Impey Barbicane's Moongun is a session amber ale that's a collaboration beer from Cigar City Brewing and Baltimore's Duclaw Brewing Co. In a nod to the 1865 Jules Verne novel From the Earth to the Moon, the name of the beer stems from the main character of the novel, while the label features iconic imagery of the "bullet ship" that lands in the eye the moon, taken from the 1902 French film Le Voyage dans la Lune by cinema legend Georges Méliès.
The beer is purchased in the 22-ounce bomber format, and for a 5 percent alcohol-by-volume beer, one can probably indeed session the bottle alone. The label indicates the beer is brewed with Cascade, Centennial, and Equinox hops.
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"We’ve collaborated with our friends at DuClaw Brewing Co. to bring you Impey Barbicane’s Moon Gun, an amber-colored exercise in pushing the limits of what a session beer can do. Fueled by earth-shaking amounts of Cascade, Centennial, and Equinox hops. It has just enough malt character to give some balance and keep it from ‘busting up” upon liftoff. Please join us in celebrating science, optimism, and the art of brewing with this stellar (or lunar) beer. As Jules Verne wrote, “I feel that we should always put a little art into what we do. It’s better that way."
The beer pours a deep red, with hints of a maroon or garnet-type hue. It produces a frothy khaki head that lingers for a while. Aromas are typical of your session IPAs: resinous with a hint of pine and some herbal fresh green pepper. Some freshly cracked grain aromas join in, and a smidgen of tangerine/pineapple. The body is super light, mildly carbonated, and seems to skip over any malt sweetness toward a showing of hop bitterness at the end, which lingers for a bit. After the first sip, the green-pepper-type aromas come back into full force on each subsequent tasting, making for an interesting return.
I am missing the ideas of an amber ale here, and besides the darker color, I would be remiss to call this simply an IPA. Even so, it's got some unique characteristics that put it just over the edge into territory that makes it a beer to grab if you're into the session IPA style.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.