Tasting Notes: Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasSuperClusterPourFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we start the week with a Citra-saturated siesta made possible by a pour of Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Described as a “galactic blast from the glass”, Super Cluster is an “out-of-this-world” Pale Ale brewed with “2-Row Malted Barley, a helluva lotta hops – Citra, Citra, Citra, and some more Citra, . . . and . . . dry-hopped . . . with 100% Citra.” Clocking in at 8% ABV and 60 IBUs, Super Cluster promises to be a “Citra supernova in the sky, jettisoning lupulin lusciousness through the cosmos and across the universe of your palate.”

Super Cluster is out now and will be available through September.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.

Now that we have gone over the necessary background information, let’s bear witness to the Super Cluster by giving it the Tasting Notes treatment!

Tasting Notes for Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  Super Cluster presents itself as an orange-tinted, deep golden colored brew that has right at a finger of luscious, bright white foam sitting on top.  Held to direct light, the color holds while taking on a bit of a glow.  The beer is pristine in clarity and displays a highly active carbonation level coursing within.  Retention is good, but the lacing has a tough time taking hold due to how slick the beer is on the glass.

Aroma:  Sticky, tropical hop goodness just billows from the glass as big waves of grapefruit collide with passionfruit and musky lychee.  Lemon and lime add some brightness to the hops while a bit of mango imparts a rounding touch of sweetness that helps point out the modest malt presence.  The profile closes with a dank hop character that is both resiny and floral.

Taste:  As expected, this beauty is all Citra hops . . . but they kind of creep up on you by opening oh-so softly with sweet tones of melon, lychee and mango.  That reserved introduction proves to be short-lived as sharp notes of grapefruit zest, pith and juice lash out and grab hold of the taste buds.  The citrus presence builds from there with a twist of lime and what can only be described as the sensation of chewing on the peel of a clementine.  To properly put the Lagunitas stamp on the experience, it closes with a super green, uber dank hop quality.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, Super Cluster is sticky on the palate, allowing its drinker to fully experience those Citra hop oils.  Mostly bitter with a finessed touch of sweetness for balance, this beer actually dries out pretty quickly – semi-dry overall – and entices you to take sip after sip.  That 8% ABV is stealthy, but a building warmth in the throat eventually forces you to throttle down from gulp to sip mode.  The aftertaste is all grapefruit.

Final Thoughts:  You want Citra hops in all their tropical, citrusy glory? Well, that is exactly what Super Cluster delivers.  If you could not already recognize the presence of Citra hops in other beers, spend a little time with this offering and you definitely will moving forward because it is so Citra-centric that it will ingrain that hop profile into your sensory memory.  Despite coming across as hoppy AF, this monster somehow steers clear of becoming overwhelming or a chore to drink.  Super Cluster remains incredibly enjoyable and easy-drinking . . . so much so there is no wondering why Lagunitas only packaged this Limited Release in 12-packs.   It is truly one of the most proper Citra fixes you can get right now, and those 12 bottles will be gone in no time.  If you have a love for hops, you need this beer in your fridge.  Go get you some. Prost!

 

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Cherry Jane Sour Ale Arrives as the Newest OneHitter from Lagunitas Brewing Company

CherryJane_12oz_Custom195x519_062818_00_JPFLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially introduced Cherry Jane Sour Ale as the latest offering to emerge from the its 2018 OneHitter Series.

Here to serve as the perfect OneHitter to satisfy your summer-drinkin’ needs, Cherry Jane is a ruby-hued, sweet and tart Sour Ale that has been “brewed with an insane amount of Turkish Delight tart cherry juice (~60lbs. per barrel).” With the juice lending “a puckered up punch of cherry charm”, Lactobacillus bringing the sour and Brettanomyces supplying “that extra funky funk”, the complex Cherry Jane (5.5% ABV) ultimately comes together to strike a beautiful balance between its acidic, sweet and tart qualities.

Cherry Jane is already out in the wild and will hang around or as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIGHly Limited” offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s vast distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Cherry Jane from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/OneHitter Series, July 2018
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 5.5%
IBUs – 9
Added Ingredients – Turkish Delight cherry juice
Treatment – Fermented with Brettanomyces; soured with Lactobacillus
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Lagunitas Brewing Company Sends Super Cluster Out as Latest Limited Release

SuperCluster_12oz_Custom195x519_061818_01_JPFLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially introduced Super Cluster, A Citra-Hopped Mega Ale of Intergalactic Proportions, as the newest addition to its portfolio of Limited Releases.

