Lagunitas Brewing Company
from United States (California)
46th highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedBrown Shugga' (91 / 100) Average score70 / 100 (Very Good)
Lowest RatedSaison Style Ale (45 / 100) Number Tried34
Cappuccino Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 27.02.18 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
22oz brown bottle purchased from Bobby's Liquor in Santa Clara, CA.

Pours a pleasing deep brown colour—lighter than most stouts of its ilk, with mahogany tinges at the edge of the glass. Head is fairly coarse, but persistent, forming a pleasant lace across the top of the glass, and some thin lace. Looks decent.

Nose is quite pleasant, with coffee dominant, not unexpectedly. There's a slight thinness to the coffee character though, and this lets other odd characters of salt and umami come through—it ends up slightly savoury in a way I wouldn't expect for a beer of this weight. It's also a bit one-note. It's not bad, but when you've got such a big beer, I kind of hope for something more.

Similarly on the palate, although here, there's a slickness which really helps promote the little sweetness it has. Around this, it's almost arid coffee characters, with a savoury-salty quality that tastes a bit like how dry dogfood smells. Finish is surprisingly light. Despite the slick, oily quality of the palate, it doesn't stay around all that long.

It's decently drinkable, especially for how big it is. But it's not complex, and it doesn't reward the hit you take to your sobriety. So despite the quality at it's core, I think it's a bit of a shame.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Imperial Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 08.04.17 in bottle
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
22oz brown bomber purchased from Safeway Bailey Park in Mountain View, CA.

Pours a surprisingly light coloured dark brown—certainly far from genuinely black or inky. Head forms a pale beige, but with a pleasant thickness to it. And it leaves good lace in thin sheets. Carbonation is powdery, but looks ephemeral in the light-coloured body. Yeah, I'm a bit skeptical about this given the colour.

Nose is vaguely toasty, but it's also really quite weak as well. There's really not to it—no sweetness, certainly, and there's a thinness to even the mild toasty characters. These leave a little bit of smoke, but it's the crisp smoke of a winter bonfire, not something sweet, rich and enveloping. I'm unimpressed.

Taste is also pretty weak. There's a broadness through the centre, mostly from the feel than anything, but no flavour to fill it up. There's a slight toastiness in the middle that develops into a mediocre bitterness. This is slightly toasty, in a way that makes you feel like it's from the dark malts rather than from hops. But it's genuinely underwhelming.

Feel is slick and heavy—it shows off the weight of the beer in a way that the flavour and aroma do not.

Overall, this is a pretty genuinely shocking outing from Lagunitas. Not because it's bad, but because it's from Lagunitas and because it's genuinely bland. It's like an imperial stout with all the character and flavour sapped out of it. That doesn't make it a bad beer, but it sure makes it an uninteresting beer. And an "uninteresting" imperial stout from Lagunitas should be a contradiction in terms.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Equinox
Reviewed by Jez on 05.10.15 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. A "Pale Oat Ale" according to the label, weighing in at 8% ABV.

Pours a pleasant orange-tinged golden colour with good clarity. Head is sticky and fairly full leaving excellent sheeting lace as it goes down. Body is fairly rich, which you expect for an 8% beer with plenty of oats in it, and the carbonation is fine. Overall, it looks really good.

Nose is also very good. Big orange-scented hop fragrance, which gives it a pleasant citric consistency. Under this is a slick, candy-like sweetness—partially from a fairly neutral malt character mingling with that toffeed orange note. It's pleasant all up.

The taste is also pretty good, but suffers just slightly from being too sweet. I guess I'm expecting more bitterness when the nose is so redolent with citric hops though, so if I try to tone down those expectations, this actually works pretty well. Pleasant orange notes run through it from start to finish, giving a little marmalade tartness to valiantly assail the overt sweetness. Even the sweetness now is pretty nicely built—it's a firm, smooth character that provides body, but never gets too sickly. And once I stopped expecting a big build up of hop bitterness on the back, I enjoyed it a good deal.

Feel is very slick and full. It works well. Go oats!

