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Beer #63 – March 5, 2010: Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA

March 10, 2010

I’ve extended IPA “Week” by one more beer… like Dogfish Head 90 Minute, this one is an Imperial IPA (meaning a bigger, higher alcohol version of the classic style) hailing from nearby Pleasantville, New York.

Beer: Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA

Brewery: Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Pleasantville, New York

Style: Imperial IPA (India Pale Ale)

Serving Type: 16.9 oz bottle

Price: $3.99 / bottle

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Glass Mug

Strength: 9.0% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Nice malt-hop balance.  I mean, this has some serious hop flavor, but enough maltiness so that it is not overly acidic or bitter.  A big beer that is full-flavored and satisfying without being aggressively “in your face.”

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy pale orange-gold with a big and frothy white head.

Aroma: A melding of various classic hop aromas: herbal, grassy, mild citrus, a little pine

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick with tiny bubbles of carbonation combining for a nice, full mouthfeel.

Taste: Starts with a caramel, bready, malty sweetness, followed by a bit of fruit: crisp Bosc pair and Fuji apple.  The beer becomes much more dry in the middle with mineral notes, earthy (like rich soil), floral, green grass and pine grove… Springtime in a bottle on a brisk March day!  A tanginess comes forward, leading into a refreshingly moderately bitter finish.

Pairing: I paired this with a variation on a classic Ploughman’s lunch: a couple of cheeses, deep smoked ham, fruit, flatbread and a crisp Kosher dill pickle.  The herbs of the Boursin meld nicely with the hops, while a creamy, nutty, young Manchego accentuates the fruit flavors in the IPA.  The deep smoked ham brings forward the tanginess.  And the salty, tart pickle is a nice contrast to everything on my plate and in my mug.

Trivia: A Ploughman’s Lunch originated in England, where this cold meal almost always includes cheese, bread, a pickle, among other delights, and of course, a pint of beer.  There are disputes over its exact origin, but it is a classic pub offering, and the component foods all go great with beer.  It makes for a great picnic anytime of year.


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