Tasting Notes: Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasHazyMemoryPour2For this edition of Tasting Notes, we take a break from the final, turbulent waves of the workweek so that we can lose ourselves in the idea of the approaching weekend and a Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Designed to be “evocative of everything [Lagunitas has] learned in hop-forward brewing,” Hazy Memory is a Hazy India Pale Ale loaded down with “oats and smooth wheatly-esque-ish-ness” and then “packed with some of the murkiest, juiciest, turbid Loral 291, Hallertau Blanc, Galaxy, and Citra Hops.” Coming in at 8% ABV and 55 IBUs, Hazy Memory IPA is “a little boozy and a little hoppy — just like a fuzzy memory of a great night long gone.”

Hazy Memory IPA was introduced back in mid-September and is still available for a limited time.  You can expect to find this One Hitter Release available in 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution area.

Now that we all know a little bit of the story behind the beer, let’s crack open a can and get lost in a Hazy Memory with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A gentle, swirling pour produces a Hazy IPA that is a deep golden yellow in color with orange highlights and capped with nearly two fingers of bright white, airy foam.  When held to direct light, the orange tones pull out of the color a bit and the yellows brighten to become more of a lemon hue.  The haze is lighter than most examples of the style these days (which we are fine with), allowing lazy beads of carbonation to be seen moving about within.  Head retention is really fantastic, eventually falling to a lasting half finger that saturates the glass with sticky, arcing lace patterns.

Aroma:  Juicy fruit notes immediately burst from the glass to greet the nose with notes of orange, grapefruit, tangerine, passion fruit, peach, pineapple and melon.  As the juiciness subsides, an undercurrent of more traditional hop characteristics surface with herbal, floral and grassy tones.  The grains give off a bit of sweetness here, but this aroma is all about those hops.

Taste:  The Citra hops are quick to take control with a citrusy, hoppy bite loaded with orange, tangerine, grapefruit and lime.  The sweeter, juicier side of the hop bill then gains traction, adding notes of peach, blueberry, gooseberry, white wine grapes, apricot, pineapple, papaya, melon and passion fruit to the mix.  The real surprise here is a traditional, almost Noble-like hop presence that offers a pretty substantial amount of floral and herbal tones alongside just a grace of pine (something you would expect from a more traditional West Coast-style IPA).  The grains keep the bitterness in check with just the right amount of balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation, this beer is smooth, creamy, and takes its time on the palate.  It does lean a bit to the hoppy/bitter side (supplying a bit more bite than other Hazy IPAs out there), but the malts do a good job in keeping the bitterness from getting too aggressive.  The 8% ABV lets you know it is there with a little building warmth in the throat.  Tangerine and lime linger in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts: In a craft beer world heavily inundated with a ridiculous number of Hazy IPAs, Lagunitas somehow finds a subtle way to stand out from the crowd with Hazy Memory IPA.  Sure, it has all those big, fruity and juicy hop notes up front, but it does not stop there.  It goes a step further by playing the greatest hits of the hop spectrum with an infusion of piney, herbal and floral characteristics as well.  It makes for a playful experience that has all the hazy, juicy qualities people are looking for in modern IPA’s while still carrying the memory of more old school IPA styles.  This makes Hazy Memory come together as something new that is still carrying a torch for the IPAs that came before it, and – as a group of IPA drinkers that often have a “get off my lawn” mentality when it comes to Hazy/Juicy IPAs – we can get behind that idea.  Be sure to check out Hazy Memory IPA before it fades from existence.  Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Begins Limited Release of Hazy Memory IPA

HazyMemory_12ozCan_082619_175x334_v01Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that it will begin the Limited Release of Hazy Memory IPA in mid-September.

Designed to be “evocative of everything [Lagunitas has] learned in hop-forward brewing,” Hazy Memory is a Hazy India Pale Ale loaded down with “oats and smooth wheatly-esque-ish-ness” and then “packed with some of the murkiest, juiciest, turbid Loral 291, Hallertau Blanc, Galaxy, and Citra Hops.”  Coming in at 8% ABV and 55 IBUs, Hazy Memory IPA is “a little boozy and a little hoppy — just like a fuzzy memory of a great night long gone.”

