Monday, 6 June 2011

NOW DRINKING: Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA

Me and the Mrs used to be fans of tattoos. We were really close to getting massive, full-sleeve ones done, and then, like a lot of people, we didn't get around to it. It wasn't that we chickened out, we just lost the momentum for getting in it done. In idle moments, I still fantasise about getting a huge tattoo done - a massive hop cone on my back, maybe, or even on my stomach so that it will gradually change shape as I age and succumb to middle-aged spread.

I only mention this because when I looked at the label to this beer - a flaming wooden firkin - my immediate thought was: "Damn, that would make an excellent tattoo". Not that I'll ever get it done, but it was a surprisingly powerful reaction.

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA is a big beer, but surprisingly restrained. There a good, woody, piney, tropical-fruity hop character to the nose, and a faint hint of something that I struggle to grasp in the video - something pungently spicy, but earthy at the same time. On the palate, the 8%abv is hidden very well - there's a faint warmth on the gums and in the throat, and a telltale alcohol slickness to the swallow - but otherwise, this beer qualifies for the "ruinously drinkable" description. The pale malt on the palate offers a big, chewy sweetness in the mouth that is neatly counterbalanced as the bitterness kicks in after the swallow. It's a class act, and although it doesn't pack the absurd levels of dry-hop character that (for example) the new recipe Punk IPA does, this actually enhances the experience for me, giving it a smooth drinkability rather than a shrill, attention grabbing shriek.



  1. I like this beer a lot - it's definitely ruinously drinkable! I had a pint of it in New York last month and it was excellent. We tried to go up to the brewery as it's not too far out of NYC but we ran out of time. They sent this to GBBF a couple of years ago and it won US beer of the festival.

  2. Sounds great this one Zak. Have you got any in the shop? Might have to pay another visit if so!

    Btw I dashed off from the launch of the 7c's Summer Wine launch the other night at Foleys before you arrived. Would've been good to say hello in person. Another time perhaps

  3. Mark - indeed, although I don't seem blown away in the video, I really thought it was a great beer - it's not all about the fireworks.

    Neil - sadly not, but maybe we'll look at getting some over soon. And I'm sure we'll meet eventually.

  4. Well done, great review! CLBC does some really great stuff and I love the color of the Imperial IPA. It's dangerously good!

  5. A Burning Barrel tattoo!?
    I'll definitely be sticking to tribal or abstract work myself.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.