Great Beer for the New Year #8: Lickinghole Creek One Lion Imperial Stout
(See links below for links our short selections of great beers for the New Year.)
Date: January 13, 2019
The Story— If you’re following these posts regularly it may seem that we’ve gone overboard on the Lickinghole Creek beers this winter. Perhaps we have. But Lickinghole Creek is one of the premier breweries of the region and honestly we think they hold up well in the company of cult giants like the Bruery and Voodoo. Their beers are rare and often expensive, but they’re one of a short list of breweries whose beer we buy on the strength of the brewery alone. The Lickinghole Creek Carrot Cake Imperial Amber Ale, which we featured a few days ago is a prime example of such a whim. The One Lion, however, was no risk. Big dark beers are right in the wheelhouse for Lickinghole Creek. We’ve never tasted a rich dark beer from them we didn’t like. A lot.
A 7% abv Russian Imperial Stout is kind of like a 20 proof whiskey. You might expect to be disappointed in its depth. The style originated in England during the reign of Catherine the Great. British brewers thought that if they could brew a beer strong enough they could vie with vodka for the tastes of the heavy drinking and stinking rich aristocracy of the Russian Empire. There have been dumber ideas — I knew a man who tried to invest in an Avon franchise in China since no one had gone door to door there. For 5,000 years. But this was close to that level. Russians drink vodka because…they like vodka, and they like its very quick effect. A 12% dark malty sweet headache in the morning beer had little to offer. But the Brits, used to much weaker beers, were intrigued by the potion– and still are and we’re pretty happy with the style on this side of the Atlantic as well.,
But 7% is unusually low for the style, and it takes some pros to make you think you’re drinking a much more intoxicating beer than you really are. That’s actually pretty special. So here’s a New Year beer for a cold winter night that will still leave you able to find the sidewalk to shovel it. This is almost a magic act; these brewers are good.
The Beer— Rich and dark with some nuttiness that just suggests an adult Reese’s, um, something. Rich, creamy, and unctuous. Ellie found “straight up rich dark malt with enough alcohol but not crazy.”
Value — Very good, at the least. A pint can still jar us with a beer this rich, but it allows us to try exceptional beers at an affordable price.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
Great Beers for the New Year– rich, full, yummy for a cold winter’s night:
Jailbreak Coffee Dusk Till Dawn, Tröegs Mad Elf Grand Cru, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Boulevard Manhattan Cask Still Ale, Ommegang Game of Thrones Series: Mother of Dragons, Lickinghole Creek Carrot Cake Imperial Amber Ale, Colbitzer Heide-Brauerei Schwarz,