An Imperial Beer Club selection (not the current one)


Simon Williams, founder of the Campaign for Really Good Beer blog, has been recruited by the Imperial Beer Club as a curator.

Simon WilliamsHis role will, presumably, be helping those running the club — now part of Ales by Mail — source beers which readers of his blog, or the man himself, have recommended.

As an Imperial Beer Club fan myself, I had a box recently and was extremely impressed by the quality of the brews. It is a club, not a shop, and the beers are expertly sought out, with just one element in common: they are strong, robust, big-flavoured brews with loads of character. Here’s three of the beers which were in my box which impressed. And if you like the sound of them, there’s a sign-up offer to the club in the sidebar.

Troubadour: Magma, Special Edition, Triple Spiked Brett (9.8% ABV)

Open this bottle and the aroma is very sour — a bit musty, too. Hazy amber in colour, it has rushing carbonation and a think, foaming, off-white head. Once you get used to it, it’s a decent, beautifully hopped IPA. There are some resinous, orangey hop notes in there, heightened by the brett, and there’s still a decent malt background coming through. The more I drink, the more I like it. The finish is tart in the extreme!

Steam Machine Brewing Co: Treacle Toffee Stout (10% ABV)

Very dark, almost jet black, this was very lively out of the can with a thick, foaming, deep beige head. Treacle toffee indeed on the nose, that rich sweetness from my childhood, when my grandmother would carry that confectionery in her handbag. There’s a little hint of damson, too, and a leathery note. The body’s pretty good, as you’d expect at 10%, and there’s almost a viscosity to it. The palate veers more towards molasses rather than toffee, and there is a bitter fruity edge that just stops it being too rampagingly sweet. Some bitter chocolate comes through too, a hint of espresso. I’m retiring to the sofa with this and a good book…

Howling Hops: Double IPA, New England Special (8.6% ABV)

Hazy, nay murky dark amber, with a big, thick, foaming slightly off-white head, this has a strong hop aroma, quite dank, with resinous, slightly grassy notes. I reckon the yeast is contributing a lot to the deep fruitiness here, which ranges from canteloupe melon and blood orange to plum skins , while the whole lot is held together by a rich, bready malt base. The body is good, in fact it’s quite a chewy beer. The finish is pretty dry. Liking this a lot.

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