Would the change in sugar really change the taste of a big strong ale? I do not know what whole cane sugar differences exist but I would be quite interested to try especially if Lagunitas would sell a regular and unrefined two pack.

Whither Lagunitas?

In late October, the news broke that Lagunitas (or was it Heineken) had closed a Community Room charitable space in Portland. It was PR claimed that it was a hard decision to make but I am pretty sure that the big brewery could have stopped taking reservations and then easily found the spare change in the marketing department couch to keep the place afloat through all the booked events or called it quits on January 2nd.

This led me back to a conversation I had recently where the massive Lagunitas complex off the 210 freeway was brought up and how it had completely fallen off the map in the Los Angeles beer universe. Back in time when I was invited there on media day and saw all the space for trucks to be loaded with easy access to move out onto the freeway to send Lagunitas beer to the large SoCal market and presumably to Mexico. Space for brewing and taprooms and food. But years have passed and no rooftop garden bar as spoken of. Nothing but a temporary taproom that had the look of thrown together over a weekend which I don’t even know is open or not anymore. And there ha been nary an update about the whole project since.

If two states are affected, in two widely disparate areas like Portland and SoCal, there is something afoot. This feels like a re-trenchment from above and not something guided by Petaluma HQ. I expected this to happen to one of the “High End” breweries or Constellation with the inflated Ballast Point sale but maybe Heineken hit a financial wall first. A self-imposed wall to be sure.

Sparkly Hoppy

Since I take a couple days off from alcohol and caffeine each week, I have needed a replacement drink. I have settled in on Trader Joe’s sparkling water. (grapefruit being a favorite) But I have dabbled in other sparklers so when I saw the Lagunitas Hop Water, I decided to give it a try. The drink pours a strange off white, ever so slightly green in color. Initial aroma is that of pear. Taste starts with citrus hops but quickly heads to sodaville. Has the sparkling water fizz to it. Tangerine at the end for me. Edging towards candy.  If you tend to the soda side of sparkling water with a note of hops, then you will like this.

Hazy with a Change

Heinken’s California brewery, Lagunitas is going all types of hoppy in the near future. Adding hazy to their Sumpin’ line and then wet-hopping another seasonal. No use for filters in Petaluma.

New New Castle

Looks like Heineken is using it’s Lagunitas purchase to kick start the traditional brown ale of Newcastle….

I don’t know if with all the mergers and acquisitions if this is still a Flagship but certainly is news for this month.

Better Use of Hops

Now that H2OPS is in my local Whole Foods, I will occasionally pick up a bottle partially to spite the La Croix people but also I like the taste of it. I wish it were hoppier and that they had single-hop waters but I am not complaining.

Now Lagunitas with that mad Heineken money is getting into the sparkle water segment with a Citra, Equinox, and Centennial hops water as part of (I guess) their foray into weed water, Hi-Fi Hops.

This water also has brewers yeast “which the company said will “biotransform-ate the hops to just the right flavour.”

Personally, I think the spiked water trend is not long for this world, much like the spiked soda’s seem on the verge of playing out. Maybe this will work but it will need to have some actual hop kick for me to buy more than one.

Wheelin’ & Dealin’

Activity comes in bunches it seems. After a few quiet weeks, acquisitions came roaring back into the beer world.

Those who don’t believe in coincidence might think that the news was timed to hide under all the Make America Sick Again healthcare debate.

Lets recap:
1. Brooklyn Brewery enters into a sales “platform” with Funkwerks and 21st Amendment

2. Shorts Brewing sells 19.99% to Lagunitas

3. Coronado acquires fellow San Diegan, Monkey Paw Brewing.

4. An un-named SoCal brewery put itself up for sale

Call this a response to having the highest number of breweries in operation ever. For events 1 & 2, it also shows the creative ways that people are staying Brewers Association street legal while growing bigger.

Thanks to a soft Twitter ban and some judicious unfollowing of the Debbie Downers that seem to populate the Tweet-isphere, I haven’t seen much vitriol towards the these moves. Mostly because they avoid the Scarlet A of Anheuser-Busch. Which shows me that some people see what a stain that is on a company and are opting to avoid it.

But if I can get a supply, even limited of Short’s beers in L.A., it is a development that I welcome.


Looks like the quart size (32oz) bottles that Lagunitas usually reserves for Sucks is being called into action for this new Sake and Rice inspired beer.

I think the weird little punchy kid should be absent from the next label though.