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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

21st Amendment Taps Liquid Gold, aka Imperial Jack

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge Imperial Jack ESB, the World Beer Cup's favorite "Other Strong Beer." - BRIAN YAEGER
  • Brian Yaeger
  • Imperial Jack ESB, the World Beer Cup's favorite "Other Strong Beer."
Yesterday, 21st Amendment tapped the beer that earned it a gold medal at the World Beer Cup back in April. Unlike other brewing competitions, this biannual event awards medals to the best of the best from over 640 breweries situated in over 40 countries. So imagine home brewer Richard Brewer-Hay's reaction when he learned that his beer ― a style he calls an Imperial ESB (extra special bitter), named Imperial Jack after his late grandfather ― was judged the best beer in a somewhat enigmatic category called "Other Strong Beer."

The proprietor of Elizabeth Street Brewery, the city's best microbrewery as deemed by SF Weekly in the 2010 Best Ofs, typically makes beers that are under six percent alcohol, including the namesake ESB. It's a mild, British-style ale regarded for its pale color and moderately hoppy bitterness.

click to enlarge Richard Brewer-Hay (left) and Shaun O'Sullivan. - ELIZABETH STREET BREWERY/FLICKR
  • Elizabeth Street Brewery/Flickr
  • Richard Brewer-Hay (left) and Shaun O'Sullivan.
But Imperial Jack veers more toward brown ale, due to its use of chocolate malts, and the fact that it weighs in at 8.4 percent alcohol by volume. Once it warms up in the glass, the sweetness begins to allow the spicier notes to come through.

This is the second beer Brewer-Hay collaborated on with Shaun O'Sullivan and the team at 21st Amendment and, most likely, will be a regular once he actually closes the gates to his home-based pub and opens the doors to his own brewpub. Until then, try it on tap at 21-A while it lasts.

21st Amendment Brewing 563 Second St. (at De Boom), 369-0900; Imperial Jack, $7 for 13 oz.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie. Follow Brian Yaeger at @yaeger.

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