The Facebook message from Freakin' Frog bartender Jack Belden was short, but sweet: "Lucky Bastard now on tap recommend you come by for a taste." (That's right, I've been to the Frog so many times, I'm now Facebook friends with Jack. I'm proud to say I was one of the first people he sent a friend request to.)
For those as yet unaware, I'm a Stone fanatic. I've sampled just about everything they have to offer, and I always look forward to their next (hoppy) experiment. The line of Bastards has been particularly impressive -- Arrogant Bastard, their signature line, is always in my fridge; Double Bastard I had the great luck to try both at the Frog and at the Brew's Best beer festival at Lake Las Vegas earlier this year. But Lucky Bastard? I'd never heard of it. To paraphrase the Dude himself, that could not stand.
While pouring me my first glass, Jack explained that this particular Bastard was a blend of Stone's other Bastard products. Sounded just fine to me. As I admired the dark amber color issuing forth from the tap, I prayed to the beer gods that Stone would never stop tinkering, would always be looking over the next hill, would never be content to settle for things as they are.
The first thing I noticed with Lucky Bastard was the sweetness, which had me nodding in approval with each single sip. As a slight hoppiness creeped up afterward, I kept thinking how this beer reminded me of something else I'd recently had. Turns out I wasn't alone.
"That's the closest you're going to get to Rogue Charlie," Jack said, beaming. I realized he'd nailed it exactly. Rogue Charlie was, and remains, the best beer I have ever tasted, and while I unfortunately did not have a glass of Charlie to compare it to (if you can find the rare Charlie, jump on it), the memory of that experience kept returning with every sip of the Lucky Bastard.
Do yourself a favor and get to the Frog sooner than later. This won't last long, and Stone is likely onto the next project as we speak.