Thursday, December 12, 2013

On the 9th Beer of Xmas, Lagunitas Shows Consistency is Key

POP QUIZ!!!  List the first 5 breweries that come to mind.... Ready? GO!!!


......Come on, what are you waiting for??

Yes, yes, I know you're here to read Beer411 certified suggestions that Katie and I might have for the holiday season, but it's time to see if you've been paying attention.  And no MACRO BREWERIES!!  Now, spill it... whacha got??

Ok, that's a good one.... 
ok, ok.... 
See!  There you go... you HAVE been paying attention!!

Alright... Every person reading this will probably come up with their own 5 breweries that instantly come to mind.  Popular ones like... Sam Adams.  Dogfish.  Sierra Nevada.  Anchor.  Stone.  Widmer.  Oskar Blues.  Shipyard.  Well, if one of the places you mentioned was LAGUNITAS, then bravo... you HAVE done your homework.  If you didn't, then allow me to introduce you.

Beer411 Readers, Lagunitas... Lagunitas, our Beer411 Readers.

Now that we are all acquainted, let me tell you why you NEED to know these guys out in California.

In the craft beer world, consistency is key.  I'm not saying that you have to conform to what people like to drink all the time whether you like it or not.  NO!! Try all sorts of ingredients in beer, crazy yeast, different malt bills, coriander, belgian sugars, honey, etc.  The CONSISTENCY that I'm referring to is quality.  Simply put:  MAKE. GOOD. BEER.  This is why Lagunitas should be apart of your short list of beers.  Need a hop bomb IPA, try their Hop Stoopid.  Looking for something a little more drinkable?  Fire up their DogTown Pale Ale.  Maybe you need Sumpin WILD like a Belgian IPA, then you need to have a Little Sumpin Sumpin Wild.  They cover a lot of different styles, and they're all pretty top notch.  Their 2013 Winter offering, The Hairy Eyeball Ale... is no different.  Chalk up another win for the peeps at Lagunitas.

Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Style: American Strong Ale
Abv: 9.4%

My friends Ian and Jim offered up their sophisticated palettes along with my own to determine what we thought of this beer.

As I poured this into my class... I was pleasantly surprised to see how clear this beer poured.  You could see right through the copper color.  Medium carbonation.  Since I gave the beer a slightly aggressive pour, I found myself with about two fingers of light tan/khaki head.

Do you smell that...?  I watched a short video on the Lagunitas website... they claimed that this is one of the maltiest beer in their collection, and boy do you get that on the nose.  Whaffs of toffee, brown sugar, sweetness.  Very inviting.

Flavorcountry... This is delicious. When I saw that this was categorized as a strong ale, I was concerned that the bitterness would be over the top.  Don't get me wrong, I love beers like Stone Arrogant Bastard, but this is a blog for the people, especially during the 12 Beers of Xmas Countdown.   But fear not readers, this Lagunitas offering has a solid malt backbone and hardly any bitterness on the finish.  Think "boozy werther's original".

Overall... I would easily buy this beer again.  At a hefty 9.4%, it's a great beer to buy and split with a few friends.  It'll get you warmed up on a frosty evening and THEN you can move onto your usual Sam Winter Lager or Harpoon Winter Warmer.  Yes, we all know the usual winter offerings, so switch it up a bit and impress your friends.  Lagunitas has great distribution on the East Coast so perhaps they've been at your local packy all along and you've simply just overlooked them.

Pairings, pairings, pairings... We had a great time with this beer as we labored over a game of Settlers of Canan.  However, if you fail to have this game nearby... then dive into this beer with some candied walnuts or perhaps some chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  If you don't have either of those, simply look for a dessert that isn't overly sweet... let Lagunitas do the work.

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