Overall, I thought I had some reservations, but looking back over everything, this was actually a genuinely very good beer. The aroma's great, the flavour works if you're not expecting an overt aggressive IPA-style palate, and the overall package provides good structure and something interesting. By the end—yeah, I really liked it.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
DayTime
Reviewed by Jez on 05.05.14 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
A self-styled "fractional IPA", I guess to avoid bearing the stigma of "Session IPA". Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.

Pours a startlingly clear and pale yellow colour, almost getting towards being truly colourless. Lots of streaming, coarse-bubbled carbonation feeding a fairly loose head of white that settles out to a faint frothy ring. Some patchy lacing resides as the beer goes down. It looks okay, but very light-bodied.

Nose is ostensibly okay. Bright fruity citric hops give lots of fragrance, along with a thin green vegetative character that sharpens it a bit. But there's a realy lack of substance and body to it—no sweetness to balance the aroma. It feels like it's going to be pretty empty.

Taste is indeed pretty empty, but the hop character is all in the aroma, so it doesn't feel unbalanced. Instead, it feels a little bit like nothing. Faint grainy body, with a touch of breadiness to it. Hops lace over the top, very faintly, but maintaining a slight fruity quality. It's okay, just weak and a bit dull.

Feel is similar. Watery, weak—not unpleasant, and aiding the sessionability, but a little lacklustre.

Overall, yeah, I'm not a huge fan. It's fine, and I understand the point of it. But really, I'd much prefer to just drink a proper IPA. And stop earlier.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours an amber colour, pretty much dead in the middle of 'amber' on the spectrum. Head is off-white, sinking but leaving awesome trails of lacing behind. Lovely lace, nice colour. I like.

Smells very hoppy, but also very strong. There's a spiritous aroma to that, but lots of citrus - grapefruit, mostly, a touch of dessert wine, brandy, some cinnamon and raisin notes as well. Bit strong, but intriguing.

Taste is sweet and syrupy. Loads of malt, with a complex undercurrent of sticky buns, dried fruit and sherry. Again, spiritous edge on the back with a slightly smoky and buttery brandy flavour. Some resinous hop notes as well, but not very strong. The back is largely boozey-bitter. Decent, but yeah, very big.

Full; not as thick or syrupy as the flavour would suggest. Pleasant enough I guess.

Big, booze-flavoured, but not as overblown as it could have been. Retains a pleasant, and complex sweetness.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 03.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.

Pours a clear burnished amber colour with a loose but frothy head of pale, yellowish froth. Lots of fine pointed lace. Carbonation is tight and languid, despite the body being relatively light. Looks very good.

Nose is pleasant and green, with a strong hop profile that actually suggests German hops to me, with a noble, herbal character to go with some of the more expected West Coast citrus notes. Slight twang of booze, almost like very old balsamic vinegar, and a firm but fairly neutral malt basis. Very pleasant.

Taste is very nice. Rich, smooth entry, with plenty of malt, followed by a pleasant mingling of different counterpoints. There's the booze which sings with heat through to the back of the palate. There's the hops, which provide a sharp but clean vector down the centre and a slight zesty finish. But there's also an unusual note which suggests roasted malt or even coffee. It drifts in and out, so it may just be the conflagration of the booze and the hops, but it's an interesting twist.

Mouthfeel is light, but rounded with just enough weight to keep the flavours progressing.

Overall, this is a very good beer. It's big and full-flavoured, while maintaining a sanity to it that keeps it drinkable. I enjoyed it a great deal.

appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a vibrant orange colour, burnished in tone. Head is thinned out, quite white in colour. Lace is OK, not very impressive. Looks nice though, could use some more head.

Smells sweet and a bit fruity, kind of sour at times as well. Big banana aromatics with red apple and pear rounding out. Slight savoury note as well and a big boozey whiff promising good times. Maybe a touch too green, it does smell a little tart, but I am still very interested in drinking this.

Taste is spicy, sweet and fruity. A potent cocktail indeed. Banana base with nutmeg, lots of nutmeg. Golden syrup, biscuity and some fruit notes on the back - pear and apricot. Light in flavour but lots of deep complexities to their light flavourings. Fruity, sweet and really quite gooey. I like, but I do feel a bit more spice would really jazz this up to eleven.

