Name: Lagunitas Brewing Company

Location: Petaluma, California

Type: Production brewery

Available in DC Market: Yes

What you need to know: Excuse me while I riff a little bit on how much I love Lagunitas. In a world where you pay a premium for quality beer, Lagunitas seems to have the mindset that you shouldn’t have to. Lagunitas’s bombers are some of my favorites (Hop Stoopid, Lucky 13, and Wilco Tango Foxtrot all come to mind), and they’re also (usually) some of the cheapest in the store ($4.99 in a lot of places). 22 ounces of craft beer for $5? Unreal. Another example is their Gnarlywine (it’s a barleywine for our context clue impaired readers). It’s 11% ABV, which means there’s a ton of malt that goes into creating all of those sugars, and a ton of hops that goes into balancing that malt out. And yet you can buy said beer, which is a very tasty barleywine by the way, for $5 for a full pour at ChurchKey. How Lagunitas manages to produce a quality product at that price point is beyond me, but they must be doing something right because they’re one of the fastest growing breweries in America. In 2004, they produced 27,000 barrels. By 2010, that number had grown to 106,000 barrels. In early 2012, they will start an expansion project that will push their capacity to 600,000 barrels, which would certainly push them into the top 10 nationally. Oh, one last note. The IPA that they’re bringing to SAVOR? It’s usually the best-selling IPA in the state of California. Think about all of the IPAs made in California. This one sells the best. Unreal.


Beer #1: A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Notes: An IPA made with wheat, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ is 7.5% ABV but you would never know it by the smoothness of the finish. This beer has a huge citrus hop kick. Very tasty. The only downside is that this is pretty widely available in DC, so you may be tempted to skip it, but this is still a tremendous single IPA.

Beer Advocate: A- (665 reviews)
Rate Beer: 98 overall, 98 style

Beer #2: IPA

Notes: This is a really nice west coast IPA. Resinous with a nice pine and citrus note. There’s also enough maltiness to give it a little bit of a backbone. Like I mentioned above, this IPA is the best-selling one in California. Let’s see how it fares with the SAVOR crowd.

Beer Advocate: B+ (1,088 reviews)
Rate Beer: 94 overall, 88 style

Summary: I love Lagunitas, but I wish they had brought some other beers, to be honest. I love the IPA and the LSS, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing WTF (not a lot of really well-done India brown ales out there), or maybe even the Little Sumpin’ Wild. Great to see them both at SAVOR and continuing to expand!

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2011 SAVOR participants.

Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.