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Brewer’s Perspective: Red, Red Redemption

Remember malt? Imperial red ale does. Brian Seffer, head brewer at Claremont Craft Ales in Claremont, California, explains the philosophy behind Happy Days, the 9.5 percent ABV red ale that brought home GABF gold in 2018—then did it again in 2020.

Brian Seffer Jul 4, 2021 - 6 min read

Brewer’s Perspective: Red, Red Redemption Primary Image

Two beers that got me into craft beer were Celebration from Sierra Nevada and Shark Attack from Port. When we opened our brewery, it was my goal to one day make a beer that would allow me to stop buying Shark Attack.

I have now stopped buying it.

The Essence of Imperial Red

It’s simple, really: An imperial red ale is an overindulgence in everything we love about beer—malt, hops, and alcohol. I once spoke to a seasoned beer judge who described an imperial red to me this way: “It’s the easiest beer style to judge. … It has to be incredibly malty, incredibly bitter, incredibly hoppy, have a strong alcohol presence, and have a body that makes you want to come back for more. There is not a lot of nuance to the style.”

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