Tap This: Welcome to NEPA, Lagunitas

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The craft beer industry is currently going through a renaissance. It’s been evident over the past few years, with many new breweries opening throughout the country. However, one brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Company, has long been at the forefront of the industry and now has moved into the NEPA market.

The brewery has held a reputation of brewing world class beers with a wide beer portfolio since opening in 1993. The brewery has also pushed many boundaries for beer styles and is viewed by many as an iconoclast in regards to beer style interpretations.

Lagunitas is currently the fifth largest craft brewery in the United States and seems ready to grow even larger with their new brewery now fully online in Chicago. This new brewery, along with the original in Petaluma, California, enables them to make an incredible amount of beer and even allows for room to grow more in the coming years.

The early history of the brewery is also very unique due to owner Tony Magee’s unabashed leadership and viewpoints on business and craft beer in general. If you are interested in learning more about the brewery’s history, all the way up to its current status, grab a copy of the book “So You Want to Start A Brewery?” by Magee. It is a fantastic resource and a great read.

Lagunitas didn’t simply become the large craft brewery it is today by brewing lots of beer — that beer had to be good. Thankfully the large volumes of beer being brewed by Lagunitas are both delicious and perfectly priced to move, enabling the brewery’s fast growth.

Though this brewery has a vast portfolio of great beer, for the uninitiated, these are some great beers that must be enjoyed first:

Lagunitas IPA: The beer that paved the way for West Coast style IPAs was first brewed in 1994. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Lagunitas IPA was ahead of the curve by a number of years and the market has now caught up to it. This delicious American IPA, however, is just as drinkable today as it was 20 years ago. This IPA is a great beer to try first and really understand the skills of the brewery. It is well balanced with delicious hop aromas and tastes incredibly smooth, maintaining an easy drinking malt bill.

Hop Stoopid: The beefed up big brother to Lagunitas IPA offers a huge hop punch but maintains great balance. This 8 percent ABV Double IPA features a massive hop bouquet, its aroma and taste backed by a hefty, semi-sweet malt bill. The label proudly boasts 102 IBUs. While this is a great beer for hopheads, the balance and smooth character make for a beer that even some craft beer newbies may enjoy. Available in 22oz. bombers, so be ready to drink or share with a friend!

Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’: This beer further proves that Lagunitas stays ahead of the trend, achieving delicious results. This beer was first released in 2009 and is best described as a hoppy wheat beer, a style that many craft beer lovers seek more often lately. The 7.5 percent ABV sweet wheat malt bill is balanced perfectly with citrus hop notes. This beer is perfect for all seasons. It’s especially enjoyable on a warm summer day while relaxing poolside.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout: Although the brewery certainly has a stellar reputation for killer IPAs, their Imperial Stout proves they are, without a doubt, no one-trick pony. The 9.9 percent ABV is perfectly hidden within a beer that is balanced yet surprisingly easy-drinking. Strong notes of cocoa and bitter coffee are balanced with a hop punch and the beer finishes fairly dry and crisp. Another beer available in 22oz. bottles that is perfect for relaxing after a long day.

Lagunitas may just be entering the NEPA marketplace, but the brewery has built up quite the reputation throughout the country. Their extensive beer portfolio has something for everyone with a great offering of delicious seasonals, like ‘Brown Shugga’. It is wonderful to have such a world class brewery now available in our area, so now craft beer lovers have yet another great go-to brewery to enjoy.