Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale. / Tony Gibersonemail@example.com
You may have noticed that Iíve been sticking to craft beer made here in these United States lately. The reason is that May 14-20 is officially American Craft Beer Week. I know, I know Ö by the time you read this itíll be May 23, and the point will be moot, right? Unless youíre like me and donít need an excuse to consider every week American Craft Beer Week.
Iíll observe our holidays, sure, but just donít ask me to strictly adhere to tradition. Youíll never find me dressed like a pseudo-leprechaun and celebrating St. Patrickís Day by binge-drinking stout that probably wasnít even made in Ireland in the first place.
So Iím a few days late with the whole Craft Week thing. What can I say? Itís been a busy month. With Motherís Day and Maibock being such timely topics the past couple of weeks, I thought I could let this one slide a little. So, let me catch up to the rest of you, and weíll talk about one of my all-time favorite American breweries: Lagunitus.
First of all, these guys are a nutty bunch, bordering on the weird. Go ahead, check out the labeling on their bottles. Peruse their website for a minute or two. Someone over there is touched in the head. Thereís some madman poetry at work here thatís equal parts Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski. Lagunitusí core ideas and mission statements come off like a stoned philosophy professor. They all make beautiful, bizarre sense, but it helps to be stoned, too.
Disclaimer: Iím not advocating the sale nor the consumption of illicit narcotics. Neither am I advocating becoming a poet or a philosophy professor. Thatíd be plain irresponsible.
Oh, yeah. Lagunitus also makes killer beer. With the weather turning warm, I thought Iíd give their wheat ale a try for the first time. A Little Sumpiní Sumpiní is a bold beer that daringly uses wheat in 50 percent of its wort. More slightly deranged madness at play, as wheat can be very sticky in the filter screen.
It looks like a traditional weizenbier ó hazy gold with light orange highlights and a fluffy head that, while departing rather quickly, leaves very nice lacing behind. The liberal use of Oregonian hops does a wonderful job drawing out the natural citrus scents from the wheat. The nose is all things at once: pine, citrus, flowers and tropical fruit. Flavor-wise, thereís loads of peach, pineapple, tangerine and ruby red grapefruit. Here the wheat and barley act to keep the Columbus, Cascade and Centennial hops in check by halting their acid at just the right time. Its bitterness is never out of control, leaving nothing but an incredibly drinkable beer.
Better late than never, so hurry and raise a glass of this in salute to craft brewers everywhere.
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