A bit blah on the mouthfeel. Full, and syrupy, not much texture. It's just a big sticky thing.

Nice big wheaty blob. Sweet, but nice spicy phenols give it some excitement, and it's the exact sort of sweet blend I really enjoy.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen
Reviewed by Jez on 02.03.12 in bottle
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)
Pours a pleasantly hazed light golden orange colour, with a fine head of white that settles to a decent but uninspiring film. Body is really nice and thick, and the carbonation is powdery and fine. It's not outstanding, but it's solid.

Nose is slightly wheaty, but also peppery and spicy with a really strong alcohol presence. In fact the boozy astringency almost strips out everything else, leaving only hints of banana and spice as a battered afterthought. Not bad, but a bit brusque.

Similar on the palate: the booziness, while not providing much heat or prickle, actually provides a lot of the spicy astringent flavours, leaving a slightly bitter spiritous taste in the mouth above the moderated banana sweetness. Feel is thin but hot and chewy, leaving the astringency in the flavour to work itself on the inside of the mouth.

Meh. I mean, it has some true weizenbier characteristics. It also has the "bigness" associated with a weizenbock. But overall, it's a bit too unbalanced and a bit overwhelming. It doesn't have the complexity it needs to justify the heat.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
New Dogtown Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 13.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a bright golden orange colour, with a fine but somewhat filmy head of white. Stays patchy with cratered bubbles across the top of the glass. Looks pretty solid.

Nose is bright with fresh, classic west coast hops. Really pleasant characters of citrus, light pine and a peppery spice, giving a hint of leather and resin. Really well put together, and extremely fresh and fragrant.

Taste is really nicely balanced, with a robust and striking bitterness through the centre of the palate. Indeed, it's most of the way towards being an IPA. Under this is some pleasant honeyed malt characters, with a touch of biscuit and nuttiness on the back. The finish really rounds it out nicely, leaving a lovely aftertaste that makes you want to drink it more.

Peppery, spicy, but bright with fruit characters and really nicely balanced. It's a pretty complete beer—it's hard to see how it could be improved. This is the rare sort of beer that I'd be happy to drink by the six-pack.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.09.11 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours an orangey colour with plenty of carbonation stream. Head is off-white, fairly dense and creamy with a nice, slightly crusty-looking curtain of lace. Not sure about the amount of carbonation but otherwise looks great.

Smells pleasant, light and slightly hoppy but mostly a pale malt character, lots of caramelised grain with notes of apple, pear and some strawberry. Mild toffee as well. Pleasant, light yet very aromatic nose.

Taste is tangy from the get-go with early hopping and slight yeast esters - apple, peach and some mango notes that develops nice, earthy malt flavours midway with a toffeed pecan edge to it. Bitter, resinous hops finish off with nice phenolic edge, but plenty of light, citric notes for a good balance.

Body is there and somehow that really strong carbonation doesn't really show. It's quite a smooth, creamy mouthfeel overall if a little on the thin side.

Very pleasant beer; plenty of grounding but very drinkable as well.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Brown Shugga'
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 27.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
91 / 100
(Superb)
Pours a bright, colourful red colour with pleasant beige head, bubbly and sparse with decent, non-sticky lace. Bubbles around, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact it's great.

Ecstasy. On the nose. Holy shit. Hops, loads of them - floral, tangy with sherbet, lemon, orange, tangerine. Spicy - with hot pepper, chilli, coriander, carraway, aniseed, and floral, with some lavender, seeds of paradise, thyme, fuck. It's ecstasy. This is the best-smelling beer in the world. Pure sex, in aroma form. I'm leaving my wife and marrying this smell.

Taste is pretty damn beautiful as well. Lots of spice to it but a nice tangy citric hop character and lots of toffeed malt providing rich, enjoyable sweetness. But yeah, that's that big, rich spice as well with carraway, star anise, coriander and licorice. Touch of lemongrass, pine and even dill, just a big, in-your-face freshness that screams out to be loved and fondled. I, for one, am only too happy to oblige. This is Heaven.

