Lagunitas Twenty-Fifteen Olde GnarlyWine

Lagunitas is my favorite brewery. They worked hard, and they got there with consistency and deliciousness. They can do the gimmie beers really well, and they can do the difficult beers really, really well. A friend said that they have become the darling of hipsters, and I will forgive them, because the beer stands for itself.

This beer would be a brown ale if it weren't for the distinct red tone the permeates the beer. The exceptionally sticky head has tiny bubbles, but none so tiny that they may be mistaken for nitrogen. It eases down to a wispy doily that is patchy and alluring. The aroma is thick and very, very malty. I can almost taste the sour malt right through my nose. Raisins, orange, and biscuits float on top of that heady scent.

This beer proudly talks about sips on the label, so I'm going to give it the sip first. It's thick and full of character. I'm pretty sure I'm not a fan of these sour beers, though. This is really reminding me of one of the dark ales that I had. I had expected a barley wine, but this is definitely closer to the dark ales.  As with those, it definitely tastes better as you drink more, and it's not just the alcohol making it taste better. It grows on you as you sip it, and I fear that a large swig will actually halt that process. Nevertheless, this is my process.

Tip-in is actually very much like a wine - it tastes of fruit and alcohol. The middle is the sour malt with the biscuits and some citrus hunting around for a place. It's hard to peek out around the sour malt, though. And the finish comes down like a hammer with sour out the wazoo. Here's the thing, though, it manages to be really sweet while also being sour. It's an ale, so I expected hops, and I just don't taste much. Clearly not my favorite.

Bottom Line: Filled with character, this is right down the road for people who like dark ales. I'm not that guy.



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