FROM ITS DARK amber color and creamy hill of a head it’s evident that Lost Continent is no standard IPA. Initially a part of Grand Teton’s limited Cellar Reserve series, the beer was popular enough to become a recurring seasonal with a few recipe tweaks. IBUs are calculated around 100 from three pounds of hops per barrel (i.e. a lot) and half a pound more for dry-hopping. Anyone familiar with West Coast IPAs will recognize the usual suspects here: Bravo, Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe, and Chinook all added in various stages throughout the boil. Lost Continent is a little unusual in that it uses Columbus in more than a bittering role (adding it for flavor and aroma as well), but this is increasingly a common practice as hop lovers’ palates continue to callus.
All those additions makes for a potent flavor, to be sure, comprised mostly of pine, pithy grapefruit, and herbs. The malt bill provides a medium-light body, estimated around 2.5 Plato, with European specialty malts adding color and dollop of sweetness at the midsection. This locks in smoothly to the middling carbonation levels and bit of slickness from the 8% ABV. The finish is lasting and slightly dank and musty, reflecting the liberal use of Columbus in all stages of the boil.
The overall impression is forceful but lacking in precision, and one wonders whether Grand Teton couldn’t have made an equally good beer with only two-thirds the ingredients. Still, it makes sense that the brewery’s fans clamored to have this back in the rotation, considering how Grand Teton has largely avoided the entire IPA category until recently. But starting with a Double IPA was an overreach. Better to have mastered the style’s fundamentals and explored its nuances via a less extreme recipe, which would have served them better in the long run (not least economically). But that’s not the American way, now is it?
Served: 750 ml bottle