Smooth feel, a bit dry. Maybe not as full as it could have been but still pretty damn fine.

This is one of the best beers I've ever drunk. It's everything I could hope for from a beer and more.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Brown Shugga'
Reviewed by Jez on 26.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)
Damn, seems I missed out by one on being the 1000th review of this beer. Purchased in San Francisco, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a lovely burnished copper-red hue, surprisingly bright and clear, with a full and solid head of beige foam. Looks gorgeous. Lacing is a little reticent to appear, but otherwise, it looks gorgeous.

Nose is also very special, with a pungent citric crispness blended beautifully on top of a pineapple sweetness. Lashings of pepper and spice add exclamation points. Very nice.

Taste is also extremely good, giving a lovely crisp fruit entry that quickly descends into the "sweet release" promised on the label. Loads of sticky toffee, barley sugar and caramel, that is allways just leavened and supported by enough hops to ensure it doesn't get sickly. It's quite exceptional, and exceptionally good. The lingering, slightly fruity, but toffee-sweet aftertaste is delectable. Mmm, I want more.

Feel is a little light, but this also probably assists in keeping it from heavy, brutish sweetness.

A lovely brew from Lagunitas, and a truly American-styled one—the hops, the body, the sweetness all blending together into a raucous, opinionated and brash whole. Hell yeah.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Censored
Reviewed by Jez on 02.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Always been intrigued by the label on this one (can't call things "Kronik" any longer?), but it only seemed to be in six-packs when i saw it, so picked up a single for reviewing purposes when I could.

Pours a coppery orange colour, burnished and clear, with a crackly head of white, that subsides rather quickly to little more than a film of white. Decently heavy body for a beer of relatively low gravity, some lacing when tilted. Looks pretty good.

Nose is light but slightly malty. Some brew-day sweetness noticeable, with just a hint of cracked grain. Minimal hops presence. Slight meatiness to it. It feels all quite rudimentary and rustic. Not bad, but not particularly inspiring.

Taste is similar. Sweetness on the palate with a hint of grainy bite on the back with a whack of carbonic acidity. Again, there's nary a whiff of the hops, and while the grain character is pleasant enough, it just doesn't do enough to make me want to drink more than a few sips.

Not a bad brew, just a relatively uninspiring one. Drinkable enough in its way, but lacking a lot of interest. I could drink it, but can I be bothered?

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Maximus
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a burnished amber colour with some odd floaties, but not a lot. Head is off-white and sunk to a thin crown with nice trails of lace. Yeah, looks quite nice; not mind-blowing though.

Smells quite malty and nutty for the most part, but with nice hop aromas backing up. Sweet but with fruity and floral characteristics providing citrus, but also pine resins and crisp apple notes. Quite pleasant and enticing.

Taste is fairly pleasant, again a strong malt base with lots of nutty notes that then develops distinctive hop notes late-mid with touches of citrus, pine and a mild note of some cedar wood. Yeah, fairly pleasant and clean but definitely wants more hopping on there. Not simple, but feels a bit underdeveloped, or perhaps just a bit old?

Quite smooth, with a bit of stickiness and a bit of foamy texture. Yeah, quite decent.

Drinks quite well; it's a pleasant beer. Would love to try this fresh from the brewery but even with a bit of age it's a very enjoyable drop.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Lagunitas IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a burnished metallic amber colour, clear and shiny with one trail of bead up the body. Head is off-white, sunk to a cloudy film but gorgeous and sticky lace around the glass. Nice.

Smells extremely malty, with a huge nutty edge. Toffee sweetness on there, with hazelnuts and chestnuts backing up to add an earthy, almost vegetative tone, at times. Really quite nice but definitely lacking in the hop department.

Really odd, and unwelcome tartness on the front. Starts unusually and reasonably unpleasantly before finding its feed midway with fair nutty goodness that still feels a bit lacking. Doesn't have the rich sweetness of the nose and the malt tastes slightly diluted. Mild marzipany nuttiness comes through towards the back with a touch of lemon zest but not hugely impactive. Yeah, really a bit nonplussed about this palate, there are holes clearly visible and the whole (no pun intended) doesn't hold (again, no pun intended) together all that well.