Hazy Memory IPA officially launches this week (9/16/19) and will hang around for as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this One Hitter Release available in 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series; mid-September 2019
Style – Hazy/Juicy India Pale Ale
ABV – 8%
IBUs – 55
Featured Hops – Loral 291, Hallertau Blanc, Galaxy & Citra
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Tastings Notes: A Little Sumpin’ Hazy from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasLSHPour_editedFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we push through the midweek daze and craze with a little help from A Little Sumpin’ Hazy from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Released back in July as an “au naturel” take on the “classic wheatly-esque-ish-ness . . . you know and love” from A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’A Little Sumpin’ Hazy is a “juicy” and “catty” brew that has underwent a “special dry-hopping of Cashmere, Citra & Mosaic on a bed of Centennial and Chinook.” Built upon a solid base of “shlarfy” grains, A Little Sumpin’ Hazy (7.2% ABV) is guaranteed to have an eye-catching haze that will work beautifully with your favorite Instagram filters.

A Little Sumpin’ Hazy is available now for a limited time.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly 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 properly gone over all that background info, it appears that it is finally time to get comfortable, succumb to the haze and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for A Little Sumpin’ Hazy from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: Although it is undoubtedly hazy, A Little Sumpin’ Hazy pours a more IPA-traditional light golden yellow in color rather than that orange-juice-like appearance all the cool haze kids seem to be after these days.  That haze still allows some visibility and reveals a lively carbonation presence cascading within.  A somewhat vigorous pour produced right at two fingers of creamy white foam.  Retention is solid, falling gracefully to a chunky half finger that leaves the glass coated with a broad sheet of lace when completed.

Aroma:  This thing hits hard and fast with an extremely juicy presence of sweet orange, mango, pineapple, mixed berry and melon.  A gently floral undercurrent supplies some more traditional hoppy character, but it is dialed in just right so that it only balances and supports that juiciness.  The malts are muted here and only slip in a whisper of biscuity sweetness near the end of the profile.

Taste:  Just like the nose, juiciness takes point and bombards the palate with sweet fruit notes of orange, brûléed grapefruit, melon, berries, pineapple, lemon and lime.  The grains support those juicy hop flavors with some biscuity sweetness while piney hop notes mix things up a bit by providing some balancing hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel:  Somewhere between medium and full bodied with a medium carbonation level, this beer is soft, smooth and creamy on the palate.  As expected, it leans to the sweeter/juicier side but still maintains a touch of hop bitterness.  The 7.2% ABV is quite sneaky, making this beer dangerously drinkable.  Aftertaste is orange juice with a hint of pine.

Final Thoughts:  A Little Sumpin’ Hazy might fall short for some in the haze department (to be honest, we actually appreciate that it still has a touch of clarity), but it more than makes up for that in the areas of flavor and aroma.  This beer’s overall juiciness is intense and wonderfully pronounced, giving you all that you expect from a Hazy/Juicy IPA.  With that said, it still reminds you that it is indeed a Lagunitas creation by somehow holding on to some old school IPA qualities (floral and pine notes and just straight up hop bitterness). It basically unites both schools of thought on the IPA – West Coast vs. New England/Hazy/Juicy – in a subtle but incredibly tasty way.

All in all, A Little Sumpin’ Hazy is a widely available, reasonably priced hazy brew that is built for ultimate crushability and accessibility.  What else could you possibly ask for when dealing with summer heat indexes this insane? Be sure to get you some before this brew’s Limited Release comes to an end.  Prost!

 

Lagunitas Brewing Company Hits Summer with A Little Sumpin’ Hazy

LittleSumpinHAZYLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that it will begin the Limited Release of A Little Sumpin’ Hazy in July.

Developed to be an “au naturel” take on the “classic wheatly-esque-ish-ness . . . you know and love” from A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, A Little Sumpin’ Hazy is a “juicy” and “catty” brew that has underwent a “special dry-hopping of Cashmere, Citra & Mosaic on a bed of Centennial and Chinook.” Built upon a solid base of “shlarfy” grains, A Little Sumpin’ Hazy (7.2% ABV) is guaranteed to have an eye-catching haze that will work beautifully with your favorite Instagram filters.

