I recently learned that these beers are called Imperial Stouts because they were originally brewed in London for the Russian court of Catherine II. It needed to have a higher alcohol content to avoid freezing during transport. The term “imperial” is used much more loosely in modern day, but it’s still fun to think about how the beers – India Pale Ale and Imperial Stouts - we enjoy today were conceived basically to survive transport.
The Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout from Southern Tier Brewery in Lakewood, New York is amazing. I first tried it at Bukowski’s in Boston on tap. Because of the high alcohol content, it is served in a goblet. I was estastic to find it in my local liquor store. It is brewed seasonally so you’ll have to look right now to find it. It is worth the search. The stout is so smooth that I can actually use the term luxurious. It has that burnt sweetness associated with a crème brulee dessert due to the dark caramel malts and vanilla beans used in the brewing process. This is a must –try. I also made a beer sorbet out of it and that was delicious as well.
Magic Hat's Odd Notion Series Magic Hat’s Odd Notion Series is an unique way for Magic Hat to encourage its brewmasters to try new types of beers.
The Summer ’10 iteration is a riff on a Belgian ale – a ginger ale. It has a great blend of malts and hops with the sweet/spicy complement of ginger. Served very cold, it has a dry, almost nutmeg taste. As it comes to room temperature, the ginger flavor comes more the forefront. We think this beer would pair well with Indian food.