I’ve been chastised by my brother for featuring “girly” beers on my blog recently. Well, excuse me for wanting to drink my beer from a miniature porcelain teacup featuring images of dancing Pomeranians wearing hats and booties! Excuse me for drinking beer while I hold a lace-trimmed parasol in one hand and recline on a rowboat! EXCUSE ME FOR…where was I? Yes, beer. Okay, let’s get manly. Well, mannish. Is bourbon a real man’s drink? How about whisky? If we agree that imperial porter, a mud-black beverage with no fruit or herb additives, is a man’s beer, what happens if you age imperial porter in bourbon barrels? A man-tastic man-splosion of flavor, that’s what! Oh God, that doesn’t sound good. But what is good is this beer. When you pick up a bottle, you’ll be paying as much as a nice bottle of wine, just under $20. That’s okay, it’s a big bottle with a champagne cork and wire hat, so drinking this is going to be an event, not something to wash down Cheetos dust and tears. I present Hangar 24’s Immelman, a limited-edition barrel-aged imperial porter.
When I poured this into the glass I was surprised by the dark brown color. Normally a porter or stout is a rich reddish dark brown, this was a soft brown like worn leather on cowboy chaps. Shoot, this is veering from ultra-manliness into suspicious Village People-manliness. Focus! The smell of this beer is fantastic, like grains being mixed in a barn by men with moustaches. There, that’s the right level of manliness. Now the first sip. I can say, hand on heart, this was the first beer that made me smile when I tasted it. An image came into my head on that first sip: wood planks. This is a beer that explains to your tastebuds what wood really is. Despite using a tulip glass instead of a pint glass, I’m not going to use prissy tasting-note words like mouthfeel and nose and terroir, let’s stick to man words: stomach happy! It was much smoother than I expected, without the bitter bite of many porters. It had a mild caramel sweetness but with such strong woody bourbon and whisky flavors that you couldn’t help but think this drink is the beautiful halfbreed child of whisky and beer. Is it dark out tonight?
I had just under half the bottle and couldn’t bear to drink more, in the same way you wouldn’t guzzle from a bottle of Dom Perignon. I’ll have the rest tonight and will then gauge the length and fullness of my beard while I chop wood half-naked in the cold. Man beer!