Boston’s Bistro’s quest to regain Most Arrogant Bar title
By Kevin J. Gray
Are you arrogant? Think you can drink a beer more arrogant than yourself? If so, get to Boston’s Bistro & Pub from Nov. 9-17 to do your part to make the bar the Most Arrogant Bar in the United States.
Arrogant Bastard is an assertively hopped India Pale Ale made by Stone Brewery. The California brewery prides itself on making beers that challenge drinkers. The beer is bitter, made from excessive amounts of hops, and the back of the label offers this warning:
“This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory–maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beverage will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make things taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.”
For about a decade, Stone has promoted the beer, along with its cousins – Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard and Lukcy Basartd (misspelling intentional) – by holding the Most Arrogant Bar challenge. Pubs compete by selling the most pints of Arrogant Bastard over the course of a little over a week. And not once, but twice, the title of Most Arrogant Bar in America has gone to Boston’s Bistro & Pub.
It’s fitting that Boston’s would hold this honor. Long time Daytonians may recall that Boston’s was once located downtown. The bar moved to its current location in 2004. The renovations to the new location took about six months longer than expected, but when Dave Boston, Boston’s owner, was back online, the first beer he served was Arrogant Bastard. So the beer holds a special connection with the bar.
The beer sold well in the new location, and two years later, Boston was encouraged to enter the Most Arrogant Bar challenge. In 2003, the title had gone to another Ohio bar before moving back to California for two years. Dave Boston was hell bent on bringing the title to Dayton and proving that Ohio was once again home to the Most Arrogant drinkers.
Boston’s offered special pricing, serving only beers from the Arrogant Bastard line-up that week. Beer prices were rock bottom, with bartenders filling pints, growlers and even corny kegs (5-gallon soda kegs that homebrewers use to keg their beers). The hard work paid off. Boston’s not only won, they blew everyone else out of the water. The north Dayton bar flew through the equivalent of 18 half-barrel kegs that week of Arrogant beers. Compare this to a normal week, when the bar moves about 10 half-barrels, and you can see what an accomplishment that was.
The win drew attention from Stone. At the time, Mark Zimmerman was a bartender at Boston’s. He had helped Dave Boston with the renovation years earlier. Zimmerman was a Stone devotee, and had applied for a regional sales rep job with the brewery. He didn’t get the job, but when Greg Koch, founder of Stone, heard about Boston’s big win, he flew out to meet the guys who made it happen. Koch took to Zimmerman and offered him a job with the brewery. Two weeks later, Zimmerman packed up and moved to California, where he now helps with promotional events.
In 2007, Boston’s tried to replicate its success. The bar put up a hard fight, moving pint after pint, but that year, the title went elsewhere. The Dayton bar was close, however. Dave Boston found out later that he lost by fewer than a dozen pints. Rumor has it that someone at the winning bar put away 56 pints by himself over the course of the week!
So close to victory again, Boston pushed harder the next year. His bar moved 23 half barrels in 2008, setting a record for Arrogant Bastard sales at that time. The surge worked and Dayton took home the title for a second time.
With its 2008 win, Boston’s set the bar high. Bars around the country responded, pushing more and more Arrogant Bastard Ale. While Boston’s has won the Most Bitter Bar challenge twice (another Stone challenge, this time to sell the most IPAs – Boston’s took home the Most Bitter award for Ohio in 2011 and Most Bitter bar in Dayton this year), since 2008, the Most Arrogant Bar title has eluded Dayton, finding itself often in North Carolina. This year, Dave Boston hopes to bring it back to the state.
Figures for the winning bars are not publically released, but Boston believes the winning figure still hits near his 2008 high water mark. His plan for this year is to push 26 half barrels. This year, look for low beer prices ($3 pints, $7 half-gallon growler fills, and $75 corny kegs), and Arrogant Bastard food offerings (including Arrogant hotdogs, chili and Hungarian goulash). Participants can also sign up for the Arrogant passport program. Go to Boston’s every day of the competition, get your passport stamped and at the end of the competition, receive your Arrogant diploma. Passport holders will also be invited to the exclusive Arrogant party, held when Stone announces the competition winners.
Boston’s Bistro and Pub, 7500 N. Main St., will participate in Stone’s Most Arrogant Bar competition from midnight Thursday, Nov. 9 through close of business on Saturday, Nov. 17. Look for more info, as well as notes about special food and beer releases on Boston’s facebook site: www.facebook.com/BostonsBistroandPub.
Reach DCP freelance writer Kevin J. Gray at KevinGray@daytoncitypaper.com