Wednesday, July 17, 2013


In May I wrote about "the epic imperial red that wasn't", and recounted my story of having ordered multiple bottles of EPIC BREWING's Imperial Red Ale because I'd mistakenly thought it took the Gold at this year's Great American Beer Festival. Loving my malty, hoppy, sugary, caramel-coated imperial reds as I do, I reckoned that I may as well try "the best" and add it to my check-the-box tour through every single goddamn beer on the market. Turned out I was a chump, and ordered this one instead of LAURELWOOD BREWING CO's "Deranger" (or, "Organic Deranger Imperial Red Ale"), which actually won the thing. Today, that wrong has been righted, and I'd like to report to you now on the real winner of this year's imperial red bake-off in Denver.

"DERANGER" is not quite the smoker I'd dreamed about, thrashing and screaming with joy in my bed at 3am, but hey - it's really, really good. It's well-done across the board, and a bit unique for the "style", such that it is. It's sugary-sweet, and thankfully not in a cloying way. Everything falls together really well – malts, light caramel, hops and sugars. It's definitely more of a malter than a hopper, I guess you'd say. There are layers here that a sophisticated tongue can probably pick out – hop varietals, malt types and yeast strains. It all blends so well, that my unsophisticated tongue spat out an 8/10, and called it a real good 'un.

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