Nice full, smooth feel for the most part, but a bit lacking on the back where it could go either fizzy or sticky. Its lack of texture adds to the overall slightly watery subtext.

Yeah, could drink a few of these, but I'd be hoping for something with more of a hop burst to follow it up.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Lagunitas IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 05.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Purchased as part of a grey-order shipment in Australia. Bear that in mind when reading this review. Also keep in mind, I just tried the Mikkeller/BrewDog I Hardcore You collaboration, which was fantastic... Now let's see where we are...

Pours a burnished, slightly coppery golden colour, with a fine and almost creamy head of white. Lace is intricate and mountainous. Looks like some sort of wonderful landscape around the rim of my glass. Body is pleasantly thick, and some tiny-bubbled carbonation forms as it's swirled. Overall, a damn-fine looking beer.

Nose... Hmm, yeah, this is where the age starts to show. The hops are relatively muted, giving more of a crushed heather organic character, and minimal freshness. Some nuttiness and a touch of phenol, but it feels like the malt that would usually compensate for the hops is overbearing.

Taste is better, but still showing a bit of age, with some caramel/golden syrup characters or oxidised malt coming through, especially on the back. Hop bitterness is subdued, but still present, although the balance is out a little bit. Provides a pleasant counterpoint to the sweet bread and golden grain characters.

Feel is smooth and flawless.

Hmm--an interesting beer with a bit of age on it, although probably not exactly what was aimed for in its youth. You can feel the age, and that provides an interesting experience, but I think I'd prefer it fresh.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Maximus
Reviewed by Jez on 05.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a very clear, but burnished copper colour, with a fine bubbled head off orange-white. Body looks surprisingly light, although when swirled, it leaves some good static carbonation. Minimal lacing. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is sharp with organic hops, but a lot of malt sweetness, which turns what would normally probably be pretty citric and fruity into something a bit darker and earthier. It's an interesting balance.

Lots of brittle toffee on the palate. Some sharp bitterness on the front, which lends itself to a pleasant organic earthiness and slight nutty characters overall. Smooth finish, and smooth in the feel overall.

It's a nicely balanced beer, and the 7.5% is well hidden, although 7.5% isn't necessarily that strong for an IPA, let alone for a double IPA. It's a decent brew all up, though.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 02.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a very clear golden colour, with a filmy head of white close-knit bubbles. Body is very clear for a wheat beer, but I guess that's what you get when it's not bottle-conditioned. Light body. To be fair, I'm pretty disappointed in the appearance.

It gets better once we get into it, however. Big hoppy aroma on the nose, clearly delineating it from a hef, or a European style wheat beer. Big citric notes of West coast hops, with a slight sweetness, and a twinge of acidity that I'd normally associate with the wheat if not for the big hop aromas. Very nice, very pleasant.

Taste is extremely interesting, and very good indeed. Slight hoppiness throughout, but mellowed perfectly with a sweet wheat bite, the two mix together to give a fragrant, luscious character of dried apricots. Light marzipan character on the back, which dries out into a distinct but mild hop bite which cleanses the palate with bitterness. Ooh, such lovely flavours on the palate. Such a unique blend as well, which is where this beer shines. You couldn't get quite the same effect if not for the hops and the wheat. Lovely.

Feel is light and smooth, with enough sparkle to accentuate the characters on the palate.

Don't judge a book by its cover. I'm glad I didn't (eventually), because this is a really tasty brew, and an exceptionally drinkable one. The characters are unusual, but balance against each other well. I love slightly off-kilter beers that still work so well. This is a good example of one.

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
A Little Sumpin' Wild
Reviewed by Jez on 26.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a mostly clear, but very slightly hazed golden orange colour, with a full and thick head of large-bubbled white foam. Lacing is sudsy but consistent. Lots of streaming carbonation, and the body looks surprisingly light. Not bad overall.

Hmm, not sure what I was expecting on the nose, but this isn't it. Lots of tropical fruit characters implying a large west coast hop addition. More spice than usual though, with a lightly phenolic yeast note coming through. The more I smell, the more pronounced are the characters of Belgian yeast, but there's still something quintessentially American about it as well.

