As seems to be the case with most beers from Lagunitas, Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale has a story behind it – and what beer with that kind of name wouldn’t!?
What Lagunitas has to say about it:
“We brewed this especially bitter ale in remembrance of the 2005 St Patrick’s Day Massacre and in commemoration of our 20-day suspension that followed. The ABC conducted an undercover investigation of our brewery, finding us guilty of operating a “Disorderly House.” We did the crime. We did the time. We got the bragging rights.”
Let me translate the above into layman’s terms for you. To me, this sounds like another example of an unfair crackdown from “The Man.” In this instance, “The Man” is otherwise known as the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control).
Back in 2005, Lagunitas was in the habit of having weekly tasting parties that involved food, music, and of course, beer. Well for some reason the ABC decided Lagunitas was having too much fun, and undercover law enforcement started to attend these weekly parties in an attempt to rack up charges and shut Lagunitas down. Well, after 8 weeks they finally had enough “evidence” to temporarily shut Lagunitas down for 20 days.
This situation (not surprisingly) did not sit well with Lagunitas, so to get back at “The Man” they have since produced various releases of this brew, as a kind of a homage if you will, to this historical event. I’m personally more than happy to partake in this bottled portion of beer history, and I recommend you go out and get your own six-pack to do the same while this limited release version is still out on the shelves.
Tasty Mug Review
Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep amber with a nice foamy head, lots of lacing and good glass retention.
Smell: Hops, caramel, very faint floral notes.
Taste: Very pleasant and balanced hoppy bitterness. Definite caramel malty tones to this as well. I found it to be quite delicious.
Mouthfeel: Well-balanced carbonation, crispness and smooth, medium body.
Overall: This is a very drinkable beer. In fact I’m mildly drooling just writing this review and have already hoarded a couple six-packs in my basement. The amount of booze in this beer is sneaky – you can’t even tell that it it’s a high ABV until you’ve had enough sips that the telltale boozy warmth sets in. The flavor is well-balanced between hops, bitterness and sweetness and my best guess is this will drink well on both warm or cold days; it’s versatile. I’d also recommend this brew to any craft beer newbies out there because it’s full-flavored with a lot of balance – it’s a great example of a well-done brew.
Tasty Mug Rating: 4.31 / 5
Style: American Strong Ale
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Seasonal – April (packaging states it is a Limited Release)
Food Pairings: Cheese (nutty; Colby, Parmesan)
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter or Mug
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions
Where to get it:
I’ve seen this in multiple beer stores locally and it’s not difficult to find at the moment. However, it’s listed as a Limited Release so I’d recommend scooping up your six-pack soon while the getting’s good!