Described by Lagunitas as a “galactic blast from the glass”, Super Cluster is an “out-of-this-world” Pale Ale brewed with “2-Row Malted Barley, a helluva lotta hops – Citra, Citra, Citra, and some more Citra, . . . and . . . dry-hopped . . . with 100% Citra.”  Clocking in at 8% ABV and 60 IBUs, Super Cluster promises to be a “Citra supernova in the sky, jettisoning lupulin lusciousness through the cosmos and across the universe of your palate.”

Super Cluster is gradually rolling out now and will hang around through September 2018.  You can expect to find this new Limited Release available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited, July – September 2018
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 8%
IBUs – 60
Featured Hops – Citra
Availability – 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

 

Tasting Notes: A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

lagunitasLSXtraPour2For this installment of Tasting Notes, we push through the mid-week slump with a little inspiration from A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Stepping in to fill the big sister role for Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ AleA Little Sumpin’ Extra is a “Double-ish White IPA” sporting a grain bill comprised of “50% malted barley and 50% wheatly-esque-ish-ness.” Although it may be a bit lighter in color than lil’ sis, the “bigger, badder, and bolder” A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale (8.7% ABV) proves to be “huge in flavor and satisfaction” while rockin’ a uniquely “curious malt complexity.”

A Little Sumpin’ Extra is nearing the end of its Limited Release run, but you can still find it available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s expansive distribution area.

That should just about cover the necessary background data, so let’s do what we all came here to do and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A Little Sumpin’ Extra presents itself as a light gold in color and is adorned with over two fingers of frothy white foam.  When held to direct light, the color softens and settles in as more of a light to straw yellow tone. Pristine in clarity (impressively so considering the wheat bill), the beer shows off a plentiful carbonation presence.  Head retention is bordering on incredible as the foam barely falls at all and coats the glass with an all-encompassing sheet of lace.

Aroma:  Citrus driven hops blast the nose with notes of tangerine, grapefruit and orange zest.  Floral tones then develop and bring with them just a touch of pine.  A soft wheat presence and a bit of honey-like sweetness rests underneath to support and showcase those hop notes.

Taste:  The flavors nearly mirror the nose as citrus fruits move in first with a dynamic orange character that is less sweet and more reminiscent of Cara Cara and Seville varieties.  Floral and grassy notes work their way in and interlace with the breadiness of the sweet wheat and pale malts that are mostly here to supply an exquisite, supporting balance.  Occasionally, you can pick up on notes of banana, pineapple and honey.   It all closes out with a memorable punch of bitter grapefruit meat and zest.

Mouthfeel:  Full bodied with a bright carbonation, this beer has a hefty, viscous weight that somehow remains easy-drinking and gulp-worthy.  Although this Double IPA does have a good amount of hop bite, the level of balance here is damn near perfect.  The bitterness is on point, the sweetness is satisfying without being cloying, and it all just dries out beautifully.  The ABV comes across as pretty tame for 8.7%.  Aftertaste is just a little grapefruit drizzled with honey.

Final Thoughts:  Beyond being ridiculously delicious, A Little Sumpin’ Extra is an incredibly unique offering and it all starts with the mouthfeel.  You may not expect a real-deal full-bodied experience to function well in Double White IPA that still holds a good amount of bitterness, but it works.  It does so because the hops have just enough sharpness to give you that lupulin fix, that 50/50 mix of barley and wheat malts slips through the sensory experience with a stealthy, sweetening balance, and everything dries out before you even realize what hit you. Despite being released every once in a while since 2009, this beer still feels new, playful, and just completely and utterly different from anything else out there on beer shelves and taps.  To us, that is an indication of something truly special, and we will certainly take a pour of A Little Sumpin’ Extra anytime we have the opportunity.  Be sure to check it out while you still have the chance.  Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Offers Up A Little Sumpin’ Extra

Lagunitas_LSE_22ozLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) is officially welcoming summer with the Limited Release of  A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale.

Meant to act as the big sister to the brewery’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, A Little Sumpin’ Extra is a “Double-ish White IPA” sporting a grain bill comprised of “50% malted barley and 50% wheatly-esque-ish-ness.” Although it may be a bit lighter in color than lil’ sis, the “bigger, badder, and bolder” A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale (8.7% ABV) proves to be “huge in flavor and satisfaction” while rockin’ a uniquely “curious malt complexity.”

