Neptune: Lost and Grounded: Lost at Sea (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Darkened, slightly cloudy caramel brown. Massive loose bubbled caramel touched head.

Nose: Malt toffee and chocolate. Chocolate lime sweets. Lightly bready. Cake sponge.

Body: Good bitterness. Tart grapefruit touch. Dry pineapple. Charred bitter notes. Greenery. Ovaltine. Dry chocolate orange. Sulphurous and sour dough.

Finish: Grapefruit. Charred bitterness. Pine needles. Vanilla. Malt chocolate to ovaltine. Gunpowder tea. Orange juice hints. Chocolate orange. High hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Ok, this is, at the very least, slightly atypical for a a West Coast style IPA, but in a way I appreciate. Most west style IPAs I encounter are light and bright on the eye, with the malt out of the way, concentrating on a dry body and bitter hop character.

Now this is fairly dry and bitter hop forwards (Which makes me very happy) , but the malt, while not sweet or fully east coat, does show darker ovaltine to malt chocolate and toffee notes. Still dry, but more present that expected. What makes this work is that it seems to give a lot more grip for the tarter hop flavours to work from. On the lighter end you get clean grapefruit and orange, at the low end it mixed with the malt to give slightly sweeter but still dry choc orange and choc lime notes.

It is kind of a drier take on an East Coast malt in feel, if that makes sense, but apart from that has a distinct West Coast attitude, and has a lot of room for hop expression in bitterness, feel and flavours. You may notice I kind of skipped over the aroma here, it isn’t bad, just not showing that much compared to the rest of the beer. A hint of what may be in there, but definitely doesn’t properly represent the weight of flavour you get in the rest of the beer.

I have the feeling I won’t always be up for this particular take on the style, sometimes I will just want a clean West Coast IPA, but it is still a delicious take and I approve – and right now it works fine for me.

Not traditional, not one to always go to, but definitely a great beer that is at least ¾ of its claimed West Coast influence in its final style.

Very nice.

Background: Neptune is a new brewery on me, but Lost and Grounded is a familiar friend over at Bristol. This was one of many West Coast IPAs that came in to Independent Spirit recently. As a west coast fan I was overjoyed. So overjoyed I tried most without remembering to do notes on them. I remembered to do notes on this one. Yay! This lists Citra, Simcoe, Bravo and Columbus as the hops used. I don’t know much about Bravo but the rest are very good go tos for a nicely bitter IPA so I was hopeful. Went back to Garbage: Not Your Kind Of People for backing music, I only picked it up recently but it is already firmly a big hit with me.