Many months ago, Brother Barley so blessed me with a Golden State package just oozing with sudsy goodness.  Well, maybe it wasn’t sudsy goodness so much as sticky, moldy, goo-laiden bottles immersed in a sea of shrapnel.  As my package sat at the post office for a long, hot week, the remaining contents took on a rather unsightly look and stench of despair.  Upon arrival, the post master handed me my sodden box and asked quite kindly to remove the stinking contents from his office before he thought better of asking me to open it.  After picking through the mess, I found that with the exception of distorted labels and grime around the rims, most of the bottles survived the trauma.  As such, I dispatched each and every beer within just a few days and thanked the good Brother for his kindness and exquisite tastes (Including my first sample of Deschutes, ever).  Long story short, but not really, I was quite surprised this weekend to find an unclaimed bomber sitting in my basement with a waterlogged label and rusted cap sitting atop.  Behold!  The last bottle has been found!

Mission Brewery is a small outfit that got back into the brewing business as recently as 2007 (Minor lapse in service due to prohibition, and plundering).  With just a few beers in the lineup, it’s not surprising this San Diego area brewer has not made their way into my East Coast homeland as of yet.  Brother Barley, knowing my pension for IPA’s and particularly Southern Cali IPA’s, must have taken a shot in the dark with this fella.  Let’s see what Mission has to offer.

NOTES: Bomber, poured into a shaker

STYLE: Imperial IPA

ABV: 9.25%

APPEARANCE: Orange, very light, not much haze to speak of.  Clean looking.

HEAD: Minimal head, dissipates just beyond arrival.  Just wisps left at the top of the glass.

LACING: While the head wasn’t there, the lacing on the glass produced intricate bubbles throughout.

NOSE: Piney, grassy hops.  Earthy freshness.  Caramel malts intermingle with slightly bready tones.  Some citrus and tropical hops, but the predominant nose comes from fresh pine (Not overpowering though)

TASTE: Carmel notes again and again, touch of sweetness in the front and back with a bready dryness in the middle.  I know I’m just repeating the nose, but the two aren’t all that far apart in this brew.  Bitterness comes from an overall earthy feel rather than the piney hops.  For all the hops in the nose, not much comes out in the taste as the final notes are incredibly balanced between bitter and sweet.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium weight, about what you’d expect in an Imperial IPA.  Mild carbonation.

DRINKABILITY: Here’s where the Shipwrecked really shines.  9.25% ABV?  I would have guessed 6%, and you could convince me that it was even less.  Just didn’t find any alcohol burn or anything to suggest that the beer I just drank was a high gravity offering.  Again, it’s the balance of bitter to sweet with a medium to light body that pushes the score up on the drinkability factor.  The bomber was gone before I knew it.

RATING: 3 Hops


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