Lompoc Strong Draft [July 2007]

Well, I've been stuck indoors all summer because of my motorcycle accident which has caused me to miss out on some of the heat and sunshine of the summer months here in Portland. Because of this, some of my summer picks are a bit untraditional for this time of year. Usually in July, a nice crisp Pale or Kolsch will cure the summer heat. However, trapped in an air conditioned room for the whole month, in quite a bit of pain, can change one's perspective. That's why this month's pick is a strong, fortifying, malty brew from New Old Lompoc: Lompoc Strong Draft or, LSD, and American Strong Ale.

Balance can be hard to find in Portland. Over-hopped beers on the other hand, are everywhere. It takes special skill to balance a strong malt backbone, not only with the right quantity of hops, but also the right types. In a perfectly balanced pint, the brewer must pay attention to the bittering hop balance as well as the flavoring hop balance. A high malt beer doesn't balance well with flowery or citrusy hops, but instead will use more earthy tones to complement the sweetness of the malt.

Lompoc's LSD does a great job with this balancing act, creating a great strong brew that's drinkable all year long. Of course, it's nice and warming in the winter, but for me this time, it's medicinal qualities made it perfect for my "Summer of Healing."