Thursday, September 22, 2011

CAUGHT & CAPTURED: LAGUNITAS’ “A LITTLE SUMPIN’ WILD”

The distribution and availability of this beer in a corporate retail grocery chain like Safeway is a victory for something – either for foolhardiness, or for the ever-increasing ubiquity of the craft beer drinker. It is not only the strongest beer I’ve ever seen sold in 6-packs next to Cheladas and Coronas, it’s certainly one of the best. LAGUNITAS BREWING likely have a deal with their large distributors that says anything that goes into a 6-pack gets put into anywhere that their flagship IPA goes. I extrapolate seeing this thing on the shelves at Safeway with dudes grabbing a sixer of this 9%+ ABV, Belgian strong pale ale and taking it camping to slam with the fellas, rather than gingerly buying one at a time and drinking it in the “appropriate glassware” as we aesthetes at Beer Samizdat have done. Those guys are probably still up in the mountains with headaches, wishing they’d grabbed those Cheladas instead.

I had my first “LITTLE SUMPIN’ SUMPIN’” ale from Lagunitas just a few weeks ago, and reported on it here. Thought I’d give the “LITTLE SUMPIN’ WILD” version of this a try as well. It is excellent. It has a creamy, buttery mouthfeel and the distinct taste of butterscotch. A real strong bite from extra-strong hopping is apparent as well – and hey, it’s 72 IBU (“international bitterness units”). That’s not for pantywaists! Tipping the scales at 9% as it does, it actually features a little bit of an alcohol burn, particularly as it warmed. I reckoned it was even a little harsh as I reached the bottom of the 12-oz. bottle. Here’s the deal – you’re not going to find many beers like this as mass-produced as this. This is truly a Belgian-style ale that should probably retail at double the price. Lagunitas, by virtue of their mediocre packaging and mass distribution, continue to be underrated by not just me but by a lot of y’all. Pretend this came from Russian River or Surly and get yourself a bottle posthaste, and let me know what you think. 8/10.

1 comment:

Barleywhiner said...

Really good stuff. I didn't realize that it was 9% and made the mistake of finishing the evening with a couple of these.