Monday, November 30, 2015


I don't know if you've been sitting around mourning it the way I have, but it seems to me that the "imperial red" style has sorta gone the way of the dodo this past year. Everyone wants to make a saison or "wild up" their beers in 2015, and that's totally all right by me - but whither the malt/hop taste explosion of the now-disappearing imperial red ale? I have been flyin' the flag for these every since my first Lagunitas Imperial Red or Green Flash Hop Head Red some years back, and it seemed like around 2010 just about everyone was futzing around with some high-ABV, hopped-up red ale. Maybe that's the problem - too much futzing, not enough selling. I've certainly yet to come across another "beer writer" willing to gobble these up without care for the brewer the way I am.

So then I trip over my shoelaces at the beer store and find myself face to face w/ this lovely "TOASTER PASTRY" tall boy can, made by our pals down the proverbial street, 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY. It's been two and a half years since I last checked in with them, as this February 2013 post attests. They've been plotting this 7.6% imperial red in the intervening years, and here it is, a stovepipe can pint of toasted, biscuity malt ale that's bready where it should be and pleasantly hopped to boot. It's a warm brownish red that says autumn full fucking stop. Maybe a little sweeter than it is malty, which takes at least a full point off, and I'd hesitate to call it "imperial" given how quote-unquote sessionable it tastes. But I liked it just fine. I'd welcome a hearty return in 2016 to more experimentation with red ales, as it seems I'll never make it to Denver again to break bread with these fellas. Who wants to let me know in the comments if there are any other imperial red winners out there right now? 7.5/10.


Nat said...

I agree! Not enough decent red ales. Too many mediocre saisons, session IPAs, and Pale Ales that are just IPAs with an abv between session IPAs and regular IPAs. AleSmith has re-packaged its Winter Yulesmith as Double Red IPA - and it is better than good.

Jay H. said...

Excellent news, Nat. I'm never really sure WHAT is in those Yulesmiths but I'll be on the lookout for that one.