Friday, August 23, 2013

Lawson's Finest Double Sunshine IPA

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (952) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 23, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a mug (which, if you look closely, says "Sunshine Fair" on it). There was no freshness date on the bottle, though I got this from a friend (thanks, Jon!) who bought it at the brewery for $9 ($0.41 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright golden/yellow hue - almost glowing with intensity. Fairly hazy, but carbonation still visible. Forms a large, ivory, frothy head which laces and retains quite well.

Smell: Strong tropical fruit notes, especially grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit. There’s a distinct herbal aroma as well - almost garlicky.

Taste: I recently noted that the "New England Style" IPA seems to be catching on and this is yet another beer exemplifying some of the great brewing that’s taking place in the northeast section of America. Much like a West Coast IPA, Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine IPA has a lot of citrus and stone fruit notes, but ends much differently with a distinct herbal and spicy flavor. It’s repetitive and simplistic, but it’s tasty and that’s what matters.

The hops are definitely in control of the palette here. They start out with an almost nectar-like sensation of tropical fruit juice concentrate. It’s sweet like a glass of breakfast juice, but at the same time still dank and bitter. At the crest of the swig the bitterness increases exponentially, imparting rustic, herbal and spicy flavors. Ground up tree bark plus garlic and herbal tea. It’s dry, but not completely arid. There’s additional fruit flavors on the finish, though there isn’t a lot of distinct malt character per se. The hops linger, leaving an aftertaste akin to garlic bread. Usually, I really enjoy this combination, but it’s a little too spicy for me to give it my highest rating.

Drinkability: Though Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine IPA is packed with flavor, it’s not a difficult beer to drink. The mouthfeel is intense with taste, but not carbonation. The mouthfeel is fairly soft and it goes down smooth. There is a drying sensation that lingers, but it’s highly tolerable. I do notice a bit of warmth from the 8% ABV. It works with the bitterness for the most part, and I would not consider it distracting. A fine double IPA to enjoy on its own because of its rarity and price (though if it were readily available and reasonably priced, it’d be perfect with a spicy meal). 
Grade: 9/10