Zymurgy magazine recently revealed the “Best Beers in America,” a list derived from more than 28,000 votes from readers around the world. While Russian River’s Pliny the Elder imperial IPA topped the list for the third year in a row, Stone Brewing, of Escondido, California placed three of their brewtally named beers—Arrogant Bastard, Ruination and Sublimely Self Righteous—in the top 15. This strong showing prompted one of our Twitter followers (@TeamIRISH666er) to note that, “if they were a band, they would be Slayer.”
We can’t disagree with this assessment because, like Slayer, Stone’s beers aren’t for the meek. Like many of their San Diego-area brethren (Ballast Point, Port, Green Flash, Alesmith, etc.), they aren’t cheap with the hops in any of their brews. And there’s a reason for this: the water in that area is perfectly suited for, according to Tomme Arthur, director of brewery operation at Port and The Lost Abbey, “anything that has a hop emphasis to it and IPA styles in particular.”
So Stone created a solid lineup of beers, all sporting a distinctly demonic—dare we say, satanic—beasty on the label that are gloriously well-hopped and best described as “aggressive.” Just as Slayer’s iconic album covers warn the uninformed quite explicitly that the contents herein will likely be brutal, so too does the devilish winged fellow on Stone’s bottles provide ample warning to all ye who enter. Don’t like hops? Don’t bother.
The mainstream appeal of their beers is limited, but that’s OK, because the people who love Stone’s beer are diehards. Sound familiar?