Over the last few months Columbus has been awash in some pretty impressive Imperial IPAs including the likes of CBC Creeper, Fathead’s Hop JuJu, North High’s Stardust to Stardust and Butch Otter, Great Lakes Chillwave, Seventh Son Proliferous, 2 Tones Space Lazer, and the ever rotating selection of Hoof Hearted double IPAs. If your palate hasn’t yet reached its lupulin threshold, here’s another contender to vie for your attention, Land-Grant Batch 300 Imperial IPA. Ever on the look-out for exceptional new beers I made my way down to the Franklinton tap room on Saturday night for a sneak peak.
- Brewery: Land-Grant (Columbus, OH)
- Style: Imperial IPA
- ABV: 8.0%
- IBUs: 69
Land-Grant IPAs typically have a little Vienna, Munich, and/or Crystal malt to add color and balance. For Batch 300 they relied exclusively on one of the palest malts available, Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt. Magnum hops are used for bittering, while Citra, Mosaic, and Motueka, a New Zealand hop known for imparting citrusy aromas reminiscent of limes, are used to deliver flavor and aroma. Sticking to the new school approach of downplaying bitterness while amping up aroma, Batch 300 sports only 69 IBU, a relatively modest figure for an imperial IPA that Land-Grant claims to have the most hops they’ve ever poured into a beer, 3.5 lbs per barrel including 22 lbs of Motueka in the whirlpool of the 40 bbl batch.
Pale golden in color and translucent, with a haziness that stops short of Hoof Hearted levels but is a far cry from the clear silhouette of Creeper or Hop JuJu. The tulip serving glass is topped with a modest fluffy white head about one centimeter high. The aroma reaches your nostrils before the glass gets anywhere close to your face, enticing you with a mixture of tropical fruits and freshly picked hops. On the first sip, a mélange of fruit flavors explode on your tongue. Maybe it’s the lime character of the Moteuka combining with the Pacific Northwest hops, but the taste evokes a white grape like fruitiness to me. The Land-Grant tasting notes describe it as a mojito-lime like aroma, which is not too far from the mark. The resinous hop flavors are not as pronounced in the taste as they are in the nose. The Bohemian pilsner malts only enter my consciousness at a subliminal level, but they do provide an excellent canvas for the hop flavors to shine. The mouthfeel is über dry from start to finish, so much so that drinking this beer almost makes me thirsty. The finish is clean and crisp with relatively little lingering bitterness. The 8.0% abv is dangerously well hidden, making it all too easy to throw a few of these back in a sitting.
It took 2 years for Land-Grant to reach Batch 200, an Imperial Stout released last fall in time for their anniversary party*, but only 6 additional months to reach Batch 300. I for one am not complaining about the shorter wait. The extreme fruitiness, restrained bitterness, and dry mouthfeel make this beer an experience almost like drinking a dry fruity white wine. I think Hoof Hearted’s Trevor Williams would approve. Just the ticket as the weather outside starts to heat up, but don’t wait around for dog days of summer to kick in. This is a limited one time only release, with only 200 cases going into distribution.
*As of Saturday Land-Grant was pouring a decadently, delicious barrel aged version of their Batch 200 Imperial Stout at the taproom. It’s a seriously good time to head over to Franklinton for a couple beers.
Rating scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers of this style, 8 = very good, a standout, 7 = a decent beer but there are better choices out there, 6 = below average, some flaws show through, 3-5 = poor, significant flaws and should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.