New Brew: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

19 Sep

Hop Stoopid

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Lagunitas as a brewery.  An on-again, off-again type of affair.  While many breweries develop a sort of “house flavor” – a common flavor profile shared by several beers within a brewery’s catalog due to the use of similar yeast strains, hop varieties, recipe bases and brewing techniques – Lagunitas has always stood out as having a distinctly one-dimensional repertoire.  For as many one-off’s and special releases as they turn out, it seems as though the vast majority of them are hopped-up strong pale ales with a very similar overall impression or variations on that theme.  Don’t give me wrong, I like this one beer they seem to be repackaging over and over.  I just wish they’d branch out a little.  There’s a wide world out there beyond Southern California-style über-hoppy IPAs.  That said, here I am, sampling for the first time another double IPA, aptly named Hop Stoopid, that I purchased this evening on my first visit to the new(ish) Steve’s on PD.

Beer: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Vitals: 102 IBUs, O.G. 1.085, 8.0% ABV

Description: “So Hoppy that it threatens to remove the enamel from one’s teeth. – lagunitas.com”

My take: This one pours a crystal clear pale orange under a strangely wispy white head. Sifting around on the innernets a bit and subsequently deciphering the Lagunitas trademark rambling in size 2 font on the label, I came to find that this beer is brewed with no whole hops, rather an insane amount of liquid hop extracts and hop oils.  Apparently the amount of whole hops it would have taken to produce this beer would have no doubt clogged the mash tun and made an awful mess.  This revelation explains the clean and potent hop aromas and flavors present here that can only be described as resinous or oily.  Absent is any kind of herbal or vegetal hop depth, which I think would have made for a rounder product, but is certainly in line with Lagunitas’ clean house hop profile.  Also typical for the brewery is ample residual sweetness which, while a welcome respite from the hoppy assault, leaves one with sticky lips and probably a cavity or two.

The creativity of an all-extract double IPA is certainly novel and it does satiate that hop-head jonze that I am wont to develop, but I can’t say it has changed my overall impression of the brewery.  Ultimately, Lagunitas may be a one-note brewery, but at least it’s a pretty good note; and at ~$4 a bomber for a double IPA, it’s a cheap buzz at the very least.

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