Monday, June 23, 2014

Lagunitas Brewing Company - NightTime Black Ale

Fear the Dark?
"Fear the Dark." That's the slogan printed underneath the name of this American Black Ale from Lagunitas. Trust me, I'm not scared, homie. Whatever you can brew up, I can handle! (I hope.)

I first sampled NightTime at the Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, CA. Hey! If you're ever in the area, you MUST tour Lagunitas. It's not your typical brewery tour, that's for sure. First, the fine folks at Lagunitas START the tour with a beer tasting. That's how it should be done! Why make drooling beer aficionados slog past giant steel tanks, forklifts and stacks of loaded pallets before they get to taste the wares?  We all know why we're there! Gratefully, Lagunitas does, too.

Actually, the tour is very interesting. You'll get to hear the TRUE story behind the "Undercover Shutdown". (It should really be made into a movie.) The brewpub at the end of it all is also topnotch. Tasty, unpretentious pub grub and a lot more tasty beer.

Where was I? Oh, yeah! NightTime. It's an American Black Ale, which is also known as a Black IPA or, by my favorite moniker, a Cascadian Dark Ale. It comes with an ABV of 8.2% and 63 IBU's. How did Lagunitas do with it? Let's find out...

The beer poured into my IPA chalice a pitch black color that only let a little bit of light through around the edges. The mocha colored head was spectacular. Creamy, clumpy and it was almost two fingers thick. Retention was seemingly endless. Copious amounts of sudsy, webby lacing was left all over the glass.

Aroma was citrus and pine hops right up front. If I was blindfolded, I'd say IPA right away. However, there was a distinctive roasted malt smell bringing up the rear. Mild cocoa notes with hints of dark fruit.

Taste followed the nose. Big citrus and pine hops banging it up with an unexpected dankness. Grapefruit, lemon, orange. Tropical fruit. Pineapple. Nice. As the initial hops flavors faded out, there was a rich, roasted malt taste left on the palate. Really a nice balance there. Cocoa, coffee and over-ripe fruit flavors. Pleasantly complex. Lots of flavor competition. I like it!

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. There's some body to the stuff. Creamy finish. No hint of the 8.2% alcohol.

Overall, this is an excellent brew. I'd drink it anywhere, anytime--even at nighttime, with no fear whatsoever. I'm giving Lagunitas NightTime a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. I highly recommend.

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