In my many days
as a Bruguru, I’ve spent quite a bit of time traveling around in search of
beer. And in all those years, I’ve learned a thing or two about beer. So,
when I say that Dogwood Brewing is among a special tier of brewers, at least
in my opinion, that’s no small compliment. I’ve always enjoyed their roasty,
chocolaty stout; their intensely hoppy IPA; their crisp and malty-hoppy
pilsner; their malty, chocolaty bock; and their fruity, refreshing pale ale,
just to mention a few.
One thing that has held Dogwood back, however, was Georgia’s arcane law that
restricted the alcohol content of beer to no more than 6% by volume. This
effectively shut Georgia brewers out from producing a number of beer styles.
To be sure, some bent the rules a little (Dogwood, for example, has brewed
up a Weizenbock and a Belgian-style Tripel and Dubbel as their Winter Brew
in the past). But they couldn’t flaunt the fact these beers were a bit more
potent than usual.
All that changed recently when the law was amended to allow beers of higher
strength here. And just as I expected, this opened the doors for Dogwood to
strut its stuff. A new line of special beers called the Brewmaster Series
is evidence of just that. And the first of these is Dogwood Imperial
Porter. The Brewmaster Series is similar to Smuttynose Brewing Company’s
Big Beer Series. Each brew will be a limited run, and will be
packaged in 22 ounce “bomber” bottles. Plans for subsequent brews include a
barleywine and a Scotch ale.
Right now Imperial Porter is only sold on draft, but within the next few
weeks it will make its debut in bottles in Georgia. Plans are to eventually
expand distribution of Dogwood beers to other states, too.
Dogwood Imperial Porter pours to a jet black color with a light tan
head formation and a clean chocolaty nose. The palate is roasty, rich and
decadent with bittersweet chocolate but smooth and very drinkable all the
same. The beer has a touch of fruit that suggests apple and pear. There are
huge notes of licorice and a touch of raisin, too. In the finish, the
bittersweet chocolate re-emerges along with a kiss of alcohol warmth. At a
bit over 8% alcohol by volume, this will be a welcome beer during the cold
This is a very complex and delicious beer, one I can’t wait to see in
bottles to stock away in the fridge. It should age quite nicely for a year
or so, I would think. A perfect complement to rich chocolate desserts, or
perfect as dessert as seconds. And remember, dessert is spelled with two s’s,
because you always want seconds. You’ll want seconds of Dogwood Imperial
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.