Taste is very interesting, and again different to what I was expecting, my expectations having been put through a turnaround by the nose. Here, there are more lightly phenolic yeast characters, a light boozy strain and a nutty finish. Some hop bitterness is present on the back, but it's subdued, and just lends a tropical undertone to the other characters. Feel is quite light. It feels like it's jangling a little uncontrollably through a number of odd flavours, but it does work.

An interesting brew, almost feeling like a hybrid style, or just a Belgian ale brewed with the American stamp all over it. I'm not sure if it really wows me, but it keeps me guessing, and that's something.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Lagunitas PILS (Czech Style Pilsner)
Reviewed by Jez on 24.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a clear, rather dark golden colour, with a firm but filmy head of tight white bubbles. Lots of streaming carbonation, and good lacing. A more voluminous head would be nice, but otherwise, they've cracked the appearance stylistically.

I could smell a good sharp Saaz character when I popped open the bottle, but it seems to have disappeared by the time it reaches my glass, more sweet bread on the nose, maybe a hint of cut grass. Ah, actually, as it warms, there's a light pepper fragrance with a slight metallic zing. Much more classic. Still, pretty tempered, but nice, and the style is right now.

Taste is good and clean, with a clear crisp entry, and a lingering fresh back palate that evokes green apple skin. Bitterness is present, but subdued on the back, giving a cleansing finish without being too aggressive. Feel is light and crisp, perhaps a touch overcarbonated for my tastes, but stylistically spot on.

A cracking American example of a Czech style. If breweries can hit the button so well stylistically, that's when I can genuinely believe they know precisely what they're doing. As great as it is to produce a 12% Double Dry Hopped Oak Aged Imperial Wild Ale, it's the subtle styles where brewers can really show their craft and finesse. Good job on this one.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 24.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a lovely red tinged deep amber, with a full and forthy head of yellow-white bubbles. Lacing is excellent and consistent right down through the glass. Looks very sticky and thick, and very tasty. I love a good looking Red Ale, and this is one. Could be more truly red, but it's pretty good.

Nose is a little thin. Little sweetness and a bit of reedy piney hop fragrance. A touch of grapefruit. Not a lot on the nose overall though.

Taste is better. Pleasant sweetness with a nice bite of hops through the centre. Finish is pleasantly malty, with just enough remaining hop oil to cleanse the palate. Buttery feel, very pleasant. Perhaps a slightly sweeter palate than perfect for my ultimate American red, but it delineates it nicely from a darker IPA.

Very nice beer, although lacking in some key areas. Well, whatever. I'm happy to drink it. I'm still waiting for an Australian brewery to get this style right.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Wilco Tango Foxtrot
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a bronzey-brown colour. Head is beige, looked good at first, but settles out to form a thin crown. Lace is good, sticky, body is clear. Yeah, nice colour, all looks pretty good but not great.

Nose is an intriguing one. At first I thought hoppy but on second sniff there's actually quite a roasty character behind it. Quite woody, but with pungent floral hops and hints of lavender and spice, like carraway maybe? Good balance, actually extremely appealing.

Taste is very nutty indeed. Lots of brown ale characters really, with chestnuts and hazelnuts on there especially on the mid. Lots of chocolate underlying, with a touch of pine bark and some nice citric hop character coming through at the back, with a decent fruit peel character showing through. Hint of musk as well, and a slight licorice spice on the finish. Good, subtle roast cleansed by nice, mild hop additions.

A little bit thin, but noticeable body as it goes down. Leaves slightly dry. Not bad.

Very nice drinking beer overall. Good flavours, good balance.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Wilco Tango Foxtrot
Reviewed by Jez on 04.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

Cracked open with @LaitueGonflable after it travelled back to Australia from San Francisco in my luggage.

Pours a deep dark, coppery colour with twinges of red to it. Head is initially frothy, but coarse bubbled, and made up of slightly yellowish foam. Lacing is good however, even if the head doesn't stick around. Not a lot of thickness in the body, which is a bit of a surprise. Looks pretty decent though.

