Lagunitas Brewing Company, out of Petaluma, CA, is quickly becoming my new favorite brewery on the West Coast. They’ve been consistently putting out beers ranging from traditional interpretations of old school styles to extreme offerings that push the envelope in many different ways. Take the Lagunitas Pils for example. Pilsner isn’t exactly the flashiest of styles, but it’s a traditional lager that’s been around for quite some time and countless interpretations have been put out by hundreds if not thousands of breweries. Lagunitas absolutely nails it with their Pils and presents one of the best interpretations that you’ll find outside of the Czech Republic and Germany. Crisp, dry, refreshing – It’s everything you’ll ever want in a Pilsner. Click here for one of the coolest features ever found on a brewery website – A virtual video tasting of the Pils.
While I enjoy throwbacks to older styles as much as the next guy, lately I’ve been more into the “Extreme” categories that are about as subjective as it comes in the beer world. My favorite beer of late from Lagunitas is their Hop Stoopid Ale. I’m a big fan of the citrusy, grapefruity hop profiles found out West and this Imperial IPA fits the bill perfectly. Certainly not traditional by definition, which is why it’s great to see that Lagunitas can work both sides of the beer spectrum so nicely. Today though, I want to present a tasting on what I think is a brew that will turn any good Alehead onto Lagunitas’ hoppy vibe. That beer, is the Little Sumpin’ Extra! Ale.
This new offering is an updated version, or I guess an amped up version, of their Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale that was brewed with a combination of wheat and barley malts as well as a huge dose of citrusy hops. Poured from a bomber into a Paper City Brewery Pint Glass (No reason, just what was clean), you’re immediately presented with a glorious head of rich, orange-hued goodness that oozes up to the top with a tightly knit lace. At 8%+ ABV, I barely noticed any alcohol on the nose and instead just got smacked in the face with a delicious mix of pine, resin, floral, and citrus hops. The underlying grapefruit, similar to what you’d get from a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for our wine aficionados, is present from beginning to end. Slightly bitter on the tongue, but nothing crazy. A nice malty backbone balances the clear abundance of hops. I really don’t detect any of the wheat that’s mixed into the grist but that’s probably just my unsophisticated taste buds and really no fault of the brewer. Mouthfeel is always tricky with Imperial/Double IPA’s since the hops alter your palette to a great extent. I would say that mouthfeel is a touch dry, coats the entire pie hole evenly, but overall it’s right in the middle between light and heavy. Drinkability for me is extremely high and I wished that I had another 22oz lined up after this one. That said, I’m sure there are many Aleheads out there that wouldn’t be able to handle any more than a glass of this Imperial Goddess. You pussies.
Like pretty much everything I’m drinking these days, I’ll give the Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Extra! Ale a 3.5 hop rating. What can I say? I know how to pick good beer. Availability around me is a bit tricky with this brewery and it seems that I’m missing out on some of their better offerings so I’ll be sure to keep my eyes out for anything new on the package store shelves. If you’re into big hop bombs, which I know some of you are, make sure you grab yourself a bottle of this beauty (And the Hop Stoopid for that matter). You won’t be disappointed.