Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lagunitas Pale Ale

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (930) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 4, 2013
 I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. The Julian date indicates it was bottled on June 29. I rescued this bottle from #BBC13.

Appearance: Beautiful gold hue with a crystal clear body with plenty of visible carbonation. Forms a large, white, fluffy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: An almost IPA-like amount of hops in the nose. Rich resin, pine and "cat pee."

Taste: Depending on where you are as a beer drinker, you could possibly categorize Lagunitas Pale Ale as an IPA because it’s an overtly hop-forward beer. The body is a little lighter, crisper, and cleaner than an IPA, though. It also seems less balanced than most pale ales, which is fine by me. While it’s not simply carbonated hop juice, there’s not a lot of malty backbone to this. That’s odd considering the beer is a tad heavy for the style at 6.2% ABV. Still, it drinks as easy as a Sierra Nevada.

The hops really are the star of the show here. It’s reminiscent of an "East Coast Style" IPA with its dank, piney-type hop character rather than anything floral or citrusy as most West Coast breweries opt for (as Lagunitas themselves opt for with their IPA). The bitterness is strong, but not absurd. There’s a mild dry aftertaste, but it’s easily tolerable. Definitely one of the best pale ales on the market.

Drinkability: Lagunitas Pale Ale might just be the best of both worlds. It has the robustness of an IPA, but the lighter, easier-drinking body of a pale ale. The mouthfeel is noticeably thin and clean with a smooth finish. It seems so much lighter than its 6.2% ABV weight should be, which makes it dangerously drinkable. A versatile brew, too, as it’s great as a standalone beverage or with the right meal. 
Grade: 9/10