Monday, May 6, 2013


Hate to be such a Gloomy Gus two out of the last three posts, but I just try and call 'em like I taste 'em. That's what brings you to the 'Samizdat, according to my polling data. Well, I've been on a hunt for the world's best imperial red ale. I've had so many amazing ones since this style started to crystallize. The way it usually works is I see a bottle that says "imperial red" on it, or some writing on a bar chalkboard that says "imperial red", and I buy it or order it, regardless of brewer. I decided to be a little more scientific in my approach.

This past Great American Beer Festival, the gold medal winner for Imperial Red was EPIC BREWING's "IMPERIAL RED" - or so I thought. Get this, I went outta my way to hunt down this beer, ordering it by mail from Pearl Specialty is Oregon, only to A.) Find out that, contrary to my misinformation, it neither won, placed nor showed at the GABF; and B.) It's stunningly mediocre. Look, maybe it's not a surprise, now that I realize it didn't actually bring home any hardware. Where I did I get this phony info? What a dope.

Anyway, let's take a look here. It's not a sweet, malty ale – in fact malting is low, and hops are exceptionally high. The taste is on the edge of medicinal, and it's a real biter. 7.1% ABV, about right for the style. Surprisingly – no wait, it's not a surprise – it's just not very special at all, certainly not like Black Diamond's "Fracas Red" or Oskar Blues' "G'Knight" or Clown Shoes/Three Heads' "Third Party Candidate". My next order of business is to order the imperial reds that actually won the GABF, and to try and bring my "A" game next time I drop money for beer on the internet. 6/10.

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