I’d had Stone Brewery’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale before, but not in some time. A strange reunion with the bottle sporting the image of the stone protector, I noticed that there was barely any head to the beer, and on the first few gulps, barely any fizz or carbonation. This is good. Not all beers need lots of carbonation. If you did’t know, carbonation can mask flavors in a beer. So, if there are subtle oaky tones, as there are in this bastard, too much carbonation will mask them.

I chose to drink the beer at room temperature, which is another trick to bring out flavors in beer. Don’t do this with PBR or that wretched rice beer, Budweiser, they’ll taste terrible and won’t go down fast enough. They sell those beers cold for a reason. However, PBR is perfectly fine when cold, and I consider that a solid standby.

The Bastard is aged in American oak chips, and hosts similar tastes to chardonnays that are especially oaked. Personally, I have no taste buds in my mouth that like chardonnay, but the beer is different and just delicious. I’d imagine that if I had whiskey around, or perhaps Scotch, it would go quite well with this beer. At 7.2% abv (Alcohol by Volume), the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale is a hard-not-to-gulp slow-sipper. The damn drink goes down too easily as if it were a 3.0% abv or 4.0% abv English session ale (Session ales are beers meant to drink in frequency without getting drunk and stupid).

The Bastard costs above $10 for a 6-pack, usually around $12, or roughly $2.59 if you find a store that will sell it by the bottle.

Availability? Hard to say. It should be easy enough to order since Stone beers became available nearly a year and a half ago in Connecticut. However, it’s an alternate brew of Stone’s most popular beer, the Arrogant Bastard (unoaked), so it may be a challenge to find.

I give it a 7 out of 10, which may surprise anyone whose had the beer and thinks I should rate it higher, but I think the high amount of alcohol makes the beer hard to enjoy in great quantity, simply because you’d get quick-bombed without much effort. The beer is just that damn smooth. The oak is delicious, and keeps reminding me of bourbon and Scotch-Whisky, which any decent human being or beer drinker should also like. Enjoy, and imbibe good beer whenever possible.

-Joshua L Durkin

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