Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA

Grade: A
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

This beer is extremely brilliant, with a white head that doesn't froth much, but stays put. The color is light straw with tinges of gold. Incredible aromas of dark, delicious, and herbal hops greet you as you swirl the glass. Pine, citrus, grapefruit, peppery spice, and dark leafy herbs make up the nose, followed by a muted but present toast and biscuit from the malts. There is absolutely no question, however, that this beer is made to be a hop delivery vehicle.

The mouthfeel is medium, bordering on slightly thick. The carbonation is present and needed, cutting into that full-bodied feeling with a little acidity. Hops again in the flavor, the pine and grapefruit are certainly the main players. A resinous, bitter sap impression is there as well. Make no mistake that this beer is bitter, but the fuller body seems to carry it well. The sparkle from the carbonation seems to scrub your tongue after a sip, so the bitterness doesn't stick in your mouth. I have to say that the carbonation is playing a key role here, allowing the hops to truly pop. While hop flavor abounds, there isn't the vegetal or plant-like qualities that some fresh hop beers, or even other double IPAs have. While the malts are subdued, they can't be ignored. They do much more than lend body and alcohol to this beer, the bread, caramel, and toast I'm getting marry perfectly with the hops.

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. (a newcomer to the Connecticut area) is a well known, respected, and sought after brewery nationwide. I now see why. And I now realize what a very good decision it was to break into this market with a double IPA of this caliber. I can't wait to try the rest of this brewery's offerings, and you can bet you'll see them here when I do.