View Full Version : Called to the Bar - Lager of the week — Charlie, Fred & Ken’s 30th anniversary Imperi

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15-11-2010, 23:30
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Those who dislike the American penchant for ramping up beers to imperial strength can look away now. In the post courtesy of Vertical Drinks (http://en-gb.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000165715963) comes this Imperial Helles Bock, which has been produced by Sierra Nevada (http://www.sierranevada.com/index2.html) in conjunction with Fred Eckhardt and Charlie Papazian. It’s a sort of tribute to their work in advocating and writing about beer in the past three decades (there are a couple of other beers produced including a barley wine (http://www.sierra30.com/#/jack-and-ken-s-ale) in which US craft brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe has had a hand). It’s presented in a big 750ml bottle and is therefore ideal for sharing with your invisible friend who doesn’t like beer, so there’s more for you. Let’s take a drop. It’s the colour of Golden Syrup and has a rich, fat, bitter and alcoholic nose, all perfectly in balance as if they were figures doing their Tai-Chi in a Saturday afternoon park; I’m also put in mind of lychees if steeped in alcohol, while the petrol like nose reminds me of a Riesling. And just when I think I have got the nose to a tee along comes the scent of honeyed dates. These notes return on the palate, making me initially think of a Sauternes-like beer, a dessert beer — yet that’s too easy. It has a lazy Sunday afternoon, sitting in a hammock ease about it one moment and then a complex dissertation on the human condition with Joyce in mind next. My mind keeps working on it —a golden bock with a fistful of hops here, big blast of grapefruit there, oh and there’s a real gorgeous pungent hop character as well. It’s a luxury Helles, but it’s also pungent and dirty, robust and rollicking in its ride across the tongue; clean it is not. I like the idea of imperial Pilsners/Helles in the same way that I liked the way Joy Division ramped up the Doors. Why not fuss about with a beer, what works works, what doesn’t doesn’t (Doug Odell told me in an email the other day about the Wild Pils he tried to make — it didn’t work). So is it a style? Of course not, it’s a variation on a theme, a riff on a note, a symphonic dance and if you want to be basic, a pretty fine beer.

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