Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Southern Tier Heavy Weizen and Lighthouse Shipwrecked Triple IPA

These two beers have nothing in common, but Dave from beerinbc.com and I independently tried them both this week and chatted about them a bit — so they get a dual post. 

Southern Tier Heavy Weizen
Ever since Unearthly Imperial IPA I get pretty excited about each Southern Tier beer I get to try. The Unearthly is one of my IPA benchmarks — such a rich and chewy beer. Their Oat imperial oat stout, Hoppe, and Iniquity (a cascadian dark grandaddy) are all sublime too. Great NY brewery.

Naturally I was excited about this beer. The only other "imperial" hefeweizen I can get regularly is Howe Sound's sublime King Heffy (7% to Heavy's 8%). I like it so much that if I am ever in a BC liquor store and I see someone who cannot make up their mind what to buy, I force them to buy this beer. It's a high bar.

This is probably the fastest I have ever drunk a bomber of imperial anything. The Heavy Weizen's (maybe that's supposed to be one word...) strongest point is its smoothness. It goes down like a vanilla and banana milkshake, and finishes with such a perfect balance it's as if it was never there. Problem is, the King Heffy is very spicy and effervescent and heady and alive. That's a much better kind of hefeweizen. The Southern Tier one is remarkably drinkable, but pretty tame and forgettable. Dave really didn't like it. 

Me: Worth a drink just for the scarcity of this style, but I won't be buying another when the Heffy is available. 
Dave: "I wish I had king heffy instead of this shit"

Lighthouse Shipwrecked Triple IPA
When is a beer a double? That's a tricky question. I know that it is an imperial when one bottle makes me want to fight. But a triple? I don't get it. Let's see if their website helps: "Shipwrecked Triple IPA is a strong beer brewed in small batches using twice the regular kettle time, double the Pale Malt and triple the hops of a regular IPA." So mostly it has double ingredients, but triple the hops of whatever a "regular" IPA is (their Beacon IPA, I presume, which is reasonably hopped but not as much as many other west-coast style IPAs). 

This beer looks like Lucozade — the British energy drink that, I've just found out on wikipedia to my astonishment, is actually 0.1% ethanol. Shipwrecked weighs in at a more substantial 10%, so I would expect it to give me lots of energy indeed. 

The aroma off this beer is a briney-piney hop blast. Got a weird seaweedy smell to it, but I might be being influenced by the label. Really solid slug of orangey hops too. Good and interesting so far. Lighthouse are a local outfit and most of their beers are, to put it blunt, pretty run-of-the-mill, so it's exciting and out of character to see them bringing out a massive IPA. 

I didn't dig the initial taste too much at all. It has a coppery, rust flavour to it. The carbonation is quite high and it accentuates the metallic edge. Tons of booze too. But the aftertaste is pretty good. It tastes somewhere between clotted cream and butterscotch. After a good half of the bottle, sipped slowly, the beer warmed up and I stopped wincing at the initial flavour. By the end I was pretty pleased with it. 

Me: A flawed but ultimately quite enjoyable imperial IPA. Too many other strong contenders available to make it a regular buy for me.
Dave: "must be drank cold" <- completely contrary to my impression. 

Right, I promised myself a bottle of Driftwood's new Fat Tug IPA after I wrote this. It is time. Bye. 


  1. If you can get your hands on it try Les Trois Mousquetaires - Impériale Weizen. Incredible Beer!

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