08 March 2010

KOTBR #99 - Stone Arrogant Bastard at Imbibe

I don't want to make too many assumptions about craft beer lovers, but I'm pretty sure that most of us like to drink beer in an atmosphere that promotes the enjoyment of the beer. Speaking for myself, I prefer a non-smoking establishment over a smoking establishment, a mellow vibe over a raucous vibe, an unpretentious clientele over an exclusive clientele, and a bartender who is not only a pleasure to be around, but who knows the beer menu intimately.

One of Fountain Square's newest bars, Imbibe (1105 Shelby Street, 317.685.1959), fits these criteria perfectly. Nestled in the lobby of the Fountain Square Theatre Building, Imbibe is an intimate place, seating 25 to 30 patrons at most. The decor is a mix of art deco and modern, with a smattering of high tables, a few easy chairs, and the bar itself. Possessing a food menu focused on tapas-style snacks, Imbibe is the sort of place where you might kick off a night on the town with a date. This is exactly what Annie and I did on New Years Eve, and we didn't regret it. Far from it.

I haven't even mentioned Imbibe's drink menu yet. This menu and Imbibe's barkeep, Brian Jones, are the bar's strongest ingredients. So to the drink menu first. Imbibe is among the Indy establishments that does cocktails well. To say that the cocktails are artisanal wouldn't be too far off. Though I haven't had all the cocktails on the menu, I can tell you that Imbibe's vodka martini and cosmopolitan are well worth having.

In addition, the beer menu has a number of high-quality selections. Two of Imbibe's three taps were pouring Bell's Hopslam and Stone Arrogant Bastard when we visited. There is also a bottle menu that includes craft beer offerings, including Left Hand and Bell's. And then there's Brian, who the KOTBR have known since our first anniversary party. Hospitable, knowledgeable, and funny, Brian is one of those bartenders who makes it difficult to go home.

For our latest roundtable, we visited by Imbibe to review Stone Arrogant Bastard (American Strong Ale, 7.2% ABV, IBUs "classified" according to Stone). Though we did nine-word reviews not too long ago, they seem appropriate once again for Roundtable #99.

Jim: Burnt amber color. Smokey pineapple nose. Dry, lively finish. 4.25 Mugs

Rod: Strong Ale Lite or Hoppy Scottish Ale? Perhaps both. 3.80 Mugs

Jess: Your name delights us. Hoppy Scottish ale - I like! 4.00 Mugs

Gina: Presumptuous, haughty, imperious, brazen. You probably won't like it. 3.45 Mugs

Mike: I can name at least eight more arrogant bastards. 3.25 Mugs

Stone Arrogant Bastard
Jim: 4.25 Mugs | Rod: 3.80 Mugs | Jess: 4.00 Mugs | Gina: 3.45 Mugs | Mike: 3.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.75 Mugs


  1. My favorite drink used to be the Sidecar at Morton's until Brian showed us how a real Sidecar is made. He is one of the best bartenders around, hands down! The man is very knowledgeable about the classic cocktails and even more importantly knows how to serve them up better than anybody else I have ever come across. If you are planning on spending the evening in Fountain Square, Imbibe is an essential stop.

  2. agreed 100% We love Brian!