Lo, the imperial reds doth battle for Burque supremacy

So I finally had a chance to try two ridiculously good imperial red ales from our good ol’ Duke City, and man, are they just straight out-spaced, out-awesome! I procured several bombers of Marble’s gold medal-winning Imperial Red and then a brace of La Cumbre’s Imperial Red Ryeot to do a proper review, well aged and resinous to the core.

This beer won a gold medal for a reason.
This beer won a gold medal for a reason.

Of Marble’s Imperial Red, these were my thoughts: This beer tastes of really good ganga, and smells just like it, too. A wonderful balance of sweet malt and tropical, dank hops. Straight up kush, like the kind that blasts your gourd out to the galaxy’s edge and beyond. A true testament to cannabis indica in beer form (as the label suggests), dank as the kindest of buds and just as sweet, too. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this brew to make a triumphant return since the Great American Beer Festival gold medal was won, and I am extremely happy with the current incarnation. Mouthfeel is wonderful all around, with a crisp hop front that washes cleanly to middling sweetness that then melts like some good resin back to a finish, both bitter and sweet. If you are looking for a wonderfully hoppy and strong red ale than this is just the ticket. This is not Canteen’s Odin’s Red, nor akin to any red I have enjoyed in recent memory. This offering is rather more progressive and boundary crushing in approach as though my favorite IPA and red ale had a burly, red-headed child! Also, there is no way in hell this beer is 9-percent ABV!

Another ridiculously amazing offering from La Cumbre.
Another ridiculously amazing offering from La Cumbre.

We take the time machine forward a couple of weeks to the emergence of Imperial Red Ryeot: It’s like Project Dank and a red rye ale had a child, and it was good. Pungent hop and rye aroma. A riot in your mouth at the start, mellows to the best of three beer styles in one. Initially you get a nice alcohol burn on the back end like a Molotov in the midst of the ryeot in your mouth. A nice, sweet melon grass flavor is forged from the inclusion of the rye with the excellent hop varieties present in this wondrous gem. Mouthfeel is superb, flowing across and filling the palate with a marvelous caress of hop, then rye, then malty goodness. My honest thought is that both this beer and Marble’s counterpoint are really red DIPAs and that’s simply divine to my taste! If you shade the malts down a tad these could well be brews in the annual New Mexico IPA challenge and I daresay they would fare very well indeed. I’m certainly not knocking on your more malty imperial red ales, whatsoever, but I really love imperial beers of all varieties, and I do appreciate the uniqueness of these hybrids.

So grab yourself a bomber or a pint of these epic creations, and as Amon Amarth put it best: “With Odin on our side we are Victorious! No retreat, no remorse, Victory will be ours!”

Oh, and on a final note, I brewed my first batch of home brew two Sundays ago with the help of Porter Pounder so as soon as the first of many beers from Sturm Brauerei are carbonated, I will be starting a new series covering each and every incarnation of the newly minted Sturmbraü!


— Franz Solo

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