A Little Sumpin’ Hazy is rolling out now with plans to stick around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for A Little Sumpin’ Hazy from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited; launching July 2019
Style – Hazy/Juicy India Pale Ale
ABV – 7.2%
IBUs – 30
Featured Hops – Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, Centennial & Chinook 
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

 

Tasting Notes: Phase Change from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasPhaseChangePourx600For this installment of Tasting Notes, we recognize the seasonal shift from spring to summer by getting into a few pours of Phase Change, a “seasonally unexpected” Wet-Hopped Juicy Ale, from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Engineered to serve as the “next chapter in [Lagunitas Brewing Company’s] quest to brew wet-hop beers out of wet-hop season”, Phase Change is an unfiltered Wet Hop Pale Ale “packed full of lupulin-drenched Simcoe, Citra & Mosaic hops.” Coming in at 7.4% ABV and 60 IBUs, Phase Change is “a juicy game changer” bursting with “seasonally unexpected wet-hop flavor.”

The time-bending wet-hop goodness found within Phase Change is made possible thanks to Lagunitas’ “new ‘hops liquification’ process that lets [the brewery] preserve and store . . . wet hops (generally only usable just after harvest), and brew a wet-hop beer a full 6 months later.”

Phase Change released back in May and is scheduled to hang around for another week or so.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution area.

Now that we are all up-to-date on how this “seasonally unexpected” wet-hopped beer has come to be, let’s pop the top on a bottle and fully experience a Phase Change with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Phase Change from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  Phase Change fills the glass with a hazy, light orange to golden yellow liquid that is topped with almost a finger of tight, bright white foam.  When held to direct light, the golden yellow tones gain vibrancy and dominate the appearance.  Although this Pale Ale does have some haze to it, you can still distinguish a steady carbonation presence meandering about within.  Head retention is good, falling somewhat quickly to a paper thin but complete top cap of creamy foam that absolutely saturates the glass with heavy sheets of lace after each pull.

Aroma:  As soon as the cap is removed from the bottle, the nose is greeted by that indescribably comforting grassy note of wet hops.  This beautifully clean and welcoming note then opens the door for fruity tropical notes of tangerine, mango, orange peel and grapefruit.  A touch of pine surfaces near the end of the experience to coax that grassy wet hop character forward once again, harmoniously bringing everything full circle.

Taste:  Living up to its “juicy” descriptor, this beer’s fruitier side hits the palate first with citrusy notes of sweet orange, tangerine and grapefruit that blend perfectly with tropical tones of mango, guava and pineapple.  A substantial pine presence then surprisingly turns up to break up the juice fest a bit and remind everyone of the West Coast flair that Lagunitas is known for.  Slightly bready malts sneak in to provide some balance before giving way completely to allow that exquisite grassy wet hop note to dominate the finish.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation, Phase Change comes across incredibly light, refreshing and easy drinking.  Despite leaving a subtle presence of bitterness in the finish, this beer is a fantastic balance of bitterness, juicy hoppiness and malt sweetness.  It is downright shocking that this Pale Ale is 7.4% ABV because it shows no hint of heat and drinks far lighter than that ABV would lead you to believe. The aftertaste leaves behind a touch of mango and a whole lot of fresh cut grass.

Final Thoughts: Whenever I run across the words “wet-hopped” on a beer label or tap list, I immediately expect and yearn for this incredibly fresh and green grassy note – in both flavor and aroma – that is almost impossible to fully describe but also equally impossible to miss when done right.  Although created completely out of wet hop season, Phase Change somehow meets and exceeds that expectation.  Even for a wet hop beer, the aromatics are truly off the charts and intoxicating and that delightful grassy note carries throughout the entire experience.

Beyond that, it is clear that Lagunitas had some fun with this one as it slipped some sharply bitter, pine resiny, West Coast-style goodness into its Juicy Pale Ale take on the wet hop beer. This quirky approach results in a recklessly elegant composition that just works.  Incredibly satisfying and wildly refreshing, Phase Change really is a perfect beer option to help hopheads transition from spring to summer.  Be sure to check this one out before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Co. Bends Reality with Release of Phase Change Wet Hop Pale Ale

LagunitasPhaseChangeBottleLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that Phase Change, a “seasonally unexpected” Wet-Hopped Juicy Ale, will arrive in June as the brewery’s latest One Hitter release.

Crafted to be the “next chapter in [Lagunitas Brewing Company’s] quest to brew wet-hop beers out of wet-hop season”, Phase Change is an unfiltered Wet Hop Pale Ale “packed full of lupulin-drenched Simcoe, Citra & Mosaic hops.”  Coming in at 7.4% ABV and 60 IBUs, Phase Change is “a juicy game changer” bursting with “seasonally unexpected wet-hop flavor.”

