worth the price of the bottle.

So, with product names like Ruination IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale, is Stone Brewing nothing more than a product of clever marketing? Absolutely not! These brews are the real deal, with a taste that will keep you coming back for more, until the witty labels become as familiar as your favorite Seinfeld episode.

The Arrogant Bastard Ales is smooth and silky, with a creamy texture that caresses your tongue and slides gently down your throat. Chocolate malt flavors play against the just bitter hops, with an appealingly light sour mash quality on the finish. And while they insist that the average person will be too dull to appreciate it, I suspect most beer lovers will find this Bastard easy to like. Drinks like a cask-conditioned ale.

Pushing past 100 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), I expected Stone's Riunation IPA to peel the taste buds off my tongue. But while the hop attack is fairly aggressive, it's balanced by sweet citrus and soft malt. The overall effect is completely refreshing, making this ale the perfect summer quaffer.

And while I usually pass on smoked beers, their Smoked Porter won me over. Dark mahogany in color with a creamy tan head, it feels like a nitrogen charged brew in the mouth. Flavors of mocha and coffee dominate, with subtle hints of peat-laced smoke. The lingering impression is one of impeccable balance.

This San Diego area brewery has developed quite a reputation and something of a cult following. All three brews now available in Boise come packaged in a 22-ounce bottle priced under four dollars. Look for an Imperial Stout later this summer, but in the meantime, be thankful that we are finally worthy.

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