I never get to name anything. My wife picked Cindy Lou Who for the cat (perfect name, perfect cat, no complaints), and some editor or another overruled my attempt to call this column Drinkspin instead of Drunkspin. I lobbied for the more dignified approach, but whoever runs this show knew they could keep me indentured forever by sneaking the word "drunk" into the top line of my resume, so here I am, going through the recycling bin every morning trying to find a different beer to write about.
As noted last week, sometimes breweries will help out by sending me a box of beer (and, once, cheese!), which Stone did recently. That was big of them, given that the last two stories I've written about Stone have featured the words "bullshit" and "obnoxious" in the headlines. But in the middle of both rants, I did admit that Stone generally makes very good beer, so someone from the marketing department asked if I'd like to be on the freebie mailing list.
I graciously accepted, and they sent Chocolate Orange Smoked Porter (pretty good, but maybe a bit too roasted and smoked, as the chocolate and orange were both surprisingly subdued); Double Bastard (I don't really remember, having split it with friends when I was already a bit palate fatigued, as they say); and the beer I'm going to alternately mock and praise down below, the 2014 rendition of Lukcy Basartd (sic).
Again, I have never named anything. I know I should get a kid or a boat or a band or something and see how easy it is, smart guy, before I criticize Stone's naming conventions. But goddamn it, Stone, why couldn't you just call this Lucky Bastard, spelled correctly? Why did you have to go with the asinine inverted-letter gimmick?
Wait, now I get it. They're mocking dyslexics, aren't they? Classy move, Stone. I hereby request that in lieu of my next bribe, you make a donation in Drunkspin's name to the International Dyslexia Association. I've been sympathetic to this developmental challenge since kindergarten, when my idiot teacher thought I was dyslexic because I got everything all backward when she tried to make me write with my right hand. She sent a note home to my parents, who then explained dyslexia to me and left-handedness to her. Don't make fun of people with learning challenges, Stone.
So, the beer. Lukcy Basartd is a blend of three other Bastards: Arrogant, Double, and Oaked Arrogant, making it a thrice-bastardized Bastard and raising the possibility that it's an over-ambitious stunt that falls flat, allowing me to finally make fun of one of their actual beers along with their names.
But wouldn't you know, Lukcy is greater than the sum of its parts. It's my favorite Bastard, and rivals Enjoy By and Cali-Belgique as my favorite Stones. (We're far enough down the page now to slip in the admission that Stone's a Top 25 brewery, regardless of corporate culture and marketing shtick; being one of my favorite Stone beers is very much akin to being one of my favorite beers, period.)
Lukcy pours a deep reddish-brown. The first aromas to hit are strong caramel malt and a moderate amount of vanilla, but then tons of grapefruit and orange come in, along with just enough pineapple to make things interesting. The fruit takes over as you drink, with the caramel malt sticking around in the background but the vanilla (from the portion of Oaked Bastard) pretty much fading away before a strong pine element emerges on the long, gradually drying finish.
Lukcy is dry-hopped, a technique that calls for adding hops at the end of fermentation to impart aroma rather than bitterness. They don't say what hops are used, and I will never, ever risk guessing in public, but I will venture that the dry-hopping is responsible for the tropical note that distinguishes this from the other, slightly darker and maltier Bastards.
While I'm deeply offended by the name (because that's my role around here), I must once again concede that Stone makes great beer, and Lukcy Basartd is one of their finest yet.
This is Drunkspin Daily, the Concourse's adequate source for booze news, reviews, and bullshit. We'll be highlighting a beer a day in this space; please leave suggestions below.
Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.
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