Pros: Citrusy flavor, Somewhat mellow hop, Taste from start to finish, Price
Cons: Limited release - let's campaign for this to become an annual release
The holiday season passed leaving me with a mellow bitterness regarding a Lagunita’s beer that Sucks, really, but not really. The limited 2011 release from Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, has come and gone, and without their Brown Shugga’ around to keep me happy, I feel a little let down. This beer was surprisingly tasty and apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that. I also walked into a good sale with this being less than $9 per six pack.
Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale disappeared off the shelves of my local beer store before I finished the first six pack – a fact I discovered almost too late. (Fortunately a better stocked store in town had a few cases and I picked up two six packs.) Every year I’m compelled to explore the world of holiday beers. Many, unfortunately really do live up to this name, while a few appear as shining stars and we hope they’ll return next year. This one probably won’t as it was a replacement for the Lagunitas’ holiday favorite, Brown Shugga’, but if it does return as a surprise seasonal beer I won’t bother with testing a six pack first. I’ll do what everyone else seemed to have done this year, buy a case immediately before it disappears.
This interesting holiday ale could possibly be classified as an Imperial IPA. With an IBU of 63.21, an OG of 1.085 and an ABV of 7.85% this presents a strong grapefruit/citrusy smell that carries into the initial tastes. It’s hoppy, but it’s a mellower hop with minimal bitterness.
It’s an amber colored beer with a nice frothy head that has legs (oh, wait, that’s a wine term), it has a lacy head that remains. This pours with a heavy head but gradually thins and remains thin until the last drop. The flavor is fruity as well as hoppy with a bit of pine (resin). The malty flavor is also just a hint as it partners with a hint of caramel. Suck’s finish is dry but this also mellows out leaving a satisfying, warm after glow. It’s not as creamy or intimidating an experience as Brown (9.9 ABV).
There was nothing harsh about this Holiday Ale from Lagunitas and as I finish the last bottle (possibly the last in Houston this year) my memories will be of a full-flavored IPA that remains difficult to classify. If this were available throughout the year there would always be a couple bottles in my spare frig, along with the six pack of Brown Shugga’ if it was also available.
Pour this slightly warmed and not straight from the refrigerator for a full-taste experience. If you still have a six pack around give me a call.
(You decide for yourself the type of ale but I’m thinking Imperial IPA – on the low end.)
My thanks to Bruguru for adding this Lagunitas Seasonal Beer to the database.