I had thoughts about reviewing that Westvleteren 12 this weekend but talked myself out of it. for a few reasons. First and foremost, I had a hankerin’ for that wonderful taste of an IPA and I had one selection ready to go, thanks to the Binny’s gift card. Secondly, Sunday was the Super Bowl event and the family get-together always involves beer drinking sessions and samplings all around. I figured why spoil the recent memory of a taste of Westy with all the other beer tastes I would be experiencing Sunday.
Tonight, we’ll be tasting and dissecting a double IPA from the Grand Teton Brewery out of Victor, Idaho. The beer was called Lost Continent Double IPA and the label on each bottle was magnificent. Light blue and plenty of gold with the beer name rendered in a typeface along the lines of the old 15th and 16th century ships that sailed the high seas. A compass overlaid an old style map of what I’d say at first glance was somewhere in the Grand Tetons. Or not. Really nicely done. Each bottle came with gold foil wrapped around the cap and neck. Almost overkill trying to snazz-up the look and it delays the pour like a fresh roll of toilet paper delays the wipe.
The label had some necessary specs printed. Alc. 8% by Vol. and a date of 02/28/12. I feared that my beer was a year old and wouldn’t live up to the brewer’s standards. If I had spotted it at the point of sale, I’d certainly have second thoughts about buying the beer. Rather than drain the beer (gasp!) or give it away, I decided to drink it anyway, plugger style.
A visit to the brewery’s website revealed what the lost continent map was. It was Grand Tetonia depicting landmarks with perhaps the names of some of the brewers and workers there. They also have a spec sheet on Lost Continent beer. They seem to have had their way with this this beer in brewing with odd malts and hop combinations.
What puzzled me was the fact that the brewery sells this beer in four-packs for 10 bucks. It’s an 8% beer, yo. Old Chub, a Scottish ale is sold in sixpacks for the same price. It has the same ABV and even comes in cans. If they had added two more bottles and quoted a $14.99 price, it may be an even more of a better drinking time. But then, you’re getting into Hopslam territory. Maybe the gold foil is real gold.
The beer poured up with a nice yellow-orange color. The liquid was cloudy, translucent but I could see that there were tons of micro-bubbles slowly rising. The head came up a nice, creamy white and rose to a little over an inch. I could get a hint of the aroma from a distance. The beer smelled like hops and orange-red citrus fruits. This should be good.
The first sip came with a medium mouthfeel and a tad bit of sweetness. The swallow wasn’t as bitter as I was prepared more. The fruitiness was slow to develop, but I could sense that it was coming. Maybe as the beer got warmer and my mouth became used to the new taste, I’d get a more defined taste.
A few more sips later and the fruits finally came out of hiding. The taste was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the grapefruit tasting beers and into the darker, more orange fruitiness. I figure some tangerine or apricot, some mango which a skosh bit of honeydew melon. Sweetness started to permeate the entire mouth cavity. The beer wasn’t overly sweet, but it made for a nice, enjoyable flavor all the way through to the swallow.
The hop bitterness at the back was big and bold but not overwhelming. It seemed to come with the territory. And if it wasn’t there as much as it was, it wouldn’t taste as good as it did. (Did you follow that? I had to reread it twice.) The hops don’t particularly stand out as the star of the show but rather a high-powered rhythm in beer band. The flavors from front to back are nicely balanced and really enjoyable.
When I saw that the beer was rated at 8% alcohol, I was surprised that it still called itself a double IPA. I had this preconceived idea that DIPAs started at about 9% and went to maybe 11%. The good ol’ BJCP style book set me straight. This style starts at 7.5 goes to 10. It qualified for the name, even if it was at the lower end of the range. The taste characteristics are right on for this beer, matching perfectly with the other style descriptions.
It seemed that the date that was stamped on the label was irrelevant. The beer still tasted fresh and the flavors I experienced were pleasant and right on target with what I expected. Other than that, I have no explanations.
This is the special kind of IPA that I like. The tastes edging more toward the tropical fruits rather than the citrus ones. Lost Continent brings up memories of 3Floyds’ Zombie Dust or Arctic Panzer Wolf. To me this is a world class IPA.
To me, Lost Continent is one of those “me” beers, to be had when you’re feeling good about yourself. This is self-reward beer which doesn’t stop rewarding you until you’re done with it. A treat for the palate and reminiscences of that tropical island paradise you haven’t visited. Thankfully, it doesn’t come with a little umbrella in the bottle.
Taste: Sweet bitter from a remote island in the Pacific.
Smoothness: Slides down real nice like.
Drinkability: Easy going. I may not have enough.
Bang for the buck: Worth it for the taste. Not really worth it unless you buy two four-packs.
Amount paid: $9.99
Get it again? Oh, hell yeah. If I can find it.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Cloudy. (sniff) Citrus but not… maybe tangerine. Maybe a little apricotty. (sip) Bitter. (sip) I get the tropical fruits but the bitter is… blecchh! (O…K. There’s some chocolate icream in the freezer.)
Review by a guy named Cory [1:27]