I say “Lagunitas Sucks.” “Heresy,” you say. “Blasphemy,” you cry. Clam down; Lagunitas Sucks is a relatively newish seasonal/limited release from Tony Magee and crew. It started a few years ago as a substitute for their Brown Shugga. In the irreverent way Lagunitas does pretty much everything, they released Lagunitas Sucks as a sort of apology for not being able to release Brown Shugga. Only “problem” is that Lagunitas Sucks is a damn terrific beer. Oops, spoiler alert.
Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip.
AVAILABLE: LATE NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
Sold as: 6-Packs & Kegs (plus 32oz Quarts in select markets)
Net contents: Ounces and ounces of Malt, Hops, Yeast and water.
Appearance: Sucks pours a orange-amber color that is a maybe a shade darker than your usual IPA. It is also fairly clear with only a touch of hop haze. By now means murky, but not brilliant in clarity. The head is white and leaves thick lacing down my Lagunitas mug.
Smell: As means of a disclaimer, this is my second bottle of Sucks this year, and I’m having it a few months past its prime. However, there are still notes of orange, citrus and pine in the nose. The pine is super strong in a fresh example. It’s a great smelling beer at its freshest, but the tangerine/orange/mango smells dominates now. Not that that’s bad.
Taste: Again, I’m not having this at its freshest… There’s a quick bitter punch up front, but it’s a glancing blow for the 63.21 (seriously, Tony?) IBUs. This beer is more bitter at its peak, but this is still a very nice, flavorful brew. There’s a lot of hop character in the flavor. Multiple citrus tones mesh with a bit of a resiny finish. If you burp – like I just did – you get that distinct hoppy tang. The malts fill in the background, but it is the hops that shine here.
Mouthfeel: Sucks isn’t puckeringly bitter, but it does linger on your tongue. It’s fairly light-bodied and quaffable (slightly dangerous for 7.85% ABV). Very smooth.
Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. Buy it… next year.
I’ve been a real cad about some of my beer review lately, both reviewing rare beers or beers that are currently out of production. Sucks is a limited release, so you’ll have to wait until next year’s holiday season to get your grubby little paws on some. That said – if you’re an IPA fan – it is absolutely worth the wait. Buy and try it as fresh as you can to get the full experience. This is a stellar beer.
On a bit of a side note: Lagunitas is expanding its brewing operations into Chicago next year. So it will be a bit easier to find Sucks and Lagunitas’ other great brews around the country. Let’s just hope that Tony Magee’s opinions stay in Petaluma.