We should all screw up this royally
A Review of Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Posted on 12/13/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
There is something to be said about honesty in the beer world. We at BrewChief.com pride ourselves at being, if nothing else, brutally honest when it comes to how beers are in regards to our personal palates. We have no problems saying that a beer will make you want to toss a nun headfirst into traffic just to erase the terrible memory of tasting it, no matter how many other people and places may have praised it. To each his own as we say. But there is something completely refreshing and awesome about a brewery just throwing all the public relations rules out the window and admitting ''Hey, we totally screwed up. Period.''. If you want a great example of this not only nipping things in the bud, but actually working out quite well for everyone, look no further than the recently released Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Now for those of you who don't know, one of the best winter seasonals on the market in recent years has been the Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas. I am actually lucky enough to have a couple of them sitting in my fridge right now. Don't ask how. It's better if you don't know. But something sucky has happened this year, and I think that Lagunitas can actually tell you better than I can about the crappy turn of events:

This sad holiday season we didn't have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga' Ale. You see we had a couple of really good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting the January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin' along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga' every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga' brewed, we'd short 3 cases of our favorite daily beers. It's a drag. This year, we brewed something that we think is also cool and brews more like our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure this kind of failure never happens again. It's a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga' this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it to be all over...

That paragraph is pure gold. They were direct, honest, funny, and well, awesome. I'll give you a moment to get the mental image of them having to ''munch moldy donkey butt'' out of your head. We good now? Alrighty. Moving right along. So they screwed up. Guess what? I'm here to tell you that their mistake is our gain.

When you pop the cap on it, the Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale jumps right out of the bottle to introduce itself to you. It grabs your nose and says ''Hi there! I'm going to be your entertainment for the next few minutes, so buckle up!''. How kind of it, no? When poured, it is a very bright, golden straw coloration, and carries a fluffy white head that puffs up to about two fingers worth before retreating to a slight cap that leaves some great webbing throughout the session. As mentioned earlier, it is a real nose grabber. There are some very bright and fresh hops notes that can be broken up into grapefruit, pineapple, pine resin, lemons, and even mangoes. The overall hops profile takes a few minutes to work through, but when you do, there is a solid malt layer that gives great hopes of a well balanced brew.

When you finally decide to go in for the first taste, you find yourself hoping that Lagunitas screws up more often. Talk about a tasty brew! The hops profile comes across in a more floral way than anything else. Very bright and tasty, and very far from aggressive. This is a beer that you can really chew on and examine with ease. The pine and grapefruit are there, but in no way twist your tongue into a knot. Then the pineapple and mango come through in a secondary manner, and do a great job of moving you into the muted caramel malt end to the flavor train. One can't help but notice the well balanced feel that it has after every sip. There is a slightly sticky feel to it when all is said and done, but the carbonation does a good job of keeping things relatively clean.

When you get about halfway through a session with the Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, you can't help but find yourself thinking ''Man, they should suck more!''. This is one of those times where out of failure comes total success. I have no problem recommending it to all levels of beer fans. The experienced drinkers might find it as more of a sessionable brew, but what the hell is wrong with that? It is the time of year to sit around with some friends and enjoy the company. This would make a perfect alternative brew to the normal winter offerings that are on the shelves for you guys. And the newbies in the better beer world have a great chance to put a very delicious and drinkable brew in their glasses and not be afraid to really dive in. So hats off to Lagunitas Brewing Company. Hat's off for your honesty. Hat's off for your humility. Hat's off for your sense of humor. And hat's off for making a great substitute brew for all of us.

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Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
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