April 26th, 2009 beckel
I saw some news about this beer a week or two ago and was ever so pleased to see it on the shelves of Sorella yesterday after some tasty brews at Town Hall to wrap up a relaxing 40 mile bike ride. Lagunitas made this beer to commemorate the decline of 2008 and complications of 2009 and hopes for more wisdom in the future. The bottle insists that “This is NOT a Double IPA” and rather “It’s just a good American Ale” and perhaps they want this humbleness to persist into our future. Though I can safely say they don’t appear to be toning anything down as I can smell the wonderful hop aromas of this beer calling me from my desk. This beer pours an incredibly translucent light amber color and produces a solid two fingers of pure white head that cascades very nicely, dissipating in a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing. Aroma is of pine, a bit of citrus and further bittering hops and only a little bit of malt sweetness and floral hop notes. The flavor of this beer is quite interesting. Tastes of rich pale malts that have much more character than you find in most Pale Ales, the sweetness is wonderfully offset by the hops used that create a myriad of flavors from more bitter pine to more subtle apricot and sweeter orange citrus. From the aroma I expected a more intensely bitter brew but what it has to offer is perhaps more intriguing. The body of this beer is relatively light and the mouthfeel is very smooth and clean. This is simply a wonderfully balanced brew and after just the first sip or two I understood what they meant; this is just one good American Ale. This is really one solid ale that helps blur the lines of our American Pale Ales and American IPAs. While I would be inclined to call it an IPA who gives a damn, with a 6.33% ABV this ale can be suitable for any good American Ale fan. Though definitely more robust and hoppy than many Pale Ales out there I think this beer is a perfect accompaniment for pretty much any situation so long as your not afraid of bitterness. Though our 401K’s may be shrinking Lagunitas continues to grow and craft us more and more wonderfully creative beers. Though unfortunately this beer only comes in 22oz bombers I will certainly be picking up a few more. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
March 12th, 2009 beckel
Today I get to enjoy a beer that has been tempting me from my fridge for far too long. I was first alerted of what is sure to be a wonderful beer by my buddie Dirtyspeed from Friday Night Beer a few weeks ago and was happy to see it on the shelves of The Four Firkins while picking up my Tres and other goodies. Lagunitas makes some delicious ales and I can’t wait to see what they produce when they take 102 IBUs and craft an Imperial IPA. The limited post on Lagunitas Brewing’s web page currently states “So Hoppy that it threatens to remove the enamel from one’s teeth.” so I figure the only sane thing to do is dig right in! This ale pours a rather light completely translucent copper color that would make me assume less of this ale if it weren’t for the massive hop aroma I encountered as soon as I opened the bottle. Pure white head was a solid three plus fingers that remained for a good ten minutes with a very thin layer persisting indefinitely and a good deal of lacing remaining all around the glass. Aroma is wonderfully hoppy, grapefruit and other tart citruses as well as a hint of pine and a tad of bitterness that is easily masked by a sweet orange citrus and a little bit of malty sweetness. Flavor is quite nice if your a fan of hops. I get largely orange citrus that is much less sweet than in the aroma and a very hoppy and bitter finish with some nice pine and grapefruit hints. A sweet malt flavor is present as well but is easily distracted from by the massive hop profile of this beer.Â For a brew with so much hops the body is light and the mouthfeel in only a little sticky. With a 7.7% ABV this ale is rather conservative for an Imperial brew but I think the sheer amount of hops used makes up for it. Not quite as easy to drink as their Maximus IPA [review] but a perfect beer for hop heads and one I would happily consume any day. Though this ale is not for those weary of hops the sweet malt hint in this brew does a fine job balancing out the bitterness and making it not too over powering for those who may be afraid of an incredibly bitter brew and as usual the more you allow it to warm up the more noticeable the sweetness. Would be a solid beer for any spicy meal, yet it does not murder the palate with bitterness. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 31st, 2008 beckel
Today we have another creative ale from the inventive minds of Lagunitas Brewing to enjoy on this Happy New Years Eve! This beer was brewed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention’sÂ album of the same name and apparently Lagunitas plans to continue to release one special beer in honor of the 40th anniversary of every studio album by Zappa. A very nice concept and wonderful tribute, it will be interesting to see what they come up with next time. Though Lagunitas insists this is a “DoppaDooAyDoo Style Ale” the word on the street is that it is an Imperial Stout with a solid 8.6% ABV and that’s good enough for me to be curious. I’ll have to determine who I agree with after giving it a shot, so on we go. This beer pours with a solid three fingers of wonderful frothy head that tastes quite sweet and is a solid, relatively dark tan color. After settling for a few minutes there is still a nice fine layer present and plenty of lacing on the glass. Color is very black with only a little bit of a red hue shining through when brought to light. Aroma is of malt, malt and more malt. Some sweet creamy smells, others slightly roasted, all dark. Not bad at all, upon my first sip I thought there wasn’t too much to the flavor until I started swallowing and noticed all of the interesting roasted flavors, reminding me of charcoal and making me wish I’d cooked up my steak first. The initial taste is simple and on the sweet side but not overbearing in any way. As it finishes you are left with a much drier and unique roasted malt flavor. The body is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit on the dry side for a brew but it is very easy to drink so long as you don’t mind dark stouts. For the lack of intense flavors other than toasted malt this beer does a darn good job covering up the alcohol, you can tell it’s there but it doesn’t taste like ethanol at all. After drinking close to half a bottle I am noticing an almost fruity characteristic but it is hard to pinpoint, more in the pitted fruits category and certainly not dominate at all. Definitely an interesting brew and something that should be very approachable for someone wanting to try an Imperial Stout. Unfortunately I only have one bottle because a stout would go lovely with the meal I plan to cook up momentarily, oh well. To all a good new year, and be safe out there. As always give it a shot and ride your bike, even if it is snowy out there and only getting colder.
