Feature photo by Alejandro De La Cruz

August is here. I’ve spent all summer drinking lagers and wheats, and now I’m ready to start drinking something a little more stiff. The first thing I immediately had a taste for was something from one of my favorite breweries, Lagunitas. I know that everything they put out is a quality product, but what tickled my fancy this time was their Lucky 13.alt.

The “alt” in this beer’s name doesn’t refer to the German style of beer, but instead to the alternative take on one of Lagunitas’ mainstay recipes. They turned the imperial red into something a little lighter that others are calling an American strong ale. Sounds kind of like a catch-all category for anything that is strong, but it doesn’t change that fact that this is a delicious beer!

It pours a pale amber with a very small head that quickly dissipates but leaves some great lacing on the glass. The aroma is upfront hops. I got a lot of grapefruit skins, but there is also a bit of a hard candy sweetness back there. That sweetness from the aroma is apparent in the flavor, but the sweetness is quickly replaced with a lingering bitterness. Both sides are in competition, but neither overpowers the other. This beer dances a very fine line between being too much and being just right.

This beer clocks in at 8.9% abv, so it definitely is a “strong ale.” I believe it would pair really well with good BBQ or a very strong cheese. Think blue cheese.

If you like this one, give Stone Arrogant Bastard, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, or Clown Shoes Eagle Claw Fist a try! Oh, and look for Lagunitas’ release of Brown Shugga’ in the coming months!

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