Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Extra Ale: A Rare Treat

I was at my folks’ place this weekend, and what did I find? Why, a delicious Lagunitas ale. The historical records on the Instagram say that I bought a six pack of Lil’ Sumpin’ Extra ale 53 weeks ago during a trip to Minnesota. Needless to say I was pretty stoked when I found it! I brought it home with me so that I might be able to taste it in the comfort of my own home. This is the story of that tasting.

First taste - Sept. 8 2015
Shakopee, MN
The Lagunitas Brewing Company, located in Petaluma, CA (with a satellite brewery in Chicago) has been around since 1993, started by Tony Magee; a music-loving former Xerox salesman. Tony is also the author of the book “So You Want to Start A Brewery?” Now that is an amazing - albeit scary - read. I highly recommend it; it’s definitely a Cinderella story. But I digress...

This delicious double IPA rings in at 72.51 IBU and 8.5% ABV, and pours a clear, coppery colour with a white, frothy head. It smells amazing; after a year of aging it the booze is starting to come out as the hops have faded a bit, but the result is the sweet - but not cloying - aroma of maple syrup. It’s got some yeasty notes as well, and a light floral aroma as well. The brew smells well balanced, sweet vs. bitter, which I believe is also a result of the aging. It may not be, though, it’s been a bit over a year since I’ve had a fresh one!
Home tasting - Sept. 20 2016
Ottawa, ON
Once I get a sip of a Lil’ Sumpin’ Extra, I taste pretty much the same as I smelled: maple syrup, a bit of booze… it would actually be a nice little warmer in the coming months. Again, the sweetness wasn’t cloying, and it balanced out well with the softened hop flavours. There is still some hop bitterness in there, but the malts are definitely higher up on the food chain. The beer finishes out with an earthy, molasses flavour, and the booze stays with us the whole way.

Overall, I’m quite glad that I accidentally left this beer in my parents’ cellar. It was a pleasure to drink, and - since I’m not bound for the states any time soon - a rare treat. This might be a good treat to pair with a pecan pie, which would also be a delicious fall treat. If you can get your hands on a Lil’ Sumpin’ Extra, I highly recommend it. If you cannot - since it was a limited release, I suggest trying to at least get your hands on a Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’ ale. Or any of the Lagunitas brews (now available here in Ottawa!) This brew was definitely a treat, both fresh and aged, and I certainly hope to find it again in the future!

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