Last spring, I serendipitously had the chance to try Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine while on a beer pilgrimage up to Vermont. Sitting on the sunny deck of The Reservoir in downtown Waterbury, the stars aligned — by pure luck, I happened to be seated for lunch at the very time that Double Sunshine was being tapped. In this case, the perfect atmosphere, company, and beer aligned to build a wonderful experience greatly exceeding the sum of its parts. The beer was absolutely fantastic and ever since I’ve been eager to try another of Lawson’s hoppy offerings.
Luckily Lawson’s Finest has teamed up with Otter Creek Brewing to produce a collaborative IPA called Double Dose. Thanks to Otter Creek’s distribution capabilities, a good amount of this beer made its way down to NYC and I was able to get a 4-pack.
Judged as a BJCP Category 14B American IPA.
Big in-your-face hops hit you as soon as your face nears the glass. Tangerine, pithy grapefruit zest, a very light hint of pine resin, and a substantial amount of ripe mango dominate. The intensity of the hops is quite high, but in many ways feel a bit muddled. There is just a hint of malt aroma. Some hot alcohol is apparent.
Very muddy and hazy. The beer paints a golden hue, which turns somewhat brown due to all the suspended solids. Head is bright white and persistent with tight creamy bubbles.
Citrus fruit dominates the flavor with a touch of pine sap. There is some very light crackery malt and maybe just a touch of sweet caramel. The bitterness is fairly moderate at first, but transforms into a fairly coarse and abrasive bite on the finish. The finish is further disturbed by a fairly substantial amount of hot alcohol.
The beer is medium to medium-full bodied with a very distinct creaminess that is very reminiscent of Heady Topper to me. The beer finishes too full to fit well stylistically into the IPA category.
Overall Impression (7/10)
This is a nice example of an IPA that pushes, and likely exceeds the bounds of what most people would consider a standard IPA. I would be much more inclined to call this a double or imperial IPA. I enjoyed the hop intensity, but couldn’t help but think that the recipe could benefit from some hop varietal editing in order to allow individual flavors to pop on their own. Additionally, I found the amount of very apparent alcohol a bit overwhelming. I enjoyed this beer, but not nearly as much as my last Lawson’s experience.
Total: 34/50 (Very Good)