Hey look, I’m writing a beer review. It’s been a while. A couple years ago, I used to write weekly beer reviews for a local magazine (OK, it may be a stretch to call it a magazine, but I digress). I’d make sure I posted the review here, and I had several people tell me how much they missed it when I stopped writing for them. Well, it’s high time I start writing them again. I won’t make promises to do them weekly, but I can’t say that I won’t do multiple reviews in a week. It’s my blog, so I’ll post stuff when I want.
Most people that know me, know that IPAs are far and away my favorite type of beer to drink. Thus, my fridge is full of IPAs of all sorts. I’ve got everything from session IPAs all the way to double IPAs and (soon) black IPAs. So, guess what most of my beer reviews will be about? So let’s get started.
Lagunitas finally entered the Louisiana market in the fall of 2014, and the first beer I asked the rep and distributor for was their double IPA named Sucks. If you don’t know the story behind Sucks, check it out here. It took too damn long, but after my persistent begging (I’m sure the distributor and brewery rep are glad to finally get me off their backs), Sucks finally made it here to Baton Rouge. I bought a six pack of Sucks for $9.49 from The Beverage Store (shameless plug for the beer store with the best prices in the city), so it’s probably $10-11 elsewhere.
Thanks to Lagunitas’ archaic bottle dating system, you need an abacus to determine when it was bottled. They use the Julian calandar to date their bottles, and you have to look really hard high on the neck of the beer to see the black ink printed. This beer was bottled on the 211th day of the year, which by looking up on my handy dandy chart, translates to July 30th. It’s kind of a bummer that this beer is already nearly a month old when it hit our shelves, but whatevs. On to the beer.
It had been a while since I had this beer, and I really loved it the few times I’ve had a chance to drink it. I poured it into my sweet Lagunitas mason jar style glass, and it was a beautiful golden color. It’s not too dark (if you’re a brewer reading this and your IPA is an amber color, stop. Remove the crystal malts from your recipe and try again), and it looks like an IPA should. I was somewhat disappointed in the aroma. I remember Sucks having a big dank and piney aroma, and this one was a bit muted (was it because it’s a month old?). The taste, however, was what I remember. It’s a big piney IPA, with some slight grapefruit, peach, and floral notes. But the main flavor is pine. There’s a touch of sweetness to it, which I guess makes it balanced, but not in a bad way. Some big IPAs are so sweet that you lose the hop flavors, but that’s not the case with Sucks. I might prefer it to be a touch drier, but that’s nitpicking. The mouthfeel is a touch bigger than medium (much like my shirt size right now). The finish has some hop bitterness to it and it lingers a bit, but isn’t too crazy. These bottles are listed at 8%, whereas I remember all the previous bottles were listed at 7.85%. I guess they do things a bit differently in the Chicago brewery than the Petaluma brewery. The original gravity is listed at 1.085, which means to finish at 8%, it has a final gravity in the 1.025 range. That likely accounts for some of that sweetness on the finish, but I don’t think it drinks like a sugary mess (most double IPAs worth a damn finish at a much drier 1.010-1.015 FG).
All in all, Lagunitas Sucks is probably the best valued double IPA around. In a time when many 22oz bomber of double IPAs go for $12 or more, Lagunitas has managed to give us 72oz of delightful hops for about $10. In fact, all of Lagunitas’ beers represent good value, especially when compared to most other craft beer prices. So while I didn’t quite like Sucks as much as I remember, I can easily look past that when I know I can get a $10 sixer. If you want to try it, I wouldn’t delay, because who knows when the next shipment will make it to Baton Rouge? It took damn near an act of Congress to get it here now, even though the label states that it’s an “Un-Limited Edition.” So grab some and enjoy your glass o’ hops.