Growler Taste Test: Mystery Brewing Lockwood’s Retreat IPA

Mystery Brewing is one of my favorite brewers and they make some of my favorite beers to review (here and here).  The reason is simple.  While most of the rest of the craft beer world tries to find ways to make beer ever hoppier and find ingredients to blow people’s minds, Erik Lars Myers and his team go about their business making good beer.  Myers is on the leading edge of brewers who have realized that eventually you won’t be able to put anymore hops in beer and brewing beer with sriracha or scorpions or yeast from a brewer’s beard is a great gimmick.  However, that isn’t a sustainable strategy.  Instead Mystery concentrates on making flavorful beer using traditional ingredients in new and interesting ways.

20150628_215408Lockwood’s Retreat IPA may be the most traditionally American craft beer I’ve had from Mystery.  Lockwood’s Retreat is Mystery’s summer IPA offering.  The name comes from one of the narrators in Wuthering Heights, Mr. Lockwood.  Lockwood eventually retreats from the main characters’ raging emotional turmoil and Mystery developed this IPA developed as a retreat from the raging hops taste of most IPAs.

It pours a hazy dark color with an off white head. You get a lot of hops on the aroma, but it is more of a grassy and floral hoppiness that makes its hop profile more English in style while keeping the American hop intensity.  There is also a big malt aroma with bready sweetness.

The hoppiness continues with the taste.  Again, you get a grassy and floral taste as opposed to the citrusy and piney taste normally associated with the predominant West Coast IPAs.  The sweet maltiness holds up against the hoppiness creating a balanced beer.   This is the kind of beer you should give a friend trying to get into craft beer specifically IPAs.

The Spotify playlist for this beer was motivated by Mystery’s use of literature as inspiration.  Here are the songs with the corresponding literary parent.

  1. 2+2=5 by Radiohead – 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Christabel by Robert Earl Keen – Cristabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  3. Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police – Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov
  4. Eveline by Nickel Creek – Eveline by James Joyce
  5. The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen – Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  6. Venus In Furs by Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
  7. The River by PJ Harvey – The River by Flannery O’Conner
  8. The Sensual World by Kate Bush – Closing of Ulysses by James Joyce
  9. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  10. Toilet Tisha by Outkast – Poor Liza by Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin