When you mention Lagunitas Brewing to an adamant beer drinker, you probably get a lot of opinions on not only their beer, but also about how they make it and the
backstory behind it. The iconic brewery has been a west coast staple since founder Tony Magee opened his first brewing location in 1993 in Lagunitas, California, and has since expanded into Chicago, and into a new spot back in Azusa, California.
When the Chicago location opened in Douglas Park in the summer of 2014, Chicago (and Midwest) beer lovers rejoiced, as the beer they sought after was now more accessible, available at a cheaper price point, and came with a multitude of different options – including some killer seasonal varieties. But the Chicago Lagunitas location wasn’t only about widening the distribution lanes to the larger part of the U.S. and Europe, it also was about becoming a staple of the craft beer community in Chicago, through things like its trippy brewery tours (it’s awesome, try it out), its fabled beer circus and its variety of charitable programs.
Lagunitas has done a wonderful job of mastering their brand and their beer, but there was one river they hadn’t crossed yet, and one that made sense when you realized their worldwide distribution aspirations – canning their beer. So, when Lagunitas announced this spring that they would be canning their first set of beer, beer lovers (myself included) were ecstatic. Not only would Lagunitas finally make their foray into canned beers, but they also decided to make a special beer just for canning – the 12th of Never Ale.
So when I saw the 12th of Never Ale 12-pack in its bright purple packaging and iconic Lagunitas dog logo, I knew I had to try it out. With no further ado, here is my review:
Lagunitas 12th of Never American Pale Ale:
Stats: 5.5% ABV, 45 IBU, sold in 12-packs of 12oz cans
Thoughts: Regardless of the variety or style, Lagunitas always delivers intense flavor in their beers, and the 12th of Never Ale is no different. Pouring it from the can is fun, as you can see the fizzy carbonation, and it has a nice bright yellow, goldish color. The taste is powerful and present on first sip, it’s full of hops – and
that hops taste is consistent throughout the entire drinking experience. It’s supposed to have notes of citrus and coconut, but I wasn’t able to pick up a lot of either due to how dominating the hop flavor is. It reminds me a lot of their Hop Stoopid beer due to just how hoppy it is, which I personally like. I will say it does have a crisp, refreshing aftertaste with little bite which makes it appealing to drink more of, especially when you realize you have 11 more to drink.
Verdict: It’s a good beer and it has a strong, memorable taste. It’s not my favorite Lagunitas beer to-date but is one I will definitely drink again, even if it’s just to see the uniqueness of the bright purple Lagunitas cans one more time. If you’re familiar with Lagunitas and find it at your local superstore, it’s a must try – not only for the taste, but also for the cool, Edgar Allen Poe-like short story on the side of the can that is a nice reference to the “The Twelfth of Never” song made popular by Donny Osmond.
In conclusion, Lagunitas has done a great thing here by finally canning their beer. The 12th of Never Ale was a great first attempt for cans, and I expect a bunch of other crazy varieties to follow. Lagunitas claims to be the last “small craft brewer to can their beer,” which clearly showcases how consumer demand is shifting towards making beer more convenient and accessible to customers, in a multitude of ways. And while a crisp Lagunitas in a can is great, I’ll still always enjoy a Lagunitas out of a bottle, tap or even a keg – it’s that good, and it’s a good thing they’re expanding in packaging form, beer form and across the world. Cheers!
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