Beer Details: Lagunitas Sucks from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Double IPA, 63 IBUs, 7.85% ABV, originally brewed to replace their popular Brown Shugga' in a year when the brewery was under construction. Available December through January.)
Appearance: This guy pours super-clear and deep golden-yellow with a billowy foaming head.
Aroma: Strong aromas of hops flower and lemon extract. Slightly floral undertone.
Taste: I usually go into a double IPA expecting to get a giant face punch of bitter hops, and so I was pleasantly surprised to only get a gentle slap from this one. There's an initial burst of fantastic hoppiness from the get-go, full of lemon zest, pine sap, and dry coriander. A touch of cracker-like malts fill out the middle, but otherwise there's not much maltiness to speak of before the sip moves right into the long and perfume-bitter finish.
Although smooth and slick at the beginning, this beer leaves my mouth dry and craving more. It's about as refined and nuanced as a beer can get. If you're a hop-lover, put this one on your bucket list.
Food: If you're into big dinner salads right now, this is a good beer to pair with them. A chopped salad with roasted chicken and lemon dressing with a slice of chewy multi-grain bread would be just the ticket.
(Image: Emma Christensen)