Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
Like many pursuits and interests, being a fan of craft beer for a long time — especially one who works in the business of craft beer — can lead one to lose their enthusiasm for the hobby. I’ve done my best over the years to focus on learning about and discovering new things, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t weeks where it just seems like nothing exciting is happening.
There are still some beer releases I anticipate like a child on Christmas Eve, however: the first run of Founders Breakfast Stout for the year; anything coming off the boat from LoverBeer; the rare once-per-year delivery of Brooklyn Black Ops. This week is one of those weeks for me, as this week is the yearly release of Stone Double Bastard Ale.
Stone’s legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale is a longtime favorite of mine. In fact, it’s the beer that solidified my love of craft beer and sent me down the long, torrid path toward becoming the beer ‘professional’ I am today. For all that Arrogant Bastard means to me, it’s the once-per-year Double Bastard version that holds a spot in my heart.
Where Arrogant Bastard is unapologetically bitter, albeit with enough malt that you can’t qualify it as ‘just another IPA’, Double Bastard is full-on, over-the-top, unflinching San Diego-style hop worship. First made in 1998 to celebrate Arrogant Bastard’s first anniversary, Double Bastard cranks the ABV up from 7.2% to 11.2% and pours a foreboding red/orange hue.
Double Bastard attacks the palate with a rich mouthfeel from the high ABV and a sweet malt character that is almost Barleywine-like, supporting an intense bitterness that lingers in the finish with resiny notes of grapefruit and melon.
It’s not for everyone, and in the years since its debut we’ve seen hoppier beers hit the market, but I’ll be damned if I don’t find myself smiling every time I hear that a shipment is arriving. I still buy a handful of 22oz bomber bottles as soon as they come off the delivery truck, and crack one open as soon as I get home. It’s a ritual that never seems to get old with me: an affirmation of my enjoyment of what I think is one of the best beers in America.
This is all by way of saying that Double Bastard is hitting the market this week. If you enjoy big crazy hoppy stuff, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. If not — well, there’s a lot of great beer out right now. Ask your local bartender or beer guy about some of the great seasonal releases we’re seeing arrive. The rest of us will be reveling in the hoppy madness. Until next time.
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