I've been drinking New England Brewing Company's owner/brewmaster Rob Leonards's beer for many years . . . way before he acquired NEB in 2001; I first sampled his brews in the 1990's when he was making beer for John Harvards Brew House in Westport, Connecticut and the Brewhouse Restaurant in Norwalk, Connecticut.
I love and support local breweries and this one is no exception. The New England Brewing Company is located Woodbridge Connecticut . . . just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.
When Imperial Stout Trooper was first released in limited quantities in 2010 I quickly snatched up a few bottles . . . they were hard to come by and I paid a hefty $14.99 per bottle. The label portrayed an image very similar to a Star Wars Imperial Storm Trooper. George Lucas was none too flattered . . . he issued a cease and desist order to get his Star Wars imagery removed from the the Stout Trooper label.
Those first year bottles have become something of a collectors item. My husband saw a bottle listed on Ebay that was going for over $100.
The following year Imperial Stout Trooper was once again issued in limited edition . . . this time with an amusing new label . . . Groucho Marx glasses and 'stache to disguise the trooper beneath.
A few weeks ago I picked up a few bottles of the 2012 edition. So limited is the distribution of this beer, my local booze store would only let me buy two. Of course, I went back and got more . . . two is certainly not enough.
This a truly amazing hand crafted brew. It pours dark as night with a light tannish head that quickly dissipates but clings to the sides of the glass. It has a caramelly, smoky, coffee aroma and the flavors to back up the nose tease.
The taste is everything I've come to expect from an imperial stout . . . a complex combination of very slightly sweet dark chocolate, caramel and molasses perfectly balanced with coffee, smoke, licorice and malt.
Stout Trooper is not a heavy beer nor as heavy as is to be expected from a Russian imperial stout BUT very enjoyable. It is medium bodied and medium carbonated which equates to a pleasant mouth feel.
As good as this beer tastes, you kind of have to put the brakes on due to its high 8.5% ABV. Share a bottle or two with friends . . . sip, relax, enjoy. And then wait another year to grab a couple bottles of this limited edition brew.
Drink it, it's good . . . indeed.