Returning home, I wrote:

“It’s ten o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on a horse saddle but that is not even the interesting part of the story. The saddle is actually the top of a bar stool and I’m contemplating a bristling 8.3% Double American Pale Ale which weighs in at staggering 100 units of bitterness. To put that in perspective, most New Zealand mainstream beers would be in the teens or early twenties on that bitterness scale.

This monstrous “hop bomb” has been poured by one of the self-proclaimed “old hippies” who run the Lagunitas Brewing Company in California, USA. While my erstwhile companions have elected to start with the more approachable Pilsner or even the recommended Saison, I’ve headed straight to the hop. I detect a hint of approval at my order.

The beer is Hop Stoopid (8.3%) and it throws a massive juicy hop nose. My notes record that it is “full bodied, resinous, thick, gummy, big grapefruit notes, deep and such a very long bitter finish.” It’s a simply stunning way to start the day.

Named after an old stagecoach town, Lagunitas is a unique brewery with an irreverent attitude. Their bottle labels and website are famously funny. They make beers to honour Hunter S Thompson (appropriately called Gonzo Ale) and the walls are covered with anti-Bush posters and stickers.”

For those of you who missed it, Malthouse hosted a Lagunitas tap takeover yesterday which featured a personal appearance from Dr Patrick Mace, a marketing guru for Lagunitas which is beginning to rapidly expand into the New Zealand market. [1] This is quite an achievement as when I first visited Lagunitas it only “exported” to 26 other states in the USA.

Still on tap today, Malthouse has the following Lagunitas beers:

Lagunitas IPA – This is the staple of the range. I am frankly dubious about their claim that it uses “43 different hops and 65 various malts”. However, this is a brewery which describes their founders as “old hippies” from the West Coast so anything is possible. [2] It’s a punchy but balanced American IPA.

Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin – I love the name here though the beer world is divided on what style it actually is. Lagunitas refuses to provide an answer as the official description is about “seeing your lover next to you anew”. I could not find that in any beer style guide. It is a pale ale made using a considerable amount of wheat. The end result is fruity IPA with notes of tangerine, pine and a seriously bitter finish.

Lagunitas Maximus – This is the beer I carried out of the brewery. [3] It is the IPA pumped up by 30% and, according to those old hippies, “may remove enamel from teeth”. [4] 8.2% alcohol and 72 bitterness units, packed with American hops – of course I love this beer. Public Service Announcement – do not get between me and this tap at Malthouse or I might trample you.

Lagunitas Pils – A relatively recent addition to the range as the brewery is best known for ales. Their explanation for making a Pilsner is priceless:

“ Now, don’t get us wrong, ales can be a lot of fun to hang out with when you’re in the right mood, and if you have bail money on you. But what’s wrong with livin’ uptown from time to time, on a nice street, where the doormen all wear those little uniforms, the air smells of flowers, and lagers rule the Earth.

It is a dry US pilsner with notes of lemon and grass before a crisp finish.

Lagunitas Sucks – This beer was invented when they realised that they could not afford to make the popular seasonal beer Brown Shugga ale due to capacity and cashflow reasons. In defiance of every traditional law of public relations here is their official description:

“It’s a mess that we cannot brew our Brown Shugga this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves.[5] There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch mouldy donkey butt [6] and we just want it to be all over… So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…”

There are tonnes of dry hops which produce a brew that has notes of orange, caramel and non-suckitude.

On Friday 25 May 2018 Malthouse will be showcasing beers from the famous Brooklyn Brewery which was founded by one of the most dapper men in beer not called Stu McKinlay. Seriously, Garrett Oliver rocks some high-end suits and hats. In fact, his hat actually had a Twitter account, though it probably was not legitimate.

Malthouse will be pouring:

Brooklyn Lager – The classic trademark.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace – My favourite, which uses the hop of the same name.

Brooklyn East IPA – Somewhat ironically this is an English style IPA from America.

Brooklyn Bell Air Sour – A light sour beer with notes of grapefruit and gooseberries.

Brooklyn Naranjito – A mid-strength IPA brewed with orange peel.

Next time we drink to the eventual end of wall to wall coverage of the royal wedding. Seriously, a former soldier who is sixth in line to the throne married a now former actress. I have no idea how they managed to pay the 80 million pound bill… unless the taxpayers funded it somehow…

[1] Mr Mace himself has self-proclaimed that he is a self-proclaimed Doctor.

[2] Their accountant will be enraged at the ingredients bill, if true.

[3] Disclaimer – I legitimately bought a six pack.

[4] Actual results may vary. However, it is very bitter. Delightfully so.

[5] They are American so you probably can sue yourselves…

[6] “We munch mouldy donkey butt” was not previously recorded as an official beer descriptor.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

DrinksBiz Magazine


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