A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale is available now for a limited time in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering at beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s expansive distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for A Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited, June 2018
Style – Double White India Pale Ale
ABV – 8.7%
IBUs – 72.51
Malts – “50% malted barley and 50% wheatly-esque-ish-ness”
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

 

Tasting Notes: Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasBAYpourx1000For this edition of Tasting Notes, the wacky alchemists at Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) magically transport us back to wet hop season with a pour of their Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale.

Wet hop season typically starts in late August and lasts for about a month or so each year. During this time, many brewers usually take this opportunity to make a special beer with fresh hops that are picked and in the brew kettle within a 24-hour window.  They get one shot at this a year and then – because hops are easily susceptible to mold and spoilage – the rest of the harvest is quickly dried for year-round use. Even though the folks that process hops are masters of this delicate craft, many brewers are left feeling that “something is always lost in translation.”

Very fond of that je ne sais quoi that wet hops possess, the brewers at Lagunitas decided that they were going to find a way to take the wet hop experience year-round.  To do this, they took the book that taught them everything that they already knew about hops, threw it out the window, and went all trial and error to devise a new process for hop preservation.  After “5 or 6” botched attempts, they finally discovered “a relatively simple process” that just forced them to “[think] about hops and freshness in new ways.” Now armed with this proprietary, “homegrown process of time dilation for the delicate hop cone that the flower doesn’t even perceive”, Lagunitas can now offer Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale (7% ABV) as a true wet hop experience six months removed from harvest season.

Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale is available now for a limited time in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect to find this Limited Release at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s vast distribution area.

Alright . . . now that we are all caught up on that lengthy backstory, let’s get into these Tasting Notes to see exactly what a preserved wet hop beer can offer to a self-proclaimed hophead.

Tasting Notes for Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: Born Again Yesterday pours up as a deep golden colored brew that is wearing a perfect finger of pure white foam. When exposed to direct light, the color shifts a bit to take on some vibrant orange tones.  The beer has a light haze/cloudiness to it, but an abundant carbonation presence can still be seen kicking around a serious amount of floaties suspended in the liquid.  Head retention is good, falling oh so slowly to a lasting and incredibly creamy top cap that leaves wide sheets of lace behind after each sip.

Aroma: Big on the citrus, the aromatics lead with pronounced notes of sweet orange and mandarin.  Lime and grapefruit zest then move in to brighten the lightly sweet malts running parallel. The profile closes beautifully with that signature earthy grassiness that is so often found in wet hop beers. These aromas may seem simple, but they are enormous.

Taste:  Citrus leads here as well, but this time around it serves as more of a role player.  Orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit offer a bright initial pop before the hops take a dynamic turn toward more earthy and grassy qualities.  The profile then takes on a lightly herbaceous and piney quality that eventually fades out to leave behind a finish filled with clean, non-obtrusive malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this beer has a good weight to it and fully coats the palate with each sip.  The hops do bring some bite, but the balance is dialed in so that the bitterness is not all-consuming. Despite its palate engulfing nature, the beer still finds a way to dry out quickly and clean up nicely. The 7% ABV is well-behaved, but it does draw some attention to itself as the beer warms.  The aftertaste is all clean malt with a dash of grapefruit zest.

Final Thoughts: Whatever the process is that Lagunitas devised to preserve wet hops, it works.  When I approach wet hop beers, I tend to look for two things:

  1. Big ol’ gains in the department of hop aroma
  2. A very distinguishable grassy and “green” flavor

Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale easily checks both those boxes, and then goes on to turn it up a notch by having a bigger hop flavor than most wet hop beers.  Just as you would expect from a hop-forward beer from Lagunitas, the citrus hop notes are absolutely massive and work beautifully with that wet hop grassy character to supply the drinker with a memorable and dank Pale Ale.  Wet hops at the end of spring? Yeah, you best believe that they live on in Born Again Yesterday Unfiltered Ale.  If you are a lover of hops, be sure to get your hands on this tasty beverage before its Limited Release runs its course.  Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Brings CitruSinensis Pale Ale Back for the Summer

Lagunitas_CitrusinesisLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has announced that CitruSinensis Pale Ale has officially returned and this time around it will be available all summer long in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles.