The time-bending wet-hop goodness found within Phase Change is made possible thanks to Lagunitas’ “new ‘hops liquification’ process that lets [the brewery] preserve and store . . . wet hops (generally only usable just after harvest), and brew a wet-hop beer a full 6 months later.”

Phase Change is scheduled to roll out in June 2019 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Phase Change from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series; June 2019
Style – Wet Hop Pale Ale
ABV – 7.4%
IBUs – 60
Featured Hops – Simcoe, Citra & Mosaic 
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Tasting Notes: Secret Agenda from Lagunitas Brewing Company & Moonlight Brewing

LagunitasSecretAgendaPourX600For this installment of Tasting Notes, we covertly slip into the weekend with a little help from Secret Agenda from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) and Moonlight Brewing (Santa Rosa, California).

Carefully crafted in Joint Session by the folks at Lagunitas and Moonlight to satisfy “the unique thirsts of Springtime”, Secret Agenda is a Pale Bock Beer that brings “each [brewery’s] time-tested secrets to the table.” Weighing in at 7.1% ABV and 46 IBUs, Secret Agenda comes together to offer its drinker “something neither [brewery] could do alone.”

Secret Agenda officially released back in late March, but a good amount of this Limited Release can still be found floating around at some of your favorite beer retailers and bars.  You can expect to find this One Hitter available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution network.

With that unclassified background information now out of the way, it is finally time to dig deep and get to the bottom of Lagunitas and Moonlight Brewing’s Secret Agenda with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Secret Agenda from Lagunitas Brewing Company & Moonlight Brewing

Appearance:  A careful pour produces a Bock that is a deep gold in color and capped with over two fingers of ridiculously creamy foam.  When held to direct light, the golden hue brightens a smidge as it takes on a bit of a lemony yellow hue.  The beer is perfectly clear and displays a swirling mass of tiny carbonation bubbles.  Head retention is absolutely fantastic, slowly falling to a lasting 1/4 finger of rocky foam that leaves sprawling patterns of lace behind on the glass.  This is easily the most gorgeous bottled lager we have encountered this year.

Aroma:  Lightly sweet bready malts greet the nose and are supported by the lightest amount of caramel and nuttiness.  The hops then take over with a dynamic presence that is spicy, herbal and floral.  The hop aromatics bloom further to offer notes of citrus, unripened strawberries, and tropical fruit.

Taste:  An herbal tea-like quality (distinct notes of mint and lemon balm) opens the flavor profile alongside a bit of peppery spice and rose water.  The herbal tones then back off a bit to allow the hops’ fruitier qualities to come through with soft notes of grapefruit, papaya and peach. All of this hop complexity rests upon a solid foundation of malt that is bready, biscuity and kissed with just a touch of caramel.

Mouthfeel:  On the lighter side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this Bock is slightly creamy on the palate and incredibly clean on the finish.  The balance is impeccable, but it does teeter a bit to the hoppy side at times (this is a Lagunitas influenced beer after all).  It drinks much lighter than 7.1% ABV, but it does offer a bit of warmth in the throat near the end of the experience.  Aftertaste is a lovely lingering flourish of floral and herbal hop notes.

Final Thoughts: Built with springtime drinking in mind, Secret Agenda hits that mark squarely by achieving maximum drinkability thanks to its phenomenal level of balance. It is malty, but not at all overly sweet.  It is hoppy, but the bitterness is intentionally dialed way down.  It is beautifully complex but somehow still an all-around easy-drinker.  If that were not enough, this beer’s herbal and floral qualities seem to mimic the changing of the seasons and capture the resplendent rebirth of spring.  Secret Agenda can only be described as an experience that actually tells a story.  It is literally a taste of spring, and you need to check it out while you still have the chance.  Make it happen.  Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Introduces Lagur Summer Lager

LAGUR_Front_Dry_12oz_Can_175x334_darkLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that Lagur, a Limited Release Summer Lager, is releasing now and will be available throughout the months of Summer 2019.

Designed to be a go-to “libation for lazing away the Spring and Summer days”, Lagur is a Summer-themed Lager filled with “some super-special Loral 291 hops, giving it a floral and herbal zing.” Coming in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV and 30 IBUs, Lagur promises to be a “light and crispy” option that will be “perfect wherever beer goes, whenever beer goes!”

