Your Undercover Assignment Awaits
A Review of Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Posted on 5/20/2013 by Chops
                   
Delicious
The longer you spend around a group of people, the more personality traits you begin to notice. The same goes for breweries in the craft beer world. Some are hard working and well respected, some are laid back and care free. Some make you want to scream while others make you want to laugh. In the case of the Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, California, they are the brewery equivalent of that hilarious friend who always has crazy stories to tell, all of which are completely true. Take this nutty concoction for instance: the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. You don't name a beer like that without a damn good story to go with it. And in typical Lagunitas style, it didn't disappoint: Click Here

Since this beer's release back in 2005, it has become a legendary seasonal staple. It's the beer you discover on the shelves and immediately laugh at as the back story rekindles in your mind. It's a beer you can't help but purchase, first out of curiosity, and every time after for the chuckles. And on top of having perhaps one of the best back stories in the beer world, it is actually a fantastic American Strong Ale.

In the glass, this beer has a dark cherry brown coloration. It comes with a big creamy tan head that likes to stick around for a really long time. On the nose, I was greeted with a big burst of piney hops atop a sweet malty caramel base. I also found an earthy woody character and some notes of dark fruits. Yup, just as rich and inviting as I remembered. I wasted no time diving in for that first taste.

The first note to hit my tongue was the caramel sweetness. It set up shop as a primary flavor, which was perfectly fine by my taste buds. Following closely behind was a strong yet restrained piney hop profile, which does a really nice job in balancing out the malty sweetness. I also found notes of toasted bread crust, earthy oak, savory dark fruits, pretty much the aromatic equivalents. This beer has a hearty medium body, great balance, and drinks relatively easy. The general mouthfeel is a bit prickly from the hops, but not in an offensive manner. There is an alcohol warming that is steady and present, but not distracting. For the most part, the hefty 9.6% ABV is very well hidden. The beer finishes clean and exits with a rich bittersweet aftertaste.

Overall, the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas is just as delicious as I remembered. I love getting to revisit this eccentric brew year after year. It's one of the few seasonal beers that I greet with open arms like an old college buddy. Lagunitas is a respected brewery with consistent quality, so I know they will never let me down. I can easily recommend this brew to most beer fans. Novices should proceed with caution because this beast packs a well hidden wallop. On that note, Lagunitas does offer an array of delicious and accessible brews that would serve perfectly as sturdy bridge beers. Use them to climb your way to the top where your undercover assignment awaits.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
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