Igor’s Dream RIS

Igor’s Dream Russian Imperial Stout
12 oz draught, $8, 10.9% ABV

Purchased at Max Burger, West Hartford

idThis is about as good a beer as you’ll find anywhere, period. The problem (your problem, anyway) is that you won’t find it anywhere, period.

Let’s start at the beginning: Two Roads is to be commended for several things. They repurposed the old Baird factory in Stratford to build Connecticut’s most beautiful brewery, bar none. I would guess that decision cost more money than if they built from the ground up. Two Roads also does a great job of incorporating local lore and history into their beer names. If you read anything else on CTMQ, you know that I appreciate local lore and history.

Hell, it’s what this site is built upon. And the biggest name in Stratford history is Igor Sikorsky.

(Unless you wrote this on RateBeer: “Igor Stravinsky, at the age of 50, realized his dream of 30 years with the successful lift-off of the first practical helicopter in Stratford, Connecticut, September 14, 1939.”

Two Roads needs to be applauded for their marketing schemes as well. The build-up for Igor’s Dream was well-planned and executed perfectly. It never got annoying, and it crested at a perfectly timed crescendo at the brewery-only release of the 999 bottles they brewed.

This is the first of what they call their “Road Less Traveled” Series. I like that.

And I owe them an apology. I thought (and still think, actually), that $20 for a 750 ml bottle of a beer no one has ever had and that has no history whatsoever, was ridiculous. I publicly stated that the launch would fizzle and I’d pick up a bottle at my leisure. (I love good beer and all, and I’m not afraid to pay for it, but I simply don’t stand in lines for anything, let alone things with no track record from a 6 month old brewery.)

Mea culpa. They sold out of their 999 bottles in a few hours. I admit, I was a bit shocked.

And, quite frankly, bummed out. In this absurd quest to “drink every Connecticut beer,” I try to keep up with the special releases. I have well-placed friends who can more easily pick up the brewery-only releases for me. I even have one who works at Sikorsky.

But waiting in line on a cold Saturday morning for a $20 beer? Nah, I couldn’t ask anyone to do that for me.

Whatever… They had already promised to do it again next year. But then I learned they had it on tap at the brewery so I planned to visit. A few days before I was going to make the drive, my friend Doug from Max Burger tweeted at me that they had a log of it. And that yes, it was indeed the same exact stuff that was in the bottles.

Turns out, drinking this was not just a Dream.

About a week later, Doug tweeted that it was on tap. A couple days later, while off from work with Damian during his spring vacation, at Doug’s urging we had lunch at Max Burger…

Two Roads Says:

In honor of Stratford’s aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, we’ve created this most unorthodox Russian Imperial Stout. Made with rye and aged in oak whiskey barrels that give it a depth of character like no other, we think Igor would be pleased with the attention to detail in our creation

Igor's Dream001There is no need for me to spend time on this page giving you Sikorsky’s impressive resume. After all, you can find all you could ever want to know about him on my pages for the nearby Helicopter Museum, the CT Air and Space Museum, the New England Air Museum, the CT Hall of Fame and probably other places I’ve forgotten.

Suffice it to say, Sikorsky was pretty incredible. He pretty much invented the modern helicopter and did design and create the first mass-produced helicopter. Having a beer named after him is probably the least impressive accolade he’s ever received in life or in death. But we’ll take it. (And I’ll say again how much I appreciate Two Roads’ nod to local history.)

Two more things: This is excellent, excellent beer. Smooth and pleasantly boozy, I loved it. It does not have that syrupy stickiness that sometimes plagues high ABV dark beers. At almost 11%, it’s incredibly drinkable. The Cambridge House Brewpub Russian Imperial Stout (aged in Jim Beam I believe) is really good, but at 8% ABV with more of an alcohol burn, it doesn’t touch this one. NEBCO’s untouchable barrel aged Imperial Stout Trooper… has been touched – merely touched, mind you. Certainly not matched let alone surpassed.

But as cool as the history and humor of the Stout Trooper label is, the Two Roads Igor’s Dream label is COOLER. For all their marketing genius, for getting Sikorsky’s sons into the brewery release to sign labels, for using social media expertly to hype the release… I don’t recall reading anywhere that they commissioned none other than Drew Friedman to do the label art.

Drew freaking Friedman.

To this geek, that’s probably the coolest thing about Igor’s Dream.

Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: A

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of Igor’s Dream
Two Roads Brewing Company
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