Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
This week’s beer was courtesy of a trade. For some bizarre reason, my local beer store had four-packs of The Alchemist’s Focal Banger, which is definitely a holy grail beer as far as I’m concerned, and since I was jonesing for it, I grabbed some. Sitting right next to the Focal Banger was what my friend purchased, which was also limited to one four-pack per customer, and that was Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Double Sunshine. Since I had never tried Double Sunshine, despite knowing it was currently being distributed in my area, we swapped one 16-ounce pounder can.
Located just a short drive outside of Burlington, Vermont, Lawson’s began as a one barrel nano-brewery founded by Sean Lawson and his wife Karen Lawson back in 2008. Both graduates of the University of Vermont, he with a Bachelors in Environmental Science and a Masters in Forestry and her with a Masters in Public Administration, the couple spent the previous 20 years homebrewing and decided to expand. Within no time, they were beginning to make waves in the northeast and across the United States. Within just a few years, Lawson’s maple beers and specialty IPAs earned a number of various awards, including a silver medal at the 2011 World Beer Cup and a prestigious silver medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Add on Brewbound’s 2018 Rising Star Award and it’s clear why Lawson’s specialty beers are becoming harder and harder to find.
These days, Lawson’s remains dedicated to providing drinkers with the highest quality liquids, though now the company does many of its flagship beers on a much larger scale – thanks to an alternating proprietorship at Two Roads Brewing Company in Connecticut. And while Sip of Sunshine remains one of the best IPAs available in my book, I was intrigued to delve into something else of Lawson’s.
Double Sunshine is an 8.0 percent ABV American Imperial IPA that boasts a luscious fruity and juicy character. Brewed with oats and several different kinds of malts, as well as Columbus and Citra hops, it’s a beer that’s meant to be enjoyed fresh and one of a dozen of the company’s packaged brews. Lawson’s even one-upped it with Triple Sunshine, a Triple IPA that has been dry-hopped like crazy. As for Double Sunshine, it’s label features a similar style to the other Lawson’s offerings I have seen out in the wild. The label is entirely orange with just a little black strip at the top and an orange, red and yellow sun in the middle. It offers some information about what the drinker is going to consume, including some background on the company and its location:
Our American Double India Pale Ale is packed with juicy lush fruit character and dank herbal aromas, thanks to the abundance of U.S. grown hops. Lawson’s Finest Liquids is a family owned, award winning brewery located in the picturesque Mad River Valley. Visit our brewery, retail store and hand hewn timber frame taproom in Waitsfield, Vermont.
It seemed like the perfect beer for my tulip glass and when I popped this can open and when brought in my nose to snag a whiff, I noticed the smell of Double Sunshine is big, with a delightful tropical blend that features tangerine and orange, among other fruit scents. There’s also a hint of something sweet in there, maybe honey perhaps, that syncs up with the hop scent I noticed. As I poured it, I got a lot of off-white fluffy head, the most I have seen in a recent beer. Honestly, I’m always a fan of more head for a beer like this and I think it shows off the excellent carbonation here. It’s medium-bodied, smooth and orange-amber in color – a pretty beer that’s a little different looking than many of its counterparts that I have come across in the past.
The first thing I noticed was a sweetness right from the beginning. It tapers off, making way for a dank tropical taste similar to the smell, complete with what I believe to be orange zest and other citrus notes like tangerines, mangoes and grapefruit. Double Sunshine finishes with a little bit of both maltiness and bitterness on the back-end for a very enjoyable finish, to be honest.
I am definitely a fan of this beer, as it’s well executed and more on the juicier end of the DIPA spectrum, while being easy to drink. I could sit down and enjoy a couple of these in one sitting. There’s really not much here that needs to be improved upon, but if I’m nitpicking, maybe a little more pine flavor, though, like I said, I thought the finish was smooth and delicious. On BeerAdvocate, the average score out of more than 2,400 ratings is a very impressive 4.64 and I wouldn’t be too far off of that, maybe a little lower at 8.2 out of 10. Double Sunshine is on that next-level tier, just below those holy grail beers, and really worth seeking out – Lawson’s is two-for-two in my book so far.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.