As more breweries join the crowded marketplace it is important for a new brewery to have a calling card, something that sets them apart from their competition. Obviously the most important thing is brewing great beer, but it helps to have a theme that customers immediately associate with the brand. The first session-only brewery in the country was Notch Brewing, and other brands have followed that trend. Surprisingly nobody took up the other end of the spectrum, brewing only high-alcohol imperial beers, until Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company launched last year. All of the beers in Greater Good’s lineup are “imperial”, with ABVs between 8-14%. Greater Good currently contract brews their beers in Connecticut, but they are planning a brewery in the Worcester area and cans of their first five releases are available throughout eastern and central Massachusetts. I tried a few of their first beers, including Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter, a big dark beer brewed with unfermentable lactose to add some sweetness. Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter is available now in 12 oz. cans.
Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter pours pitch black with a solid khaki-colored head. the scent is mild, just a little roasted malt. The flavor is very malt forward, notes of black coffee, dark chocolate, burnt caramel and licorice. There is a hint of sweetness from the lactose, not as pronounced as some milk stouts. There are enough hops to add some balance, hints of grass and earth along with a touch of crispness in the finish. The beer is missing a little body, it doesn’t have that thick mouthfeel you expect from a big dark ale, but it drinks incredibly easy for a beer with 11% ABV. I can think of very few beers with double digit ABV that have no alcoholic flavor or burn, and this is one of them. The finish is dry with a little lingering malt flavor. Overall Imperial Milk Porter is a solid start for Greater Good, I like the concept of a brewery with all imperial beers and look forward to what they come up with next. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.