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By Andy Crouch
Promoting itself as “America’s All Imperial Brewing Company,” Greater Good in Worcester has made a name for itself by going big. Founded in 2015, Greater Good only produces big beers with alcohol by volume levels above 8 percent. That’s right, no session beers, no easy sipping 5-percenters. Only big, flavorful offerings.

Despite the menacing alcohol levels, Greater Good’s founder Paul Wengender wanted to create smooth, accessible imperial style beers in contrast to many of the bitter, boozy offerings from competitors. Wengender is a microbial geneticist who founded Worcester-based contract research organization Blue Sky BioServices, which he sold in 2016. He employed his science background to work on the processes for producing Greater Good’s line of drinkable big alcohol beers. A part of the brewery’s mission is giving back to its local community. The Acts of Greater Good Initiative allows the brewery each month to support a local non-profit by showcasing them in the taproom and providing a donation from proceeds from taproom sales. Let’s look at some beers from Greater Good’s portfolio.

alcohol by volume 8.O%
Pulp Daddy is Greater Good’s flagship, an 8 percent banger of an Imperial Hazy New England India Pale Ale. Named after the brewery’s founder (Pulp is an acronym for Paul’s Ultimate Lupulin Protocol), the Greater Good flagship pours with a hazy golden-orange hue and a big boost of off-white foam, with substantial retention and lacing. The aroma boasts big waves of orange, peach, grapefruit, and mango, with light bready malt notes as balance. Alcohol levels are muted. The flavor continues with big fruit notes, including mango, papaya, and grapefruit, over light herbal hop notes and a mild grainy quality to the malt profile. A fairly heavy mouthfeel, the alcohol levels are more noticeable in the flavor but still tend towards the surprisingly milder side. Pulp Daddy finishes a touch sweet but never cloying and balances citrus and light bitterness to the end. A beer guaranteed to impress both long-time beer geeks and novices alike.

alcohol by volume 8.O%
Summer is the season usually known for light, thirst-quenching witbiers, hefeweizens, and light golden ales. So what does a summer seasonal beer look like for an all imperial brewery? Let’s introduce you to BIGG Summer, Greater Good’s 8 percent alcohol-by-volume New England IPA made with pineapples. Pouring with a deep burnished orange hue and considerable haziness, BIGG Summer offers a light dollop of white foam and hurls big notes of modern American IPA hops, including tropical notes of pineapple, mango, coconut, and citrus, from Galaxy and Sabro hops. The body is medium to full and the flavor continues with citrus and tropical fruits balancing over mildly sweet malts. If you’re looking to go big this summer, Greater Good’s BIGG Summer might be for you.

alcohol by volume 12.O%
In case you thought Greater Good might steer all its beers to the 8-percent imperial threshold, think again. The mild-mannered Greylock IPA, with its lack of aggressive naming and countenance, is a double to triple New England IPA. Named for the highest peak in Massachusetts, Greylock is the biggest IPA in the brewery’s portfolio. It pours with considerably less haze than most of the New England IPA’s in Greater Good’s lineup, showcasing a light orange amber hue, a minor hazy opacity, and a stable bit of white foam capping it. The aroma fills with light citrus notes, including melon, stone fruit, mango, and mild candy and cereal malt notes. The flavor continues with a wash of fruits, from papaya to mango, lemon to grapefruit, before giving way to a solid rinse of alcohol and malt sweetness that folds into a tiny package of zesty and herbal hops and a clean finish. Robust in body and spirit, Greylock is a scarily drinkable beer for its alcohol levels.

alcohol by volume 8.O%
To break up the routine of big hazy New England IPAs, Greater Good also offers Funk Daddy, a tart twist of its flagship Pulp Daddy. Pouring with a balanced, luminous orange hue with uniform haziness and a nice cap of white foam, Funk Daddy is a looker. The aroma begins with big citrus notes, including lime juice and lemon rind, bits of pine, pepper, and some bready malts. It’s all a bit frenetic but it works. The flavor is more straightforward, with flashes of tart lime juice, citrus hops, grapefruit, and pepper, all over a light bready character. Funk Daddy doesn’t pucker your palate or come across as particularly sour, it just offers a well-balanced tartness to counterbalance the juicy qualities.

alcohol by volume 5.O%
Now if you’ve asked yourself, “How can a brewery make it these days selling only imperial beers?”, that’s a good question. The answer, at least for Greater Good, is they don’t. Under the Soul Purpose Brewing Company side brand, Greater Good also produces a small line of non-imperial beers. Is it cheating for a brewery dedicated to going big? That’s for others to say. But everyone needs a break from bigger beers so let’s look at Crush Groove, Greater Good’s 5 percent alcohol hazy IPA. Crush Groove presents with a standard fare light orange hue and a small dollop of off-white foam and the aroma includes orange peel, melon, and pineapple from Citra and Mosaic hops. The flavor starts with tropical fruits, melon, some orange, and a light grassy and herbal hop character before showing off a light sweetness from the pale malts. With a medium mouthfeel, the finish continues to a nice dry point punctuated but bits of pepper. In addition to Crush Groove, the Soul Purpose Brewing line also includes Brew Sky Lager, a light amber orange-hued American lager weighing in at 5.5 percent alcohol. Available from Commercial Distributing Company.

Worcester, Massachusetts
Greater Good Imperial brews are available from Colonial Wholesale Beverage and Commercial Distributing Company