The absolute strangest thing happened when I bought this beer. I took it home, chilled it, opened it and drank it, then abruptly and suddenly, uncontrollably even, I began to sing California Love by Dre. Weird. A sip of this beer will make you forget a lot. The fact that California is poorer than bullish Enron investors, Arnold’s illegitimate child, and even Steve Jobs’ faulty liver all seem to get lost when drinking Lagunitas IPA, straight from the Bear Republic.
With so many craft brew choices yet to try, I often ignored Lagunitas. Then big brother was shipped to the west coast for graduate school, and I saw this picture (pictured right) pop up on is Facebook wall. How could I not pay attention after that? Demand must be pretty nice with that kind of supply.
With that image in my head, I went out and bought a single of the brew. Packaging of the beer is pretty nice, shorter bottles mean easier to fit in the fridge, and using animals to market is always a good idea (I’m convinced that’s the only reason why Sea Dog Brewery is still in business). However this dog doesn’t look very “California.” Not small, not cute, not ostentatious, and kind of old, but very real. The dog matches this beer in its straight forward, reliable taste. The brew pours an amber color and gives us an off-white, amber-hued head. The aroma coming from the head was of strong hops. It took a while for me to pick up anything else, but you do get some citrus in there, but really, really hoppy. The taste again was like the smell. I got the bitterness and taste of the hops right away, and the light citrus came out, but very little, if any, malt on this. This is a true IPA. The taste of the brew was like the dog on the cap: no frills, straight forward, and the brew wasn’t too cute. Not much complexity in the beer, but it delivered for what it was, and American IPA. It tastes cleaner than Harpoon’s IPA and the brew is very drinkable. Coming in at 6.2%ABV was also very welcoming and the alcohol was drowned out by the bitterness of the hops. Clean, refreshing, and recommended – B+