Santa has put out the presents and eaten the cookies and candy left for him, and the
guinea pigs, I mean reindeer, have munched on the carrots. Time to grab one last beer whose label suggests Christmas, even if its name doesn’t.
Lagunitas Sucks is one of those beers Lagunitas Brewing has sent to me in December 2017 for my comment, and this one kind of got put away for an appropriate occasion. You know how Christmas stuff kind of pushes other things off to the side. So it was with this one. But this year, for sure!
There’s a story behind Lagunitas Sucks. Isn’t there always. It seems that one year, as the original Lagunitas brewhouse was churned out beers at full capacity, they realized thy could not spare the extra time on the schedule to make their regular Christmas Beer, Brown Shugga barley wine (which I covered here). So they came up with what they called a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats, a large malt bill, but one which offered up an abv of 8.0%, rather than the 9.7% for Brown Shugga. Less time in the brewkettle, I guess. Even so, this proved popular enough to be brought back every year.
Since this is two years old, and probably has had a chance to let its malts turn, I’m going into this with an open mind. First off, the color is a bright brass, with a white foamy head that leaves behind a decent bit of lacing. The smell has all malts to it, and there is a bit of phenol to it, meaning there is a bit of staleness. But, the phenol goes away when I taste it. I get an amplified beer taste, with some hoppiness there to knock back any sweetness. And I’ll note that they don’t mention much about the hop varietals in the description.
This is described as an “American Strong Ale,” one of those catchall style names that covers any number of beers, so long as they’re not malt liquors. This is indeed not a sipper by any means, and that’s mostly from the unheralded hop bitterness.
Check out some of my archived Christmas time beer reviews at the Christmas Beer tag. And have a Happy Xmas!