With a name derived from the Latin scientific name for blood orange (citrus x sinensis), CitruSinensis is basically a slightly imperialized, “wheatier version of [Lagunitas’] DogTown Pale Ale” that is dosed with – you guessed it – blood oranges.  To make sure this blood orange infusion influences the beer’s aroma and flavor as much as possible, the brewers took fresh Sanguinello blood oranges, “juiced ’em, concentrated ’em (sans heat), and then threw ’em” in during secondary fermentation.  This approach results in “a refreshingly hopped pale-ish ale with a huge citrus burst!”

CitruSinensis Pale Ale is rolling out now and will be available throughout the summer months of 2018.  You can expect to find this Seasonal release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution network. Prost!

Vital Information for CitruSinensis Pale Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Seasonal, Summer 2018
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 7.7%
IBUs – 49
Added Ingredients – Sanguinello Blood Oranges
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

 

 

Tasting Notes: The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

aviary-image-15241871400464/20 is officially upon us and we are joining the party by getting into some Tasting Notes on The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Inspired by the Waldos and the “unbelievably-heady-but-totally-true story of” their daily, 4:20 search for a “Secret Garden” (click here to read more about those shenanigans), The Waldo’s Special Ale is brewed with the help of the Waldos and is Lagunitas’ only official Triple IPA.  Tipping the scales at 11.3% ABV and 100+ IBUs, The Waldos’ Special Ale is a 4/20 – or 4:20 . . . whatever works for you, man – appropriate beverage that is meant to be all things “Herbaceous. Botanical. Dank. [and] Resinous.”

The Waldos’ Special Ale is available during the month of April in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect this One-Hitter Release to be on shelves and taps “in HIIIIIIIGHly limited areas” located within Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all caught up on this beer’s backstory, let’s pass thing around and start working on these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: Waldos’ is a hazy, dark orange in color and is wearing well over a finger of tight white foam.  Held to direct light, those orange tones burst with vibrancy as some sunshiny yellows push through.  Although the haze makes this beer almost opaque, a slow and steady carbonation presence can be seen ambling about in there.  Head retention is pretty fantastic, and the only reason the foam cap reduces in size is because of the mind-blowing amount of sticky lace it leaves behind on the glass.

Aroma: The first thing to come to mind here is a huge amount of . . . let’s just be blunt . . . skunky, dank-ass weed.  It so blatant and abundant that is just beautiful.  That herbaceous, earthy note eventually shifts into more of a resiny pine quality.  Citrus and tropical fruit notes do attempt to push their way through the dankness, but they are pretty much sequestered in the background with a little caramel maltiness.

Taste:  The script flips a bit here as pineapple, mango, apricot and orange peel find their way to the palate first.  A grassy quality then slides through and brings that raucous, dank character with it.  This builds to become a pure danknesss that is filled with straight weed, pepper, oregano, various herbal and floral tones, and sticky pine resin.  A sweet honey and caramel sweetness sits underneath all of this, but it simply cannot compete with these hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a soft carbonation, this beer has an almost creamy texture that possesses a good amount of coating stickiness.  Bitter hoppiness is the name of the game here, but the malts do what they can to loosen the hops’ hold on the tastebuds.  The ABV is nearly unnoticeable and that is absolutely shocking considering this beer sits at 11.3%.  The aftertaste is all honey-laced bud.

Final Thoughts:  Well . . . it is incredibly easy to confirm that The Waldos’ Special Ale lives up to its billing as a 4/20 tribute beer.  The hops are just off-the-charts dank, and they certainly grab a hold of the palate with authority.  That said, this beer is definitely more than a one trick pony.  For instance, the malts are dialed in nicely to impart just enough flavor and balance to keep this lip-smacking, jaw-numbing, enamel-stripping experience manageable.  Also, we still cannot wrap our heads around how the brewers were able to completely hide an ABV of this height. It is simply mind-boggling.  Once you get beyond those pungent hop notes that may conjure up some memories of your college apartment, the level of craftsmanship in this beer becomes so clear that you could literally spend hours contemplating its beauty.  Considering the date, I think many of us have the time to do just that today.  If you can, get yourself some of The Waldos’ Special Ale and settle in for one hell of a ride.  Prost!

Dark Swan Makes Limited Return for Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas_Dark_SwanLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has announced that Dark Swan Sour Ale is officially back on shelves and taps for a limited time.

Sauntering in as the latest release from Lagunitas Brewing Company’s One Hitter Series, Dark Swan is a “deep and rich purple” American Sour Ale that gets its color from Petite Syrah grapes added during fermentation.  Finished off with “the signature Lagunitas treatment with a healthy dose of experimental dry hops”, Dark Swan (8.5% ABV) is released into the wild as a unique hybrid ale that promises to be “smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange.”

