Salute Captain Lawrence

Captain Lawrence Brewing

It’s not every brewery that is named for a street, but this name comes from Captain Lawrence Drive, and Owner/Brewer Scott Vaccaro’s journey went from South Salem to UC Davis and back, by way of Sierra Nevada. The tasting room is open, noisy, and friendly with a mix of high-top bar tables, picnic tables, and folks standing around barrels to sip or quaff. On Good Friday, only pizza was available, but how many places have a pizza with Brussel Sprouts? Not for me, but very creative. I was here on a Friday, but tours are available on Saturday and Sunday.

Palette ShifterThis isn’t a full review because it’s based on 3 or 4 ounce tastes, rather than full portions.

We led off with Helles Hot, a simple, crisp, refreshing pale lager. A nice blend of malts leads the way. One could have quite a few of these as a session. This would be very good with simple fare, light cheese up to bratwurst. 4.5% ABV

Liquid Gold is a fine entry point for those who like Belgian ales. This is a nice golden ale with spice and orange over clean malt, with a hint of herbs that must come from the hops, but the hops remain in the background. Deceptive 6.5 % ABV.

Spring Buzz is another very clean lager in the Kolsch style, hints of honey, totally restrained hops and clear malt. I must say that Captain Lawrence does the clean German styles just as well as they do the hop-forward or hop-hammer stlyes. 6.5% ABV, even more deceptive than the Liquid Gold.

Effortless Session IPA is just that, emphasizing moderate citrusy hops over light malt. One could drink quite a few of these as a very satisfactory session. The aroma is really nice, moderate citrus, then more grapefruit comes in on the flavor. Mosaic and Palisade hops, and at this stage of my development I’m not sure which is which. 4.5% ABV

Captain’s Kolsch is another clean and crisp lager with little hop bitterness over a touch of fruit and solid bready malt. That malt persists from nose to finish, and maybe a touch more hops than the Spring Buzz. Here we have a flagship brew, very reliable. 5% ABV

Hop Commander IPA emphasizes dry hopping for extra aroma, and it really pays off with citrus, leading right into a grapefruit note on the palette. The bitterness is very restrained, almost restrained enough for those who don’t like hops (which usually means they don’t like the bitterness.) 6.5% ABV

Unfiltered Seeking Alpha with Cascade Hops and Pineapple. This was a cask ale, room temperature and thus deliberately flat. It was cloudy and looked like apricot nectar, and perhaps because of that appearance it seemed to have a nectar quality though it was not, in fact, sweet and nectary. Still, the consistency was creamy and mouth filling. Here’s a triple IPA where the hops end up quite restrained. This was the most interesting brew of a very interesting set. I guess this one is experimental and does not yet have its own name.

Palate Shifter IPA pours pale gold with a foamy 1/4″ head. Nose of medium cat-pee hops leaning to the herbal over bready malt, growing quickly as the beer warms from refrigerator temperature. Fills the mouth with malt-ball malt and bread, moderate herbal hop flavor. The finish is more malt than hop, lingering for a couple of minutes. The glass is heavily laced as the level goes down. This is a transitional hop between the entry drug and hophead levels. I had this one in the tasting room and then again when I got home. 9% ABV

Smoke Up Smoked Porter, pours very dark, basically black, with a very light smoky nose. There’s no bacon on the nose, but I can sense it on the palette, and it fills the mouth with roasty malt. This would be a good pairing with hearty food. 6.5% ABV

Seeking Alpha labelSeeking Alpha Triple IPA I had the cask unfiltered pineapple version at the brewery, and the bottled version at home. Pours light amber with twice the head of the Palate Shifter and sustained by the swift-rising bubbles. The nose has a piney, barnyard layer of hops over light malt. Effervescent, palatte-coating dry molasses, if such a thing can exist. The flavor is not heavily hopped, mostly a light but solid maltiness. The restrained bitterness lingers through a long finish. This 11% ABV is truly deceptive and could knock you on your ass if you’re not aware. Generally, all of Captain Lawrence is deceptive in terms of alcohol content, with a smoothness that masks the alcohol content. This is perfect for a relatively short session!

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