The Lion Brewery - Lionshead IPA
- ABV: 6.7%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 60
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Wide Flute
- Malts: 2-Row Pale, Caramel, and other Specialty Malts
- Hops: Cascade, Nugget, Centennial
Lionshead IPA is a relatively new beer, having been released just a few months ago. The brewery has joined the huge and growing trend in the craft beer world of canning their beer, which better protects the product from light damage and oxidation – and there's no bottle opener necessary! For the last couple years, we’ve seen more new craft beers hitting the market in cans than in bottles, so expect to see a predominance of cans soon, if you haven’t already. On the pour, this IPA presents an attractive medium-amber hue, capped by a big, fluffy head of khaki foam that retains extremely well and laces the glass nicely, too. On the nose, look for a blend of citrusy and floral hop notes with hints of stone fruit, pine, and herbal spice, all underpinned by soft caramel malt character. On the palate, we noticed right away that the malt profile is bolder than in many other IPAs, with prominent toasted and caramel notes. Hops came through for us with a bit of a woody character, plenty of herbal spice, and a citrus pulp impression, and we picked up a spicy thread of alcohol as the beer warmed in our glass. With a nice dose of Nugget hops contributing 60 IBUs, Lionshead IPA presents firm bitterness, but the caramel malt core offers a nice counterpoint. For pairing options, we'd play off the toasted and caramelized notes. A pizza with a top-notch crust would be a good call, as would a burger topped with grilled onions and aged Cheddar or Swiss. Roasted fowl with an apricot glaze could be nice, as well. Cheers!
Founded in 1905, the Lion is a venerable Wilkes-Barre institution, having survived the hard times that claimed many other local brewers prior to the modern craft beer renaissance. Initially known as the Luzerne County Brewing Company, the name was changed to its current moniker four years after its founding. During Prohibition, the brewery survived by brewing what was often called "near beer," which was legal since its alcohol content was only around 0.5% ABV.
The brewery was acquired by Ted Smulowitz in 1933, and the business remained in the Smulowitz family until 1993 when it became a publicly traded company. Eventually, the brewery returned to private hands in 1999, and it remains privately owned to this day. Known for its Lionshead brand, as well as for their Stegmaier line (a rival brand that they took over when Stegmaier closed in 1974), the Lion has also been an important contract brewer for many other beer companies over the years. With the craft beer boom currently in full swing, the road ahead looks bright for the Lion in its second century of operation. For more info, visit lionbrewery.com.
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