This beer originates from a popular brew usually available from Lagunitas called Brown Shugga. Brown Shugga itself was actually a happy mistake – it started as a failed attempt to brew a batch of beer that Lagunitas then attempted to save by adding large amounts of brown sugar. Low and behold it became a case of serendipity indeed!
There is a sad part to this story, however. Due to limited brewery resources and an unfinished brewery upgrade, Lagunitas was unable to brew their normal batch of Brown Shugga in 2011 for their 2012 release, which wasn’t news that settled well. To take responsibility for their actions, they took the self-depreciating approach by releasing “Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute Ale” in the hopes of receiving forgiveness from the public. Regular Brown Shugga has a more involved brewing process while the “substitute” brews more like their regular beers, which is what allowed them to come up with the alternate.
I’ve personally not been able to try the original Brown Shugga, so I’m hoping Lagunitas will get back to their normal rhythm allowing me to sample the “non-substitute” version in the future. I personally found the Brown Shugga Substitute Ale that hit the shelves to be a fine alternate for the taste buds in the meantime!
Tasty Mug Review
Appearance: Pours a clear, medium orange/amber with a nice head and lots of lacing.
Smell: First thought here is that it smells awesome! Hoppy, sweet and citrusy.
Taste: Very complex yet balanced taste that is full of flavor. Sweet, sharp and citrus upfront with some bitter following after. It finishes warm and fruity (like tropical fruits) and the flavor lingers on the tongue.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with the perfect amount of carbonation.
Overall: A super tasty beer that I would definitely indulge in again. It’s very well-rounded and drinkable. Lagunitas generally produces quality brews so no surprise here!
Tasty Mug Rating: 4.63 / 5
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Original Gravity: 1.085
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released late Dec 2012/early Jan 2013) for this Winter release
Food Pairings: Cheese (peppery; Monterey/Pepper Jack, sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola); Grilled meat, barbeque, salmon
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions