Imperial Porter

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter
One 12 oz bottle, $2.99, 7.8% ABV

Purchased at Maximum Beverage, West Hartford

As I work my way through the Hooker lineup, I’m wondering what I think their best beer is. Oh sure, they will keep coming out with new stuff now and then, but I’ve had pretty much all of them, so I think I can at least start to think about it.

As for their regular rotation, it’s either the Liberator Doppelbock, the Hop Meadow IPA or this one: the Imperial Porter. To me, porters are always sort of a forgotten style as when I want darkity dark beers, I go for stouts. And when we’re talking Imperial things, Imperial stouts are right up there in my top 2 or 3 styles of beer. But Hooker’s Imperial Porter is really very good – and most importantly for an 8% beer, it hides the alcohol well behind the bitterness and maltiness of the beer.

When I hear the term Imperial Porter I think about “porters” as in butlers or redcaps or bellboys or whatever. Are they still called porters in some quarters? Or have I been reading too much early 20th century fiction lately? (Entirely possible.)

Regardless, that’s what I think about. Imperial Porter = a servant to an imperial king. And since I’m a huge jazz fan, the following paragraph from Wikipedia and video are relevant.

“King Porter Stomp” is a swing-era jazz standard by Jelly Roll Morton. The composition is considered to be important in the development of jazz. According to Jelly Roll Morton, the tune was composed in 1905. Morton first recorded the number in 1923 as a piano solo, but did not file a copyright on the tune until 1924. That year, Morton recorded a duet version with Joe “King” Oliver on cornet. Morton said that he had actually written the tune almost 20 years earlier, and that it was named after his friend and fellow pianist Porter King.

You can hear the move from ragtime to jazz towards the end:

King Porter Stomp by Jelly Roll Morton

Now go buy some Hooker Imperial Porter and wonder why you hear ragtime in your head as you drink it.

Hooker says:

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter is a full-bodied, dark lager. This brew’s roots are in the strong porters of 19th Century England, which ultimately evolved into the stronger stouts of today. Our Imperial Porter derives its tremendous complexity from the use of 8 different malts. We blend these to achieve a balance of sweet, caramel, and coffee flavors. A judicious use of dark roasted malts adds another level of intriguing notes to the mix. Generously hopped with German and American hops our Imperial Porter comes to life as it is allowed to warm to the ideal drinking temperature of 58-60 degrees.

A great brew to add warmth and cheer to any beer lover’s winter.

Overall Rating: A-
Rating vs. Similar style: B-

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
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