Sip of Sunshine vs. Hardcore Chimera

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In the last few weeks I have sampled many different double IPAs. It’s summer time and the perfect weather to try all the American Double and Imperial versions of this old world style. Along the way I have learned there is serious passion about this style and it’s offerings. Full disclosure I am a hop head and I love IPA’s and the variations that are available these days. A good IPA with flowery fruity hop aroma and flavor is one of the perfect beverages of summer.

I can’t say I like every one of the IPAs I have tried, some were so lightly bodied and either overly fruity or bitter without any residual sweetness to balance out the brew. I wouldn’t say I hated any of them as ight and unbalanced that some are they still would be a decent chugger or lawn mowing beer if they weren’t over $10 a sixer or four banger but at that price point for me it isn’t worth it. No for me if I am going to pickup some quality I need to have hit on all cylinders to be truly enjoyable, aroma, fruit/spice and we bodied not watery is what I look for in a good IPA.

With that being stated lets get to the battle of two of the most recent Imperial IPAs I had the pleasure of kicking back and relaxing with in the summer heat! Lawson’s SOS versus Finch’s beer Co. Hardcore Chimera

Chimera
First up Finch’s concoction, beer profile provided by Beer Advocate. https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/25370/131188/
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Finch’s Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hardcore Chimera is an American style imperial IPA brewed with Citra, Simcoe, Columbus, Cascade and Mosaic hops. The beer won a silver medal at the 2014 International Beer Festival in Rhode Island. Ringing in with over 80 IBUs Hardcore’s intense aroma and flavor of passionfruit and citrus is balanced out against a hearty grain bill that lends to Hardcore’s deceptively drinkable 9% ABV.

This brew has that fruity flowery profile that a big IPA should have. The style is west coast IPA meets a bit of New England style Pale. The result is a medium bodied IPA with a beautiful smelling and tasting hop profile. It has a delicious balance of malty sweetness and fruity, slightly citrus notes finishing with a nice palate cleaning bitterness that you’d expect of an IDIPA. What is amazing about this beer is at 9% ABV you expect it to be more on the stringent alcohol side but it’s so smooth you wouldn’t take it for a 9% beer. Of course this can be dangerous as you don’t want to crush a whole 4 pack in one sitting unless you got nothing to do later and have designated driver! Always imbibe safely!

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I really enjoyed this beer. I love that it has a biscuity malty profile which gives the beer a good body and mouth feel. Weak bitter hop water this beer is not! Went perfect with Pizza and habanero chili. I can see this pairing well with grilled meats of most any kind and seafood like steam clams, lobster and crab. In any event this was my introduction to Finch’s Beer Co. So I am looking forward to trying the other offerings they have and the name hardcore Chimera is really coo. I didn’t know what the hell a Chimera was so I just looked it up. It’s a mythical greek beast which is pictured on the can. Interesting and kind of cool. In this day and age packaging and presentation of the can or label is a big marketing tool so this can will look pretty coo on my line up of dead soldiers! The BA is 90, outstanding and I agree maybe even for me it’s a 92 to 95 but I love the style and this version of the style but don’t take my word for it get you some and see for yourself!

Next up the beer I originally and mistakenly thought was brewed and distributed solely in VT.  As it turns out Sip Of Sunshine has been brewed at 2roads in Stratford CT. since sometime in 2014 and is regularly available in limited quantities all over Connecticut. When I picked it up I was excited because I never saw it in my local beer store and I was still under the aforementioned assumption.This beer has a lot of hype and a lot of loyal followers and people who love it. It probably has just as many people who hate it and hate it’s hype.

Sos
Here is the BA profile for it. https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/17980/117177/
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lawson’s Finest Liquids
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This lupulin-ladin India Pale Ale is packed with juicy tropical fruit character, bright floral aromas and delectable layers of hop flavor. Pour mindfully, inhale deeply and enjoy a tropical vacation in a glass. Always store cold, enjoy fresh and stay cool! Sip of Sunshine IPA is brewed by Lawson’s Finest Liquids at Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford CT.

This beer has an amazing aroma profile when first poured. It’s a hazy light orange and it smells like grapefruit, lemon and pine. The first few cold sips taste much like it smells with a light body and a very bitter finish to it. Many people don’t like this one for the extremely bitter finish and I can understand why as the brew warms up it looses some of that fruity piny flavor and it gives way to additional bitterness. This would probably be less of an issue if it were a little bit more balanced with a larger malt profile adding a little sweetness to it but it is light and super hoppy so you get mostly just bitterness.

I don’t mind the big bitter flavor per se but only if I am having one. I don’t think I would crack a second can after finishing one.

The head to head.
Putting these beers head to head SOS has a bigger bolder aroma profile then Chimera with more fruity florally notes especially at first pour. The first sip of each is pleasant big flavor coupled with big aroma. The SOS is very fruity and then very bitter, the Chimera is a bit less fruity but gives way to a much smoother and more bodied malty sweetness that at least for my tastes I enjoy more than the SOS. The Chimera’s flavor is also constant as it warms up it continues the hop aroma and fruity notes but as the beer warms a little more malty sweetness comes out with a bit more bitterness at the finish that is just very pleasant overall. The SOS looses a bit of that aroma and flavor and becomes bitter but without the malty warmth that Chimera brings. For me the Chimera is the winner head to head. You will likely disagree if you’re an SOS fan. The Chimera is also a hell of lot easier to find at least for me so it makes it into my regular rotation!

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