Monday, November 7, 2011

Lagunitas Brewing Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen

Laguintas.  9% ABV.   Copious hops.  Long finish.  You'd think I was describing a new Laggie IPA but I'm actually about to speak on the new doppel weizen.  To my knowledge, this is Laggie's first foray into the world of German brewing.  Ok, so they have the excellent Pils, but there are far more barrels of  pilsner and pilsner-like substances brewed in the U.S. than in Deutschland.

Anyway, Laggie's invading Germany and based on the specs I just gave you, it's about to be D-Day for your palate.  This is because Laggie rarely does anything without an abundance of hops, and they come out swinging with this one.  Traditional German brewers will scoff at how the classical style has been inverted here.  If this is served to you in a tulip glass, it will have difficulty holding in the monstrous, gleaming white head on this.  Dandelions, grass, and some citrus dominate the nose, but there's something else in there to let you know it's not going to be a straight up DIPA besides that cloudy orange-yellow color that looks dyed.  That extra something is banana-orange and this beer is plentiful in that department.  You can smell it a bit but, brother, can you taste it.  In fact, it's downright beautifully blended with the hops for the first few sips.  The lacing on the glass is intricate and pervasive.  That's when things start to turn.

By the time you're halfway through it a dramatic tasting profile develops.  You are enjoying the medium body with tight carbonation.  Then, you tongue starts to get divided like the North and South at Gettysburg.  The front of your tongue becomes entirely saturated with bananas and orange.  Meanwhile, massive pine flavored hops rule the back and quickly dry out that part of your tongue, leaving a resiny hop acid burn you'd expect from a serious DIPA.  Remarkably, this all happens at the same time. 

This is an outstanding beer - make that another outstanding beer - from Lagunitas, whom I get the impression is slightly underrated in the craft beer world.  Maybe it's because they're cherished for making outstanding conventional styles but not considered the bold innovators like Stone, Dogfish, Founders, Boulevard or some others.  It's a bit unfair of a criticism and certainly off-base.  Here, they have truly innovated with the doppel weizen, putting an American craft brew stamp on it with some hopp-ed up West Coast flavor.   The drawbacks are that the alcohol level is excessive, and they need to solve the stark contrast between the hops and the other flavors which lose their union after the first few sips. 

4.1 of 5 stars. 

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