It's not every Saturday that I'll haul my butt out of bed early in the morning to go drink beer, but today was special. So, that's exactly what I did.
What's so special about this particular day? The second annual release ofTwo Roads Brewery's Igor's Dream.
Igor’s Dream commemorates Stratford hero and American aviation icon Igor Sikorsky. The beer style is a nod to his Russian heritage.
I got there early but I wasn't the first one in line. Not by a long shot. Manny from New Haven was standing patiently at the door since 5:30 AM waiting for them to open. That wasn't until around 7:30 AM. Now that, my friends, is dedication to brew. For his devotion Manny got the bottle numbered #1. He certainly deserves it!
The queue to get the bottles of Igor's Dream was well organized and jovial. Each person in line had the opportunity to buy up to three bottles of the 2014 version and one bottle of the 2013. I opted to get my full allotment of 2014 and none of the 2013 since I still have my quota from last year cellared.
At 9:00 AM the line started moving. It flowed smoothly through the brewery to the area set aside for distribution. The bottles of 2014 Igor's Dream were $20 each and given out in a nifty Two Roads carrying bag.
There were 1980 bottles of 2014 Igor's Dream available for sale. I got bottles numbered 134 through 136. All 1980 bottles were sold out by the end of the day.
Two Roads head brewer Phil Markowski and Igor Sikorski's sons were on hand to sign bottles and to answer questions.
After getting my bottle signed, I mosied up to the bar to finally get a taste of the long anticipated brew. The 2013 was also on tap, of which they only had two kegs, so I was able to do a side-by-side comparison.
Igor's Dream (10.9% ABV) is a Russian Imperial Stout. The recipe will vary from year to year. Aside from the variances in the recipe, last year the beer was aged in Willett bourbon barrels and this year it was aged inRedemption Rye barrels.
Igor's Dream (2014) pours a deep dark brown with a cap of foam that dissipiates into a halo that leaves a skim of tiny bubbles on the glass as you drink. I wouldn't call it lacing because it doesn't really cling but, instead, slides back into the drink.
The aroma is malty and roasty with a pleasant oakiness and a ghostly whiff of whiskey.
The taste is big and malty. Roasty grain, espresso, cocoa come through and play well with the woody flavors from the barrel. There is an essence of whiskey that is sensed more as a smell than an overt flavor. The hops balance out the sweetness and add depth of character. The finish is a pleasant roastiness.
The mouth feel is full, creamy, and gently carbonated.
The brew is bold yet incredibly drinkable; scarily drinkable considering the alcohol content.
However, when compared to the Igor's Dream that's been aging gracefully for the past year it doesn't seem quite so big.
Everything about the cellared 2013 is big. Enormous even! It is robustly aromatic. The taste was incredibly smooth and rich. Roasty malts, silky chocolate, deep coffee flavors with notes of warm bourbon. The mouth feel is fabulously full and velvety with a lively play of carbonation. Wonderful.
Both are fantastic beers. The 2014 is like a young man kicking up his heels dancing a jig and the 2013 is more like a dignified older gentleman kicking back warming his feet by a hearth.
As I said, it's not every Saturday that I'm drinking beer early in the morning. It's not ever happened that I've been beer'd out by 10:30 in the morning. But that's how it went on this Saturday.
Two Roads did a great job with this release event. The staff was out in full force to make this a fun event. Everything from start to finish was well planned and superbly organized. It was enjoyable all around. And the beer was excellent. Cheers to the folks at Two Roads for being so flippin' awesome and to the brewers who make the magic happen!