Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Imperial IPAs — Lompoc vs. Natian

Lompoc Brewing
C-Sons Greetings
Imperial IPA
ABV 8%

Natian Brewery
Old Grogham
Imperial IPA 
ABV 8.5%
It's a Portland showdown! Lompoc represents the wily old veteran (founded in 1993) and Natian plays the part of the cocky new kid on the block (founded in 2009). Tasting was conducted blind as usual.

Beer #1 (Natian Old Grogham) was hazy brown with some orange around the edges and featured a huge head of foam. The aroma had some tropical fruit, caramel malts and a disconcerting chemical note. The flavor also had that chemical/cleaning solution profile and the finish was more malty and roasty than hoppy, with a mildly bittersweet chocolate and burnt wood finish.

Beer #2 (Lompoc C-Sons Greetings) was almost the exact same color as the Natian but had no head at all. The aroma featured lots of molasses along with some grassy hops. The flavor was strongly malty with some underlying fruitiness. It finished with a floral maltiness and a nice medium bitterness.

Interesting that neither of these Imperial IPAs seemed to show off their hops that well. Both were predominately malty and sweet which is the case with many Imperial IPAs. In our experience IIPAs usually fall into two styles: one leaning on a sweet maltiness and the other on a huge, bright and bitter hoppiness. We have no doubt that both are generously hopped, but sometimes the malts just win.

We both ended up choosing the Lompoc. It was a rich and warming brew that really made sense as a winter seasonal. With further research I found that the Natian Old Grogham had some rum soaked oak spires added during fermentation. Perhaps that explains what we perceived as a strange roasty, chocolaty and woody finish. We're all for adding complexity with spirits-soaked wood, but in this case we felt it actually detracted a bit from the beer.

Unanimous decision: Lompoc C-Sons Greetings

No comments:

Post a Comment