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Beer of the Week: Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down AleAs 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.

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down - LimitedThis 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
ABV: 9.70%
IBUs: 34
Original Gravity:1.085
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!

 

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Beer of the Week: Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Beer of the Week - KBS - In Glass

Pour of KBS at Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest Party

Every year the annual release of Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is highly anticipated by craft beer lovers everywhere. KBS is a limited release, generally appearing in spring (this year at the beginning of April) and often sells out within minutes at the selected retailers that receive distribution. This year KBS shipped to 23 states, and because of the limited quantities (some stores only receive one case) customers are often limited to a single bottle, so you can imagine the race that ensues to acquire this coveted beer.

In 2012, Founders underestimated the demand for KBS and released a very limited amount, which definitely didn’t sit well with loyal fans. And while they never disclose how many barrels of KBS are produced, Founders did admit that for this year’s release they brewed “significantly more” KBS than they did last year

KBS – What’s the Big Deal?

Any limited-release or hard-to-acquire brew is often in high demand by craft beer fans, especially if it follows through on taste factor. Sometimes a brew is limited due to the amount of time or method involved in aging, ingredients, location, or other factors. I’ve personally had several of the more highly-esteemed beers in the craft beer community, and I do admit that KBS ranks up there in the top 10 for me.

Beer of the Week - KBS - brewtus614

Artfully arranged KBS bottles – compliments of Instagram friend @brewtus614

More About This Popular Brew

KBS “makes your taste buds squeal with delight” according to the Founders website, and I can vouch for this – it’s true. It is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate before being cave-aged for a full year in oak bourbon barrels under the city.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a thick black, with a minimal dark-tan head with some retention around the edge of the glass; lots of lacing as you drink.
Smell: Nose is sweet and roasted with coffee, chocolate and a hint of vanilla and oak.
Taste: Lives up to the hype; roasted, chocolate, vanilla (which typically comes from being aged in bourbon barrels) with a little hint of sweet bitterness; can also pick up on the oak and bourbon.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a real creamy smoothness; coats the tongue and lingers.  
Overall:
This was my first encounter with the esteemed KBS, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. I was drinking several very good beers in a flight while waiting for KBS to be poured at a local establishment’s Beer-Fest KBS party, and when compared side-by-side to KBS, the other beers definitely fell a bit into its shadow. In a special class, KBS is well worth the effort of hunting it down. I’m sure I’ll be doing the same when it releases again next year!

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.76 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2
IBUs: 70
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts:
Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released in April in 2013)
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti); Chocolate; Smoked or grilled meat
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it?
If you haven’t acquired a bottle or happened upon one of the select bars that had it on draft (for probably less than a day), then you’re probably out of luck until next year. Serious craft beer enthusiasts often hunt for the beer on the exact release date, or have connections within the community in order to acquire a bottle or two.