Monday, September 14, 2009

Brown Shugga' Ale, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Petaluma, CA

OK, you know I am brand loyal to a fault, especially when it comes to Lagunitas’ beers. So it was no surprise that I picked up the Lagunitas Brown Shugga’. Now for those who are unfamiliar with Lagunitas beers, they are located in Petaluma California which has a bit of a reputation for drugs. The owners of the brewery have a little fun with this reputation and definitely use it in their marketing; so much fun in fact that it launched an undercover government investigation at several of their tastings. One drug bust later and they were suspended for brewing for 20 days. Their humor unfazed, they released the Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale as a remembrance of that event. For those uninitiated in the drug subculture, brown sugar is a street name for heroin. And to continue along those lines, The Brown Shugga’ would definitely be considered a “hot shot” with its 9.5% ABV.

The Brown Shugga’ comes out of the bottle a shade of cherry and brown. The viscosity of the beer is silky, a sure sign to me that this beer is packing an alcoholic punch. While the alcohol is not overpowering, you can sense its presence in each sip you take. There is also a tang of bitterness, but once again not much. The malt flavor is a brown sugary delight, combined with the hops it is reminiscent of a caramel apple you’d get at a county fair. I found the Brown Shugga’ to be quite addicting, much like its heroin counterpart, I blame this on the sugary base of the beer. In fact I liked it so much I had another right away. Of course with the aforementioned 9.5% ABV, it knocks you down pretty quick.

Now for those unfamiliar with my rating style, it can be found here. This is a little important because as you see from the Lagunitas website, this beer is not available until October 2009. So how did I get a bottle of it early? I didn’t. I loved this beer so much last winter, I stocked up on it so I’d never run out. How I avoided reviewing it so far, I am not sure. So as far as a rating goes, I am gonna have to give it the illustrious 5.0. If I were you, I’d keep an eye out this October when this beer arrives on shelves, a good indicator whether your store will carry it or not is if they carry any of the year round beers from Lagunitas.

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