Very West Coast nose - I think there's Chinook there, but with deeper and sweeter roasted malt notes coming through as well. Definitely some roasty notes, and a fragrant but muted hop character, almost like "aged" hop, whatever that means. Pretty nice.

Taste is very nicely done. Again, there's a lot of malt to it, and the hop character, while so classically American, is muted to allow the malt dominance. Big roasted, heavy brown bread characters on the back, with a decent amount of sweetness throughout. Hops provide a clean, cleansing note through the centre -- something to anchor the rest of the body. Lovely

It's really nice; if it were slightly hoppier I'd say it was a classic example of a really well-made black IPA, but as it is, it's just a strong, lightly roasted American ale: one that's hard to categorise beyond that.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Hop Stoopid
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a golden, slight orange colour, with a healthy beige head, medium-dense but with visible bubbles. Lacing is very nice, uneven but very sticky webs around the outside. No carbonation - looks a bit flat body-wise, but head and lace are excellent.

Nose very tart, almost astringent in hopdom; a very strong passionfruit aroma (with seeds), nicely acidic. Hints of bready malt and some lychee as well. Fresh and fruity with a strong hop character, overall is a bit one-note though. Still nice.

Taste has a classic IPA palate, with rich doughy goodness providing a darkly sweet molasses-style base, but a lot of hop bitterness layered over this for a pretty crazy bitterness. Tart fruits on the front descend into a mid-palate with hints of treacle and licorice and some citrus zest. Hops are aggressive, coming in for the kill early, quite ashy at times and very bitey. They leave an astringent metallic hang, which is a bit of a turnoff because it's otherwise quite refreshing. Still a fair amount of fruit though, and is very nice and fairly complex.

Medium-full body, not much tingle. Good for the taste, not thick and not thin.

Fairly drinkable, but the bitterness is just a bit off-putting. Just a bit.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hop Stoopid
Reviewed by Jez on 06.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)

Slightly too pale orange gold colour, but with a very impressively pleasant white head. Very solid, and it leaves some really nice lacing. Carbonation is intense - looks quite vivacious. Looks a little thin for a pretty heavy IPA ABV-wise, but otherwise, it's a nice enough looking brew.

Nose is freaking delicious. It was obvious from the uncapping that this was going to be fragrant. I immediately got a big whiff of insanely floral hops. Big west coast notes of grapefruit, sweet citrus, a little acidic seltzer water, aniseed and crushed flower petals. Absolutely awesome, one of the best IPA noses I've had. It's not just that it's big and boisterous, the flavours are so delicious and so well combined. It's just gorgeous.

Really nice on the palate too. Crisp notes of pink grapefruit and sharp herbal notes, but no harshness, which makes it extremely drinkable. The hops are just subdued to the right level on the palate, so you get the fragrance and light citric bitterness, but nothing clinging or cloying. Mouthfeel is sparkling, but pleasant.

This is a really delicious beer, and devilishly drinkable. It feels so smooth and crisp, but with such a wonderful combination of flavours to give it character. It reminds me a lot of Blind Pig in terms of drinkability, but this is a good couple of points ahead of it in ABV, which makes this more of an achievement.

Seriously one of the best American IPAs I've tasted.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Saison Style Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 20.09.08 in bottle
Overall:
45 / 100
(Not Great)

Pours a very slightly hazy gold colour, with masses of streams of fine carbonation. The huge lines of bubbles are easily the most prominent aspect of the beer. Big frothy ultra-fine head of white foam. Looks like a fine beer.

Light wheaty, barnyard and spice characters on the nose. Hint of hefeweizen to it, a bit of fresh herbal characters and perhaps some cut grass. Pretty nice, pretty fragrant.

Unfortunately, the palate is a major let down. Thin, insipid maize or rice lager sweetness with a very faint hint of dirty, dusty bitterness. Very short, the only deposit it leaves is a vague yeast bite on the back palate. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, which is a plus, but given the rather insipid and unpleasant flavour, it doesn't have a lot to work with.

A disappointment - this could well have been a promising beer given the fragrant nose - but it's just a major let down on the flavour side of things, leaving it as a very insipid beer to drink.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 2.5