The folks at Stone Brewing Co. have been filling mugs and fueling toasts in the Southern California area for 12 years now, and their hand-crafted beers are finally popping up on Des Moines taps. There are plenty of reasons to be excited: Stone was named one of the world’s top 10 brewers by CNN Money, it boasts nine year-round releases, and it’s the 11th biggest craft brewery in the U.S.
Something special must be cooking at Stone’s 55,000-square-foot brewery. So we stopped by The Keg Stand in West Des Moines — which put Stone ales on tap in early October — for a quick taste test.
The scene: Tucked away near Valley West Mall, The Keg Stand is your classic pints-and-pigskin sports bar. And thanks to the huge amount of seating and the friendly staff, it’s a perfect place to catch a football game with friends.
The best part is, it’s got beers to appease even picky palates. Right now that includes three year-round selections from Stone: The Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, the Stone Levitation Ale and the Stone Smoked Porter.
“Stone has been really popular lately,” said bartender Tina Lothi, who was working the Sunday-night-football shift. “A bunch of people showed up for the (Oct. 4) launch event.”
Lothi hinted that The Keg Stand might be carrying seasonal releases in the future, but this time around we bellied up to the bar for an Oaked Arrogant Bastard.
How it’s served: This beer doesn’t want to be coddled.
When Lothi brought out the pint, it looked thick and filling, like a Guinness at the end of a drawn-out summer day. The color is a burnt caramel with flares of autumn orange, topped with about two fingers worth of foggy white foam.
The beer: If you’re looking for a familiar taste, don’t mess with the Arrogant Bastard.
This smug brew is full-bodied with a hoppy punch that’s sure to leave some tasters floored.
Think you’re complacent enough to handle it? Then brace for a robust mix of bitter undertones, intense earthy malts, and a satisfying grapefruit kick. It all comes together for a surprisingly smooth pick-me-up.
The Oaked Arrogant Bastard is a beer to gulp down in preparation for a dry, lingering Iowa winter. Grab one while there’s still a November crispness to the air.
Try it: The Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, $4 for a pint at The Keg Stand, 3530 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines.