Saturday, March 23, 2013

Two Roads premieres Igor's Dream

Saturday, March 23rd, was a big day for Two Roads Brewery - the premiere of a much anticipated beer. 

Nearly all of Two Roads brews, in some way, pay homage to Stratford.  Their latest release, Igor’s Dream, commemorates Stratford hero Igor Sikorsky and furthermore is a nod to his Russian heritage.

The brewery opened its doors at 9:00 AM.  I arrived a few minutes after that to an already overflowing parking lot and a line of enthusiastic people waiting to get their limited edition bottle of Igor’s Dream.   I got the impression that beer enthusiasts, like myself, were in the minority.  Many of those in line were employees, pilots and military personnel associated with Sikorsky aircraft.

Despite the long line that wound from the front door, through the tasting room, and down to brewery floor, spirits were high as people chatted about working at Sikorsky, aviation and, of course, beer.

There were only 999 bottles of Igor’s Dream available for sale.  With a limit of 3 bottles per person, tickets were being distributed to those in line.  As early as I was the number on my ticket was 515 and sometime before noon all 999 bottles had been sold. Each numbered and dated bottle was signed in person by head brewer Phil Markowski.

Igor Sikorsky Jr. and Nikolai Sikorsky were on hand signing bottles of Igor’s Dream, photographs and other paraphernalia. 

There was a lot of excitement and things were hectic, but I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Two Roads partners Clem Pellani and Brad Hittle. Brad was also kind enough to introduce me to Phil Spalla, Sikorsky Archives Director who had arranged for Igor Sikorsky's sons to be at the event. All were pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the enthusiasm for Igor’s Dream. 

Bottles in hand, I seated myself at the bar in the brewery tasting room to finally drink a glass of this long awaited brew.  

Igor’s Dream is labeled as an “unorthodox Russian imperial stout”.  A Russian Imperial Stout is typically a dark brown bordering on black with a higher than average alcohol content ranging between 6 and 11%.  The flavor profile is most often bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and dark fruit.   

True to the style, Igor’s Dream incorporates these flavors and is at the high end of the ABV (alcohol by volume) spectrum at 11%.  Besides being bottled in 750ml champagne bottles, what makes Igor’s Dream unorthodox and sets it apart from other Russian Imperial Stouts is that it is aged in rye whiskey barrels; this imparts unique qualities not usually found in a Russian Imperial Stout; making for a distinctive flavor.  The results are outstanding.

Was Igor’s Dream worth the wait?  It was!  The beer was smooth, creamy, delicious and dangerously drinkable. 

You won’t find Igor’s Dream any place that beer is sold.  It is not being distributed for sale elsewhere.  However, if you missed out on getting your bottle of Igor’s Dream, there is still a chance to try it. But you’ll have to hurry; it’s on tap in the brewery's tasting room for a very limited time.

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