For 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!