I just realized that I haven’t reviewed a single Lagunitas brew yet. I may have started to take them for granted lately, with the emergence of so many small craft breweries. Thankfully, when looking for something new the other day (when I picked up the Boulevard Brewery Tank 7 Farmhouse) I picked up something trusted as well, just in case. A sixer of Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin. This beer honestly defies classification. It’s an American wheat if you look at the grain bill, but it’s hopped like an American IPA… kinda.
50% wheat (malted wheat, toasted malted wheat, and torrified wheat) and 50% American 2-row malted barley. 50/50 could make up a Hefe (really, wheat and pilsen, if picky) if the correct Bavarian yeast and the correct, low level of noble hops were used. But Lagunitas goes off that path by toasting some of the wheat, and using some torrified wheat and late hopping the hell out of this beer. Toss in the English yeast, and this is truly its own beast.
Sumpin checks in at 7.5% ABV… HUGE for a wheat beer. Pours with a nice head and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. But in the nose is where you first get the smack upside your head telling you this is NOT your typical wheat beer. The aroma offers up lots of pine, resin, and citrus. It is far from one-demensional. The flavor is again a big hop mixture… some amazing hop flavors in there, along with some subtle breadiness. It’s full-bodied and smooth. Considering how much hops hits you in the nose and taste, it’s surprising to find it lacking a lot of bitterness. It’s very drinkable considering the high ABV and amount of late hops. Perhaps more filling than a typical American wheat, but you don’t want to throw it down fast considering all that’s going on in the flavor.
A fantastic, but very unique brew. For some the hop combination may not be for everyone, but I find it delicious and very unique. Lagunitas continues to come through with fairly complex, very well made beers, but compared to many high-profile craft brews, it’s very affordable. Here in MA I find their sixers for under $10 all the time. Their IPA, Maximus (imperial IPA), and this Sumpin Sumpin are easy to find. For comparable beers I spend at least a couple dollars more per six.