Lagur is rolling out now and will stick around through September 2019.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 12-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s vast distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Lagur from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited, late April – September 2019
Style – Undisclosed Lager style
ABV – 5%
IBUs – 30
Featured Hops – Loral 291
Availability – 12-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Lagunitas Brewing Company & Moonlight Brewing Collaborate, Reveal Secret Agenda

Lagunitas_SecretAgenda_195x519Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially released Secret Agenda, a Pale Bock Beer brewed in Joint Session with Moonlight Brewing (Santa Rosa, California), as the brewery’s latest Limited Release offering.

Carefully crafted by the folks at Lagunitas and Moonlight to satisfy “the unique thirsts of Springtime”, Secret Agenda is a Pale Bock Beer that brings “each [brewery’s] time-tested secrets to the table.”  Weighing in at 7.1% ABV and 46 IBUs, Secret Agenda comes together to offer its drinker “something neither [brewery] could do alone.”

Secret Agenda is rolling out now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this One Hitter release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Secret Agenda from Lagunitas Brewing Company & Moonlight Brewing

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series, March 2019
Style – Pale Bock
ABV – 7.1%
IBUs – 46
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Tasting Notes: Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasDarkSwanPour_edited_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we enjoy an enchanted moment with the ever-elusive Dark Swan Sour Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Developed to be Lagunitas’ take on the beer-wine hybrid, Dark Swan is a “uniquely deep and rich purple [hued]” American Sour Ale that has been “dry-hopped with some experimental Pekko hops from the Yakima Valley, then fermented with . . . house yeast on some of Sonoma County’s-own Petite Syrah grape juice from . . . Adobe Road Winery.” Swooping in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, Dark Swan promises to be “smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange.”

Dark Swan officially released in mid-February, but there is still a good amount of it hanging around out there on shelves and taps.  You can look for this Limited Release offering to be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with Dark Swan’s background information, it appears that it is finally time to crack open a bottle and plunge into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Dark Swan Sour Ale (2019) from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A somewhat vigorous pour produces a beer that is a beautiful deep purple in color and wearing nearly two fingers of rose-pink foam.  When held to direct light, red tones push through and blend with the purple to create a color that is similar to pure cranberry juice.  Although dark in color, it still reveals an incredible degree of clarity and a mellow amount of carbonation activity.  Head retention is decent, reducing slowly to a lasting, chunky ring that leaves spotty lacing on the glass at times.

Aroma:  A clean grape presence opens the aromatics with both sweet, fresh grape juice and a complex dark red wine/Shiraz-like character.  The complexity builds as the hops shuffle in to add floral notes, a pop of black currant, and a tinge of spicy herb.  Underneath all of this lies a faint sweetness similar to a hard fruit candy (think grape Jolly Rancher).

Taste:  The vinous qualities lead here as well, playfully weaving in notes of Concord grape juice, lightly tannic red wine, and just straight fresh dark-skinned grapes.  The hops add supporting notes of black currant, assorted berries, a twist of citrus, and soft floral tones.  The profile closes with a gentle dose of sour funk and nondescript malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  On the lighter side of medium in body with a medium carbonation, Dark Swan is wonderfully crisp and easy-drinking.  On the palate, it playfully bounces between sour, fruity and sweet. The 7.9% ABV is completely hidden, allowing this beer to drink much lighter than it is.  Aftertaste is all red wine and berries.

Final Thoughts: Dark Swan is a whimsical take on the beer/wine hybrid that somehow boasts both the approachability of the grape juice box and the complexity of a fine red wine.  The hops seem to be dialed back a bit for a Lagunitas offering, sacrificing in-your-face dankness for just the right amount of complementary fruity and floral notes.  This approach allows the grape/wine character to shine, but the beer is still able to assert itself as . . . you know . . . a beer by casually reminding you of the hop qualities and malt sweetness that would clearly be out of place in a wine.  This results in a ridiculously refreshing beer that basically drinks like a slightly less carbonated wine spritzer.  Overall, Dark Swan is wildly unique, a little weird, and extraordinarily tasty.  If you are at all a fan of red wines (or pilfering juice boxes from the children’s stash), be sure to grab some of this year’s batch of Dark Swan before it disappears from shelves.  Prost!