Even after a few years, the trend to imperialize beer styles (make ‘em bigger and bolder) still brews strong. While it’s fun, it’s often not overly creative. Which is why we dig it when a brewery not only imperializes a beer, but tweaks it a step or two further in order to craft something a bit more innovative and, subsequently, interesting.
Southern Tier Brewing Co. in Lakewood, N.Y., is known for just this, with their Imperial bomber series. This week, we’re tasting Iniquity, which means "a gross immorality or injustice." Huh? Why would a beer be grossly immoral? Apparently, this beer is "the antithesis of Unearthly," their popular 11-percent alcohol by volume Imperial IPA. Why? We’ll allow them to explain:
"The hexagram talisman has been used around the world for centuries to invoke magic and good luck. The six-point star is also the customary symbol of the brewer, representing the essential aspects of purity: water, hops, grain, malt, yeast and, of course, the brewer. Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer’s creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this Imperial India Black Ale, Iniquity—a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don’t rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you."
Too much thinking. We need a beer …
It’s certainly black in the glass, nearly opaque, with soft tones of rich brown and ruby, and a creamy tan lacing that sticks and trails down the glass. Nose is grainy with spicy hop aromas; dried leaves, earth and faint citrus notes in the back. Very creamy on the palate, with a lush, smooth, yet firm, body. Complex sweetness and malty base up front with caramel, toasty breads (pumpernickel comes to mind), treacle syrup, chocolate and suggestions of honey. Bold and spicy hops—resiny and oily edges, lots of dense herbal flavors, more leaf and earth, hints of mint, splashes of floral citrus. Alcohol presence is a bit hot on the breath, but hides well within the sweetness for the most part. Finishes wet and oily with a resiny and sticky hop linger, eventually going a bit dry, spicy and ashy.
It gets an A- on BeerAdvocate with nearly 200 reviews. We give it a solid A for awesome. This is a fantastic abomination of a beer. Nine-percent ABV and available in 22oz bombers and on draft. Get some.
FOR MORE: [[http://southerntierbrewing.com/|SOUTHERNTIERBREWING.COM]]
RESPECT BEER. [[http://beeradvocate.com/|BEERADVOCATE.COM]]
Dogfish Head Night
The Ale House in Amesbury is having Dogfish Head Night, starting with some serious brews from DFH—60-min, 75-min, 90-min, Festina Peche, Chateau Jiahu, Theobroma, Midas Touch, Burton Baton, Sah’tea, Immort Ale, Punk’in and Paulo Santo, and the option for a four-beer/cheese pairing rack. First come, first serve, priced per pint.
[Ale House, 37 Friend St., Amesbury. 978.388.1950. 5pm/$22 for cheese pairings. [[http://amesburyalehouse.com/Scripts/default.asp|amesburyalehouse.com]]]
Boulder 30th/Pig Roast!
The Dive Bar in Worcester, in honor of Boulder Beer Co.’s 30th birthday, is throwing an old-fashioned pig roast out in their spacious beer garden. They’ll be smoking a 140-pound, locally raised Heritage Black pig along with some local chickens and a few other goodies, with plenty of Boulder beers flowing. And The Giant Yes will be performing live—an amazing eight-piece funk/jazz band. Price of admission includes entry, music and all-you-can-eat barbecue. Cash bar. Tickets are required!
[The Dive Bar, 34 Green St., Worcester. 508.752.5802. 4pm/$18. [[http://thedivebarworcester.com/|thedivebarworcester.com]]]