Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lagunitas Imperial Red

Lagunitas Imperial Red is brewed by the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, CA. This is a limited release. 

Imperial Red Ales are another emerging, new style. They are essentially a double red ale, bigger malts and bigger hops. However, the name is loosely used. Some ales calls themselves Imperial Reds when they are just hoppy strong ales or darker DIPAs. 
Imperial Reds are a cross between the malty strong ales and hoppy double DIPAs which you can guess is very fluid. Lagunitas has a second, slightly different Imperial Red called Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale.

I bought this at the midtown Safeway in Sacramento for $9.99 for a six-pack. It has an ABV of 7.5%.

The beer pours a dark, clear red with a thick, off-white head that leaves thick lacings. The aroma has assertive fruity hops - sweet grapefruit, citrus, hints of tropical fruit, and a subtle, sweet malt backbone. The taste is a balancing act between strong, caramel malt flavors and the citrus, tropical, and grapefruit hops. The finish has a grapefruit bite with a smooth malty background. It has a medium body, with active carbonation.The mouthfeel is full and creamy.

Overall this is a special beer. The big maltiness and big, complex hops somehow come together for a smooth, very drinkable beer, despite the high ABV. I've had other Imperial Reds, but this is by far my favorite so far. The hops are pungent, but still allow an enjoyable distinct malt flavor. One sip will be malt dominant and another hop dominant. A perfect example of this new style. This is A Must Have It.

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