Lawson’s Finest Liquids started in March of 2008 in the small town of Warren, Vt.
Sean Lawson, head brewer and namesake of the brewery, describes his vision statement for Lawson’s Finest Liquids as
High on a hill, in the Sugarhouse Brewery, small batches of the finest beer are carefully tended to bring you a remarkable beverage that is only available in the heart of the Vermont Green Mountains.
Like many other newly opening breweries, Lawson started out as a homebrewer, and also served as a brewer’s apprentice, before setting out to build his own dream brewery.
Today’s beer is Sip of Sunshine. Lawson’s clearly displays the letters IPA on the front of the can, however at 8 percent this beer is above the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) threshold of 7.5 percent for an American IPA. It is difficult to know how it stacks up to the rest of the defined limits for category 21A without knowing the other numbers for IBUs, original gravity and final gravity.
Ultimately, I don’t think the extra half percent is going to make or break the beer but to add to the confusion Lawson has stated, “I created this beer to be very similar to the Double Sunshine IPA, but slightly different!” What is the alcohol content of Double Sunshine IPA? If you guessed 8 percent then you deserve a cookie… or a beer.
Lawson’s has a contract with Two Roads Brewing Co. in which Lawson has the opportunity to go down to Stratford, Conn. and brew Sip of Sunshine in the Two Roads brewhouse. This has increased the amount of beer to go around but is still minuscule in comparison to the demand. The label for Sip of Sunshine is playful, quirky, and just a bit blithe. Your typical bearded manly beer geek doesn’t want to be seen drinking from a can with a cute eclectic sun and bubbly letters on it. It should have something macabre, e.g. a demon ripping someone’s head off or a vengeful Norse god in full regalia. Kudos to Kerrin Parkinson for creating a beer can design that helps invoke the state of repose.
Into a Spiegelau IPA glass, Sip of Sunshine pours a deep amber color with a massive rocky head and a clear body. Just like Super Session #2, I have to wait for the head to recede before pouring out what is left in the can. This beer is bursting with aromas; juicy ruby red grapefruit and clementines followed by a touch of dank, and even a bit of bergamot to round things out.
Diving in, or diving out as it would be, Sip of Sunshine delivers a smooth bitterness that creeps up slowly across the palate. Just like the aroma, tons of citrus is at the forefront in taste. It is a little bit tart but I think that works here, existing in conjunction with all of the grapefruit and tropical fruit rather than in contrast to them. The mouthfeel is as bubbly and lively as the lettering on the can, and yet has a weight that is heavier than what I expected. Some malt is indeed detectable but is kept in check with what my father would describe as “entirely too much hops.” I say screw the trademarks, Sean Lawson should have named this beer “Not your Father’s IPA.”