“Observers of yestercentury once denied the existence of the Dark Swan as obstinately as flat-earthers once denied the shape of our spherical home. They insisted the species was confined to a singular snowy hue. But there is a fragile futility to such narrowness of thought. The broader of mind understood that light and dark must forever compliment each other as eternal counterpoints. And just as Aristotle convinced us of our circularity, so adventuring ornithologists eventually contradicted the misconception of the monochrome swan, astonishing the world and casting light upon the Dark. This beer may well do the same…”

Dark Swan is available now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIGHLY Limited” offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dark Swan Sour Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series, March – April 2018
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 8.5%
IBUs – 22.6
Featured Hops – Pekko, Centennial & HBC 344

Added Ingredients – Petite Syrah grapes
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Tasting Notes: Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasUndercoverPour1000In order to get a head start on St. Patty’s Day weekend, we are shutting down the office early and getting into some Tasting Notes on the infamous Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Brewed in “remembrance of the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Massacre and in commemoration of the 20-day suspension that followed” (click here to get more info on that event and an explanation of the featured photo above), Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is Lagunitas Brewing Company’s “especially bitter” response to the ABC’s claim that the brewery was operating a “Disorderly House” on that fateful day.  Best described as an American Strong Ale, Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is a “malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish [that] truly defies style…Imperial Mild?…Uber ESB?” Who knows?! What we do know – besides the fact that this beer’s name is incredibly long – is that Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale clocks in at an unruly 9.6% ABV and 66.6 IBUs and cannot possibly be held accountable for its actions.  Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is available now as a Limited Release offering, and you can track it down in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s vast distribution area.

Now that we have covered the background on this subject, let’s dig deep and crack the case on this Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: This brew presents itself as a dark amber in color with just a slight orange hue to it.  When held to direct light, that orange tone gains intensity and the liquid takes on more of a bright, shining copper appearance. The beer is impeccably clear and displays a bountiful carbonation presence dedicated in its mission to feed the perfect finger of frothy white foam resting above.  Head retention is quite good, and that foam provides a huge amount of lace that utterly coats the Mason Jar-style glass by the end of the experience.

Aroma:  Pine confidently steps forward first and fills the nose with resiny hop goodness. This eventually takes a gentle turn to the floral before a countering presence of caramel and grain settles in.  Not to be outdone, the hops surface one last time with a parting pop of citrus zest.

Taste:  The script flips in this arena as the flavors lead with a soothing presence of caramel and toffee.  To keep things from getting overly sweet, the hops follow closely behind with a resinous pine note that is accompanied by grassy and floral tones.  A fruit-filled character then surfaces in the form of tropical mango, candied orange and a bit of grapefruit zest.  Still, even as all these hop notes gain momentum, there remains a composed layer of sweet grain and malt interwoven throughout to keep the bitterness in check.  Really nicely done here.

Mouthfeel:  With a spot-on medium body and a moderate carbonation level, this beer has a creamy feel and a somewhat long finish that leaves behind notes of orange and grapefruit zest.  Although it puts in some serious work on both the bitter and sweet sides of palate, this beer’s level of balance is simply stunning. Combine that with an ABV that translates much lighter than its 9.6%, and you are left with a big ol’ brew that is dangerously drinkable.

Final Thoughts: This may be another beer that steps outside the norm to defy style guidelines, but somehow it is blatantly obvious that Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale nailed the brewery’s intentions and expectations.  We say that because every aspect of this beer is synced up. Its look is absolutely gorgeous and coyly lures you in for sip after sip.  The aromatics and flavors have achieved a brilliant level of balance.  The feel is so damn smooth and has just enough weight to properly carry the experience. And then there’s that hidden ABV . . . We wracked our brains but could not come up with another beer that exceeds 9% ABV and drinks this easy and refreshing.

All in all, we had a hard time deciding whether this beer was more dumbfounding or sensical, and then it hit us. Not only does this beer properly commemorate a moment in the history of Lagunitas, but it also lives up to its name (especially the “Undercover Investigation” portion) by being a well-orchestrated, sneaky brew that will get you into trouble if you let it.  It warns you to proceed with caution while still encouraging you to enjoy the hell out of every moment spent with an Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale in your hand.  If a beer could be a maniacal genius, it would be this one.  Be sure to check it out.  Prost!