Beer: Imperial Biscotti Break Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing Style: Imperial porter ABV: 11.5 percent
Greetings, feeble readers. If you were expecting to read a review from Zach today, TOO BAD! This blog has officially been taken over by Fach Zowle, Zach's equally handsome but much more evil twin brother. Whereas that goober spends all his time drinking beer and watching reruns of New Girl, I am a malevolent badass who likes to knock ice cream cones out of little kids' hands and cross the street when the don't walk sign is on. You know -- evil stuff.
My latest diabolical triumph? I stole beer from Zach's fridge. There was plenty in there to take, but this particular brew caught my eye, because not only is it made by Evil Twin Brewing, but the brewer, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, is an evil twin himself. His brother, Mikkel Borg Bergsø, brews under the Mikkeller label.
Jarnit-Bjergsø, however, has done his best to outshine the good twin. He opened the Ølbutikken bottle shop in Copenhagen in September 2005, and the location has since become world-famous for its beer selection. He collaborated with Cantillon, Belgian brewers of sour beers, to help them make Blåbær Lambik, one of the most sought-after beers in the world. And, in 2010, he founded Evil Twin Brewing.
Evil Twin is a phantom brewery -- try to find it on a map and you'll be searching all day, because it doesn't exist in any physical location outside Jarnit-Bjergsø's head. Like his brother Mikkel, Jarnit-Bjergsø is a nomadic gypsy brewer, meaning he concocts a recipe for his beer and hands it to another brewery with some extra capacity. This contracted brewing partner brews, bottles, prices and sells the beer, then cuts Jarnit-Bjergsø a check. Evil Twin beers are brewed everywhere from South Carolina and Scotland to Holland and Denmark -- Imperial Biscotti Break was made at Westbrook Brewing Company in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Poured into a snifter, the purloined beer has a wicked appearance -- syrupy, completely black, and boozy. A thin layer of cinnamon-colored bubbles sits between my face and the imposing liquid, while a quick swirl showcases nice, alcoholic legs.
Imperial Biscotti Break was brewed with Charleston Coffee Roasters espresso, vanilla beans, and toasted almonds and the result is an absolutely diabolical aroma stuffed with freshly roasted coffee beans. This one dimension would be enough, but backing it up are notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, oats and snicker-doodle. With just a bit of toast in the back, it smells exactly like a coffee-dipped biscotti stick.
In the flavor, coffee coats the tongue with roasted bitterness and alcohol contributes in a nearly equal amount. I'm surprised by the amount of dark fruits I get-- prunes, mostly, though there are raisins and figs as well -- that weren't apparent in the aroma but add a sweetness that make this far more drinkable than it should be. If it smelled like the biscotti was dipped in coffee, it tastes like someone stuffed it into a jar of grape jelly. Vanilla beans show up after the swallow and bitter, scorched coffee lingers on the tongue after each sip.
Jarnit-Bjergsø has fun with his brews, giving them sinful names like Soft Dookie and Even More Jesus. Imperial Biscotti Break has a rather tame moniker, but its menace is in its alcohol content -- sneaky at nearly 12 percent and barely noticeable beneath the mound of flavor. A tricky evil twin, that Jeppe, and one who successfully shows that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb. Fach Zowle out.
Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to beer.