Brooklyn Brewery brewer Garrett Oliver is notoriously agitated by any non-stout beer style deemed “Imperial,” be it an overly strong, extra-hopped IPA or so-called red ale. So I wonder what he’d make of this recent discovery by beer historian Ron Pattinson:
I stumbled across this wonderful example today in an 1868 price list: Imperial Table Beer. Let’s see, Imperial means really strong and Table Beer means something safe to give to the kiddies. So how on earth can a Table Beer be Imperial? The price, 2s 6d for a dozen pint bottles, implies a gravity of 1060-1065º.
Truly a conundrum, and news that makes the “Imperial mild” I seem to recall hearing about a while back seem slightly less ridiculous.