I spend most of my days studying wine, which is something I love to do. With that said, I think beer is a way more complex style of beverage. During our very first week of class, our instructor poured five wines and a craft beer. The beer was far and away more complex in aromas and flavors, and the intensity was so strong we could smell him pour it from across the room.
One of my favorite styles of beer is Russian Imperial Stout, and Community’s “Legion,” their newest year-round offering, could be one of the very best I’ve tried.
You’re probably asking yourself what a Russian Imperial Stout is. The history is somewhat murky, but my understanding is that Russian royalty developed an affinity for English porter. When breweries would ship beers to the Baltic regions they would either spoil or freeze over long before arrival. The English increased the alcohol and hops to pretty high levels, in hopes the beer would arrive in a drinkable condition. It was a hit. Then the style fell out of favor until American craft breweries resurrected it and made it their own.
Some of the highest-rated American beers in the world are made in this style. They’re bold, complex, and loaded with aromas of roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate. We are celebrating some birthdays in my home this month, which means that chocolate brownies and Imperial stouts are a must. This beer pairs fantastically with just about any rich chocolate dessert you can imagine.