December 17th, 2008 beckel
The first time I bought a bottle of Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout I was too impatient to write up a review and was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to find another bottle as it is part of their Limited Release series but I was pretty confident I would be able to find more as I have seen it on the shelves of a number of local liquor stores. Their website doesn’t have any information about this brew but the bottle has a nice little ode to coffee that I’m sure many of you would appreciate and concur with. I happen to not be a coffee drinker but I’ll happily suffer through another bottle of this brew for you my loyal readers, my life is hard what can I say. This beer pours a very dark flat black color that is quite opaque tho some red hues come through when brought to light. Producing a good inch and change of light tan head that lasts for a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing on the glass and leaving a solid ring around the liquid level. This ale smells of nice rich roasted coffee that is dominate but not overpowering, complimented by some slightly sweet dark maltiness, very nice. This is absolutely a coffee beer. Tastes mostly of freshly roasted coffee with some roasted malts coming in to remind you that your drinking beer. After all of the roasted flavors you get a nice almost creamy sweetness that helps balance the dominate dark coffee flavors and easily hide the solid 8.29% ABV of this brew. The body of this beer is medium but the creamy smooth mouthfeel makes this a quite drinkable beer provided you are used to big beers and don’t mind a dark ale. If you like stouts and coffee this is unquestionably a beer for you. For those who do not like roasted flavors you should probably stay away, though you may still be able to enjoy it in small quantities because of the sweet balance that rounds off this brew. Another impressive showing from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Though coffee beers aren’t exactly my thing I sincerely hope they make this a regularly brewed beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
November 8th, 2008 beckel
So today we have the lovely session topic sent in by Matt C. of A World of Brews: What is your favorite beer and why? When initially reading this topic I as I’m sure many others did simply said; Fuck. With all of the great beers out there in this world, I have to choose one that is my favorite? As I rattled through my favorite beers I also had the conundrum that I have wrote about many of my favorite beers already, what was I to talk about. Then it came to me. My favorite beer is a beer that I haven’t had yet. I enjoy nothing more than walking through a liquor store and finding a craft beer or even a brewery I have never had the opportunity to sample. Furthermore any day I can find a brew that was obviously brewed with heart and an adventurous spirit all the better. Isn’t this why we love good craft beer? Conveniently I have just the brew sitting in my fridge. Lagunitas is a brewery from Petaluma, California that has recently returned to distributing to Minnesota. I have read about this brewery a number of times and they seem to be fun spirited, creative and straight forward and I have been awaiting the day I would find some of their brew on the shelves. So when I saw a bottle of their IPA Maximus I knew the time had come as Imperial IPA’s tend to be my favorite style. As you pour this beer it appears hazy as the carbonation cascades but once it settles this beer ends up completely transparent and a reddish copper in color. Off white head is relatively minor producing just under an inch, with most of it settling rather quickly. The aroma of this beer is wonderful, hoppy goodness is all over this beer, robust and bitter but still smooth with a few sweet scents. I’m glad I chose to open this beer today, it is immensely flavorful. Bitter flavors hit the tongue first and fill the mouth with a well rounded hop taste but malt flavors slip in adding a nice sweet balance to this brew. This is a full flavored beer but its mouthfeel is reasonably light as is the body. With a 7.5% ABV a few of these would be a delight any time of the year if you enjoy a good hop filled Imperial IPA, I will certainly have to purchase a some more. Now if I really have to answer the question of my favorite beer I currently can’t help but say Surly Furious. Of course as a Minnesota brew I can’t help but have a bias for it but Surly Brewing is a wonderful company and their Furious needs no bias to be enjoyed. My review of this wonderful IPA can be found here. Any hop love who doesn’t mind some nice bitterness will enjoy both of these beers. Give them a shot and ride your bike.