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Skagit Brew Corner: Lagunitas Sucks (Or Does It?)

lagunitassucksSome breweries embrace their shortcomings. Few share their hopes and fears. Hardly any would say their beer sucks. But Lagunitas Brewery does so proudly on the label for their latest release: “We found in the darkness a spark of inspiration that would yield up this nearly sanctified hop slathered recipe tragically named the Lagunitas Sucks.”

Visit the Co-op today and take home a six pack of this unusual brew known as Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute Ale. This double IPA packs a punch and a welcome wake up for wintertime. To fully understand the significance of this brew once must first consider Lagunitas aforementioned Brown Shugga.

The legend of Brown Shugga begins in 1997, when the brewers at Lagunitas attempted to revive a batch of failed seasonal Gnarleywine. They added brown sugar and released Brown Shugga Ale: a sweet and hoppy American Strong Ale with an alcohol content of 9.99%. As its label details, the beer was made by “feeding brown cane sugar to cultured brewery yeast…akin to feeding Raw Shark to your Gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without Human Intervention. But it has happened and now it’s too late.” The signature beer was so popular they brewed a batch each year until 2010. Due to construction at the brewery no Brown Shugga was brewed that year and Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute was born.

Although Brown Shugga is now being brewed in limited quantities, Lagunitas Sucks is making a comeback of its own. Known for their irreverent labeling and interpretation of classic American brewing styles, such as the India Pale Ale, Lagunitas is a high quality craft California brewery that offers a number of excellent ales with unconventional titles, including their bestselling IPA and Censored Copper Ale.

What I Drank: Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute from Lagunitas Brewing, Petaluma, CA. 7.35% Alcohol by volume / 63 IBUs

What I Ate: Co-op Deli’s Texas BBQ Wrap, a hearty portion of pulled chicken (local, hormone and antibiotic free) with pinto beans, rice, onions, spices and barbeque sauce. I added some hot sauce for good measure. Look for it in the Deli’s cold case. If it’s not there, try the Thai Wrap instead.

What I Thought: This double IPA is a fiesty blend of cereals, including barley, rye and oats. Generously hopped, its deep golden color and  gently cajoles the palate with notes of lemon zest, pine, toasted spices and a hint of mango. Makes an excellent companion to foods with hot flavors such as the Co-op’s Green Chile Hummus or a cheddar cheese burger with topped with jalapeno peppers or horseradish.

Posted by Claire

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.