One of the most popular craft breweries in the United States (at least by volume of beer sold) is Lagunitas Brewing Company, fittingly located in Lagunitas, CA. Lagunitas gained popularity due to their unique interpretation of traditional styles along with an irreverent sense of humor which shows up on their labels and in their marketing. Lagunitas owner Tony Magee got some attention recently when he tweeted some criticism towards Sam Adams. Magee accused Sam Adams of attacking other craft beer companies in the marketing of their new Rebel IPA. Lagunitas is famous for their IPAs, including a seasonal release they have named Lagunitas Sucks. In 2011 they were renovating their brewery and didn’t have the capacity to make their popular seasonal Brown Shugga’. Instead they brewed an IPA and named it Lagunitas Sucks, apparently to point out their own failure. The beer was so popular that it became a regular part of their seasonal lineup, and is now one of their most sought-after releases.
Lagunitas Sucks pours clear copper with a mild white head and nice lacing on the glass as you drink. The smell is all American hops, lots of floral and pine notes with some touches of citrus. The taste is also very hop-forward, resin, grapefruit, orange and a little tropical fruit. There is a solid malt backbone with notes of caramel and brown sugar. The malts really balance out the hop bitterness. The finish is clean, you get a little lingering bitterness and hop sweetness on the tongue at the end. At 7.85% ABV this is a pretty high alcohol standard IPA (not long ago it would have been called a double), but it goes down very easy. There are good reasons why Lagunitas Sucks is a sought-after release every year. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.