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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale Brown Shugga' Substitute

Well, Lagunitas is nothing if not overly honest.  Apparently they blew their production schedule and didn't have room for their winter seasonal Lagunitas Brown Shugga'.  Rather than moving on and hoping no one would notice, they released the self-effacing Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale (Brown Shugga' Substitute).  Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale poured a transparent gold color with medium carbonation trailing to a bright white, half inch foam head.  The nose carried pure mango and pineapple, and immediately reminded me of last night's beer in its similarity to Russian River's Pliny the Elder.

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale did not fully follow through on the promise of the nose, with the expected sweet pineapple juice at the start almost immediately met with an underlying, resinous bitterness.  Notes of pineapple and tropical fruits lingered throughout the taste, but the roughness of the bitterness and a bit too obvious alcohol heat ultimately stole from the show.  

Make no mistake, there are a lot worse decisions one could make than picking up a six pack of this limited released, but Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale Brown Shugga' Substitute is so close to being a well balanced, sublime beer that the flaws (which are common and not flaws in most IPAs) take away from the experience as a whole.  Cheers to Lagunitas, regardless, and their dedication to honesty and the pursuit of great beer.

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