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September 16, 2009

Mug Shots: Man behind the Bastard

“Fizzy yellow beer and some of the cheesier contract brews need ad campaigns; the Arrogant Bastard does not.”

 

If you’re a fan of Arrogant Bastard and the many other uncompromising craft beers emanating from Stone Brewing Company, then you’ll want to reserve time Saturday afternoon (Sept. 19) to sample Stone’s locally oriented promotional savvy.

That’s when the brewery’s founder, Greg Koch, is coming to Louisville to hawk his wares, state his case and meet you. He’ll be the special guest at a gala outdoor charity event called “East Coast, West Coast, No Coast,” benefiting Henry’s Ark, all of which is being conceived, staged and hosted by Flanagan’s Ale House (934 Baxter Ave.). There’s a $5 cover.

Morton Street will be closed, and Flanagan’s will feature top-shelf beers from Stone, Dogfish Head and Bluegrass Brewing Company, along with specially prepared and paired food, and music from 5-9 p.m.

Also, immediately before the Flanagan’s fete, Koch will be hanging out at Ray’s Monkey House (1578 Bardstown Road) from 2-3 p.m. It turns out Ray’s owner and mayoral candidate Nimbus Couzin is an old acquaintance of Koch’s, going back to when Couzin brewed professionally in Tucson, Ariz.

I first met Koch in 2007, when he made a similar promotional appearance in New Albany at the Public House. For the occasion, Stone made several rare kegs available for pouring, and we staged a casual meet ’n’ greet with food and giveaways. A large crowd attended, and Koch responded to the adulation admirably, providing autographs and answering questions with the seasoned nonchalance of a rock star.

Here are my Top Five Noteworthy Things About Greg Koch and Stone Brewing Company. It is a list that changes often, because there’s so much to like.

5. In 2006, Greg hired talented big-time brewer Mitch Steele away from Anheuser-Busch. It was a bold statement attesting to the craft brewing business’s rising profile.

4. Stone turns conventional marketing wisdom on its head by informing consumers that they quite likely are unworthy of Arrogant Bastard and should not consider even trying it.

3. Stone’s bomber (22-ounce) bottles are more than just containers. They’re works of art, with intricate graphics and text worth reading. The liquid inside is consistently excellent, too.

2. The most recent year-round Stone release is Levitation Ale, which turns the brewery’s own marketing wisdom on its head by being a “session” ale of 4.4 percent abv and hardly extreme at all, though firmly hopped and delicious.

1. Koch has been certified as an Honorary Riverboat Captain in the city of New Albany. It says so on the plaque awarded him by the city’s mayor during his 2007 visit.

•••

I’m making Greg Koch’s appearance in Louisville the focus, but you can see from the details that there is more to the Flanagan’s party than the man behind the Bastard. Here are the lists:

 

Beer

Bluegrass Brewing Company Big Fella (older, limited quantity version of Jefferson Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout); Bluegrass Brewing Company Queen’s Knickers (aged in brandy barrels)

Dogfish Head Burton Baton; Dogfish Head Chicory Stout; Dogfish Head Indian Brown; Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron; Dogfish Head Punkin Ale; Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre; Dogfish Head Theobroma

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic (Belgian Porter); Stone Cali-Belgique IPA; Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2007; Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2008 (aged in red wine barrels); Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers; Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

 

Food Pairings

Pretzels and beer cheese with Stone IPA or Dogfish 60 Minute IPA

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup with Stone Smoked Porter

Pumpkin Bisque with Spicy Dijon Spiked Pumpkin Seeds and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Spicy Cherry Chutney, with Roasted Potatoes and Haricort Vert, with Stone Old Guardian (aged in red wine barrels)

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Grape Chutney, with Roasted Potatoes and Haricort Vert, with Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre

Stone Vertical Epic Chocolate Cheesecake in an  Arrogant Bastard Caramel “glass,” or with Dogfish Theobroma

Chocolate Cheesecake with Pecan Palo Santo Graham Cracker Crust in a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Caramel “glass”

 

Music

5 p.m. — Daphnie Luster

6 p.m. — Leigh Ann Yost

7 p.m. — Sam Hadfield

8 p.m. — Justin Lewis

9 p.m. — Josh Collins

 

Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany.