The Brew Review: Lagunitas ‘Sucks’ is sweet and strong

Darlene Wendels / The Collegian

For beer enthusiasts, trying a new beer is an exciting event. When a beer hits the shelves, it’s a matter of when you’ll try the new beer, not if, but it doesn’t have to be brand new for to hold the same level of excitement.

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the Petaluma, California-based brewing company, is known for its inexpensive hoppy beers.

In 2011, construction issues at the brewery led to a shortage of the popular seasonal brew called Brown Shugga’. With that in mind, Lagunitas brewed a “substitute.”

Lagunitas Sucks, self-labeled as the “Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale,” is excellent. It boasts strong hops and a sweetness uncommonly found in Lagunitas beers.

The aroma resembles that of a barley wine or strong ale more than an IPA, the beer type Lagunitas is widely known for. After all, Lagunitas IPA is the number one selling IPA in California.

Despite the smell, the first taste of Sucks is heavy in hops. While Lagunitas beers usually allow you to enjoy the delicious hops flavor, this beer immediately goes in the opposite direction.

After the initial sharp, hoppy flavor, your palate is quickly greeted with an unusual sweetness.

Sweet like honey, the beer finishes very cleanly and leaves you wanting more of the strange flavor shift.

It finishes so quickly and smoothly that you won’t believe that it’s a heavy 8-percent alcohol by volume.

The beer that Lagunitas started putting out seasonally after its yearly edition of Brown Shugga’, has apparently made the leap from to seasonal year-round beer for the brewery.

The one downside to the beer is that the only way to buy it in the retail market is big, unclassy 32-ounce bottles. Beer is beer, so it doesn’t really matter how you drink it, but you can probably expect to be intoxicated after only one because of its size.

Regardless, if you find it on tap in a bar, or see the 32-ounce bottle on the shelf, it  is definitely worth the purchase. You won’t be disappointed by its complexity or flavor.

4 out of 5 stars

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