Lagunitas IPA, Lagunitas
Added: Saturday, August 1st 2015
Lagunitas IPA (6.2%)
Lagunitas is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States. It was launched in California in 1993 by Tony Magee and moved from Lagunitas to Petaluma just one year later to build a bigger plant in order to keep up with demand.
By 2004 it was producing 27,000 barrels a year and that figure grew to 106,000 by 2010. $9.5 million was invested in 2012 to further boost production, which enabled 600,000 barrels a year to be brewed.
The major development came in 2012 when the company built a second brewery in Chicago where a 250-barrel brewhouse has a 600,000-barrel capacity.
Controversy has dogged the brewery. In its early days it was frequently accused of encouraging visitors to smoke marijuana during brewery opening days. Some beer names were said to be codes for dope smoking and there were threats by the authorities to ban the beers. Today Lagunitas has cleaned up its act and is seen as a more respectable company. The beer is distributed in the UK by Adnams of Southwold.
Its IPA has long been Lagunitas’ flagship brand and it’s good to find it available in Marks & Spencer’s mainstream stores in Britain. The beer has a mighty 51.5 units of bitterness but the judicious use of crystal malt alongside pale grain means the beer is balanced and less aggressively bitter that some New World interpretations of the style. The hop varieties are Cascade and Centennial.
The beer has a bright gold colour with a grassy and herbal aroma with powerful notes of camomile and fennel balancing the toasted malt character. Bitter hops dominate the palate, with a good underpinning of rich malt and tart fruit notes of peach and lychee developing. Hop bitterness subsides in the finish to give fruit and malt the final word.
Major outlet: Marks & Spencer, £1.90.