A long, lost cousin walks into a bar…

My dad’s same-age first cousin, once removed walked in yesterday. I’ve heard her name from time to time, and am told that when I was but a young buck, I actually saw her once. But, Bonnie’s living in California means this is one relative I really don’t know.

Funny how beer melts time away. She identified herself, and I was happy to see/meet her, because I knew that she had been buddies with my old man. And then she says, “I brought you a present.” I’m thinking Disneyland keychain, but from out of her bag leaps two bottles from Stone Brewing Company.

“You’ve been reading online, haven’t you?” She’s done her research and knows I like beer. I make her a margarita and set my paperwork aside, and we have a very good conversation, our very first seeming like one of many over the years. I learn historical tidbits about my family, and am so pleased that she has tracked me down.

When I got home, I quickly rummaged for my Stone Arrogant Bastard glass, the most appropriate vessel I own from which to drink the Stone Smoked Porter I was so eager to try. With Stone’s reputation and attitude toward aggressive beers, I expected a bit of a punch in the face, but was surprised that this was a plain-and-simple good and balanced beer. I’ve never been into one-dimensional beers or breweries (or people), and so this beer proves to me that Stone is much more than a bottled hop attack.

It poured a deep, rich mahogany with a fluffy tan head. A full-bodied and creamy mouthfeel played host to choco-coffee notes and a well-placed peaty smoke. So delicious and drinkable that my wife kept stealing from me.

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