19 Dec, 2016

Lagunitas NightTime

The Electoral College is voting today, but that’s not going to break our way and honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. I’m pretty sure that if, by some miracle, the Electoral College actually voted someone besides Trump into the presidency, this whole damn country would burn straight to the ground.

Instead, let’s talk about the best beer I’ve tried in awhile: Lagunitas NightTime.

So, some backstory: I did not drink prior to moving to Oregon. It wasn’t out of any sort of puritanism or tee-totaler mentality as much as because everything I’d tried up to that point had tasted pretty bad. Wine, beer, liquor – it all tasted gross to me. To be fair, I had mostly sampled garbage. Miller and Budweiser. Watered-down dirt cheap well liquors. Five-dollar wines. I once tried a sip of Mad Dog and I swear to god I can still taste it in my mouth to this day, and it’s been 20 years. That kind of crap will cure anyone of liking alcohol.

Then I moved out to Oregon where, as far as I can tell, they only sell Budweiser as a joke.

It also helps that my Jim has pretty good taste in alcohol. Previous boyfriends/husbands had – it turns out – terrible taste in alcohol. (In retrospect it seems perfectly obvious that they would’ve, but y’know. The things you don’t notice at the time…)

Jim introduced me to beers that actually taste like something you’d want to drink, and now I’m starting to investigate wines. We’ve also determined that there are several liquors I quite enjoy. (Notably, they’re all ridiculously expensive. I don’t have the budget to drink liquor.)

We drink pretty rarely. Jim’s diabetic for one thing, and I have no interest in drinking a lot. We have a beer or a glass of wine once every couple of months or so, but we do like to try new things when we have a drink, so we tend to scoop up interesting new beers or wines whenever we spot them.

The Lagunitas NightTime was one of these finds. We bought it back in October for Halloween, then ended up having a Fall plague that prevented us from going to the party where we’d intended to drink the beer. So there it sat, forlorn and nigh-forgotten, in the fridge, until last night.

I know nearly nothing about alcohol. Lagunitas refers to NightTime as an IPA, India Black Ale and India Dark Beer, and it does say “ale” on the bottle, but NightTime reminded me of all my favorite stouts and porters. It’s a dark beer, which I tend to prefer. Really, I want a loaf of rye bread in a bottle when I get a beer.

The first thing I noticed about NightTime was the scent. It smelled like fruit and toast in the glass, and it tasted sharp and bitter and black, if a thing can taste like a color. It was acrid and dry, and left little aftertaste – very clean. The scent combined with the flavor to create something lovely and rich, though.

Unlike a porter or stout, NightTime is a pretty light beer to drink. Drinking a good stout almost feels like you have to chew it. It’s a very thick beer. NightTime isn’t. You could have this ice cold on a hot day and be pretty happy with yourself over the choice. It’s also best cold, unlike most of the stouts I enjoy. Those usually do better at room temperature.

I’ve liked quite a lot of different beers. Deschutes has a couple I really enjoy, as does local brewery Block 15 and coastal favorites Rogue. Very few of those have knocked my socks off quite like Lagunitas NightTime, though. This one was an instant favorite.

It’s a limited release so who knows how long you’ll be able to get your hands on a bottle of this. But if you can, you definitely should. It’s fantastic.

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