Tuesday, May 3, 2011

CT Column 27/04/2011: Fit for an Empress

WITH winter on its way it’s now the season when many brewers start to release their big rich winter seasonal brews.
It’s now an understood convention that the biggest most intense example of a beer style gets labelled ‘imperial’. The term comes from the strong intensely roasty and hoppy stouts that were exported from the UK to the Russian empire in the 18th century. The myth goes that Catherine the II of Imperial Russia took such a liking to these strong export stouts that she imported them for consumption in her royal court and accordingly they became know as Imperial Stouts. Whatever the truth it makes for a good story.
Right now we have two locally produced beers that broadly sit in the Imperial stout family. Out as a very limited tap only release from Taranaki’s mike’s (small m) brewery we have Imperial Porter. Clocking in at 8%abv mike’s Imperial Porter is the base beer that goes into whiskey barrels to make mike’s Whiskey Porter. With a complex aroma of milk chocolate, toasty malt and a hint of savoury meatiness and a smooth rich rounded cocoa tinged palate mike’s Imperial Porter is the perfect antidote to a southerly blast on a chilly autumn night.
From Blenheim’s 8 Wired we have the 2011 vintage of i-Stout at the appropriately warming 10%abv. Pouring a rich viscous black hue with a voluminous tan head, i-Stout offers up a complex aroma of hop driven stonefruit, light espresso, and chocolate caramel. In the mouth the beer is warming, with more stonefruit, cocoa, roasted malt flavours and a long dry finish. Both these beers will make a great accompaniment to berry based deserts, and sharp aged cheeses.

No comments: