What the hell is in Vermont’s water? An easily forgotten about state, once jokingly known to most New Englanders as the Killington Ski Resort state, has emerged as a veritable Shangri-La within the craft beer world. People from around the world plan pilgrimages to Vermont in order to taste some of the renowned fermented liquids from the likes of The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids.
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 their vision statement 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 newly opening breweries, Lawson started out as a homebrewer, and also served as a brewer’s apprentice, before setting out to build his own brewery.
Today’s beer is Super Session #2. The Super Session Series consists of session style IPAs in which each iteration celebrates a different hop, although Lawson has said that some versions in the future may have hop combos. Version #1 showcased Citra, version #2 showcases Amarillo, and version #3 showcases Sorachi Ace. It should be noted that this beer was actually brewed on the system at Two Roads Brewing Co. located in Stratford, Conn. These sort of collaborations between breweries are indicative of the friendly upbeat vibe that permeates the arena of small brewing companies. Super Session #2 is described as having “a full malt flavor and assertive hop character with copious amounts of Amarillo hops late in the kettle and in dry hopping”.
Super Session #2 pours a gorgeous clear amber color with an excessive amount of white head. I’ll have to wait for the head to die down a bit before pouring the rest of the can into the glass. As I’m waiting patiently, juicy aromas of citrus and lemongrass fill the surrounding area. Move the nose a bit closer and the malt starts to present itself.
After pouring out the rest of the can, it’s finally time to start tasting Super Session #2. The very first thing I notice is the incredibly smooth bitterness that slowly creeps up and across the palate. I’m also presented with more citric juiciness and lemongrass. Malt presence is minimal as is the mouthfeel. I don’t think the excessive carbonation helps the mouthfeel, in reality, it probably exacerbates the thin water like consistency. If you look at low alcohol English brewed counter parts, the mouthfeel is thicker and creamier due, in part, by a lower level of volumes of carbon dioxide in the beer. Still, Super Session #2 is highly enjoyable and tasty session style IPA.