I tend to to think Narragansett beer is not the bestest beer in the whole world. Hell it's not even the best beer in this hemisphere, continent, country, region, state, county or town. It's only meh, in my ever so humble opinion.
Yeah, I know they've been working to improve this image by producing more craft like brews. I've tried one or two and some aren't as bad as others. But generally I usually can't bring myself to buy Narragansett because there are so many other beers that I want to try. Frankly, it's usually not on my radar.
So, one day while I was browsing I spied a bottle of Narragansett Imperial IPA. The label was stamped Private Stock. That got my attention. Actually, it triggered my giggle switch a wee little bit.
Why? Because there's another beer with famous quality that also has Private Stock stamped conspicuously on its label. That beer ... er ... malt liquor is Haffenreffer.
The comparison is amusing.
Nevertheless, my curiosity was now piqued so I ended up buying a bottle. Hey, stranger things have happened. Some very strange things have happened since I obviously bought a bottle of Haffenreffer at some point.
Actually, I think I still have a bottle on the door of the fridge. Yup, that's some pretty darn funny stuff, right there.
Narragansett Imperial IPA (8.60% ABV) pours a clear deep gold with a thick, frothy off white head. That head left behind some very remarkable lacing. I was impressed.
The aroma is malty with a goodly dose of citrus and resin hops.
The taste is immediately bitter. Citrus hops prevail with a hint of some juicier, sweeter hops. The caramel malt mellows out the bitterness creating a good balance of sweetness and bitterness. The finish is where the pine hops come forward leaving behind a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.
The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. The alcohol makes its presence known a little forcefully as the beer warms in the glass.
Narragansett Imperial IPA is okay but nothing special. A decent example of the style.
For about $6 for a bomber, you get what you pay for. I'd like to point out that Haffenreffer goes for $3 for a 40-ouncer. Just sayin'