Thursday, June 28, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Inebriator Imperial Stout | Sonoran Brewing | Scottsdale, AZ

Basically, the underlying motivation behind starting a beer blog and prattling on and on about something so subjective, is the general feeling that ‘fuck this is so good, everyone has to try this!’

The two main focuses of [AA] are the topics of beer and music, subjects so widely variant and the spectrum so broad, that one can find an approachable niche and style that appeases their sensibilities without feeling intimidated by a segregate force.  Diversity is what makes these two categories great and worth discussing at length because opinions are so particular, yet variegated.  Above all, the best thing about enjoying particular kinds of beer or music is just about ways of expressing your love for it and trying to spread that message as far and wide as you can.

However, sometimes a bit of guidance is necessary, because when the masses are allowed to make a collective decision, then we get fucking Bud Light Platinum and Kid Rock beer.

The reality is, there are a ton of choices out there, but only so much time and disposable income.  Beer is expensive.  Beer is tricky.  Above all, beer wants you to take it home and violate it.  Those are three concepts dangerously close to a tranny hooker (I'm only assuming!).  And nobody wants to go home with a tranny hooker (Again, I'm only assuming!)

So, when we're talking about risky investments involving your hard-earned cash and the momentum of your post-work evening, one should have a good reference point on which to rely.  Even more so when discussing very small brands that haven't paid for (read: can't afford) prime real estate in your local booze dealership. 

This is why I want to talk about a spectacular brewery that very few people outside of Arizona have heard of -- and because of that fact, are missing out on a very nice risk:reward investment ratio.

Sonoran Brewing is a tiny (by comparison to other breweries talked about on [AA]) brewery housed in a restaurant in North Scottsdale.  However, Sonoran has also been making craft beers since 1996, which was like the Stone Age of brewing, and therefore, archeologists have descended upon their brew house to study how they've come so far without being recognized nationally.

So, when I opened my care package from my friends in Arizona, I was exceptionally beside myself to see that this was one of the goodies.  I was in danger of being blown away from just the labeling.

If you are a frequent reader of [AA], you would kinda-vaguely remember that imperial stouts make my emotions pique like the opening two minutes of Arcade Fire's Wake Up.  I hesitate to call anything my favorite, but they are up there with The Smiths and College Football Saturdays. 

I didn't get to this beer right away, as I thought this could use a little nap in the Cellar after traveling so far and being completely out of its desert environment.  It was also a rarity in my personal stash, and I always have a bit of a hard time uncorking those.  But I thought that a good time to unfurl this would be with the fam on my wife's first Mothers Day at a very, very gratifying outdoor restaurant in our neighborhood on what would be the last pleasant-weather day in Austin's history.  That was a chewy sentence, but then so was this beer.

Inebriator Imperial Stout tasted like it had been steeped in a coffee pot for hours, while you sat reading the morning paper.  It was the first bold characteristic I noticed, but certainly not the most overt, as I would come to find out.  That characteristic would be the 70% dark chocolate notes that popped up right between the sweet cream of the coffee and the perfectly muted semi-sweet roasted nuts and slightly bitter hop profile that comes along with its 75 IBUs.  

This made me think of some kind of rapscallionery going on in the minds of the brewers here, like it was one-part Dry Irish and two-parts American revival stout.  This beer had origins in the Old World, but came to the Southwest of America to hide from its demons back home.

Many imperial stouts seem like they're trying to imitate the big, boozy cliche of other imperial stouts, but Inebriator really leapt out on its own.  In the modern era of American stouts, Inebriator was heavy on the characteristics of the Big 4: body, color, flavor and ABV -- the starting Center that you would want your NBA expansion team to be built around.  This beer does not listen to Brit Pop, it does not listen to Math Rock, it does not even listen to Thrash Metal.  It listens to the sound of your soul being sucked through your liver like it was shrouded in a cheese cloth.

Very nice work.

ABV: 9.1%
Acquired: Beer trade from PHX (Thx Whitney & Scott!)

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