Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (956) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 27, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was a bottling code, but I couldn’t decipher it. I was given this bottle at #BBC13.

Appearance: Seemingly a murky brown shade, but actually a beautiful ruby red color when examined closely. Forms a small, white, soapy head which retains and laces rather well.

Smell: Clean, floral-like aroma with a hint of cocoa powder.

Taste: As I’ve stated many times, I enjoy beers that blur the lines between styles. Though, simply being creative doesn’t equate to a great beer. That’s kind of how I feel about Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF) Ale, since it’s intended to be a hybrid between a red and a brown ale, but the net result is just plain good rather than amazing.

Since this is a Californian beer, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong hoppy presence to this palette. Red ales tend to be dry and bitter, but this one opts more for a flowery hop presence than anything else. The label indicates it’s only 59 IBUs, but it definitely tastes stronger than that. There’s a light sweetness through the middle of the palette, but it’s not a taste I would associate with a brown ale. Instead of a confectionery character, it’s close to that of an amber or pale ale with its malt base. There’s additional bitterness on the finish, followed by a slightly tangy flavor. While the overall taste to this beer is good, it’s not quite as special as I’d expect or prefer in a limited release brew.

Drinkability: Technically a big beer at 7.85% ABV, Lagunitas WTF Ale is not a challenge to drink or intimidating in any way. It has the crisp, well-carbonated mouthfeel of a pale ale, but the smoothness of a brown ale. Though noticeably bitter, the hops only linger momentarily and eventually fade away clean. This beer is probably best enjoyed with a meal like steak and sweet potatoes (like we had at #BBC13), though a single serving is fine on its own. 
Grade: 7/10