Good gods, man. What sort of broken maniac does it take to desire an imperial porter, a beer so dark that it once was in the running to manage a Clinton campaign, in the midst of a summer heat wave? As the brutal crushing waves of hellish heat and bathwater humidity roll along, burying countless poor souls without air conditioning (such as booze writers, for whom luxuries like cool air in oppressive heat are up there with placing forks on the right side of a plate) who in their right mind would want something big, thick, boozy and intense?
Well, me of course for one. I find weather, though helpful in guiding the decisions I am to make regarding beer selection, is not necessarily the determining factor. What is generally the determining factor, is what I have in my fridge. At the moment, it’s this porter. But what a porter, both in theme and nature.
Made in honor of one of the inspirations behind my writing from its very beginnings, this Gonzo Imperial Porter strikes all the right notes with me and not simply as a fan. Big, dark, luxurious and yet still retaining enough of the porter smoothness to differentiate it from a stout, this is a brew which demands my full attention, my sincere dedication of time and enough enjoyment to where I can remember that this is made in honor of the strangest literary mutant to every put pen to paper.
Malty, as it ought to be. Thick, as we desire it to be. Yet smooth and light enough to where we know it’s where it needs to be, this black madness strikes the chords just right, allowing both the porter nature to exist absent the overshadowing existence of stouts to cloud our opinions, while remaining heavy enough to carry itself properly and respectfully. Sipping with a malt forward impression that degrades ever so slowly before rising up again in the end, the 9.2% ABV comes through without acerbic interruption or overt sharpness.
If I were myself forced to pick a style of beer with which to honor Hunter S. Thompson, the godfather of gonzo journalism, I might have gone a step further into the stout world, however upon sipping this sincerely intense porter, I believe such a decision would have been a mistake. This beer is slick, it is intense and to a certain extent, it is somewhat weird. Though it may have not been weird enough for the old man himself, as nothing ever really was, it is perfectly weird enough for me.
So to this end, it is to the memory of Hunter, to his surviving friends such as Ralph Steadman (artist for Flying Dog) to the brewery that was bold enough to take on the challenge of creating a pint to raise to them all and of course, to you dear, possibly slightly buzzed readers, that I say as always…
While the brand may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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