Address: Petaluma: 1280 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, Calif. 94954; Chicago: 2607 W. 17th St., Chicago, Ill. 60608 (The one we visited). Taproom Seattle: 1550 NW 49th St.
Seattle, WA 98107; Taproom Azusa: 1001 N Todd Avenue, Azusa, California 91702
The first word that comes to mind when you walk down the halls to the taproom is “TRIPPPPPYYYYY!”
I swear, I felt like I was in an adults only Willy Wonka Factory which is funny because that’s the music that was playing on the speakers as you walk down a neon coated corridor on your way to the taproom!
It feels like a wonderland. You walk in and there are all these dope posters that makes you kind of feel like you’re in a circus or some kind of showroom. They have an area downstairs that has games and is like a huge chill lounge and they even have a magician doing tricks during the day & live music as well!!!
Tony Magee is the man behind the veil that started up this company. Him and his wife (originally from Chicago) wanted to start something different & Tony ended up brewing beer in his kitchen (in 1993) till his wife kicked him out. Before they were at the location they are now in Petaluma, California they were located somewhere else. Why would they move you may ask? Expansion? No, that wasn’t the case. The place they were brewing at had a septic tank rupture and flood the building.
When Tony started up Lagunitas, he worked at both the brewery and his other job at the time for 5 years till the brewery took off and before he could support himself financially. The reason he actually chose the location in Petaluma that he did was because it was a short drive between the job he worked and the brewery as well.
The reason he chose the name “Lagunitas” was because it was different, it was unique and it looks good in type (his words). What is also really cool is that he designed the labels and the recipes for the beers himself because he wanted to work hard to make sure that his personality shined through in everything he did.
They originally started selling their beer on one strip of road in California and are now selling beer in 35 states (based on a video that was shot in 2011)!!!
Some fun facts we learned about the Chicago brewery while we were on the tour:
1) The brewery is as big as the Chicago Bears football field!
2) The scene in “The Dark Knight” where the Joker (Heath Ledger) burned that huge pile of money was actually shot on the brewery warehouse floor!
3) That splatter logo came from when Tony was driving down the road and a bird pooped on his windshield. He pulled over, got out, got his sketch pad and sketched the splatter. Some more of his personality shining through in the Lagunitas brand!
4) The owners (Tony & his wife) are actually originally from Chicago & they love their home city so much that they signed a 95 YEAR LEASE FOR THE BREWERY!!!
5) Heineken actually owns 51% of Lagunitas. The reason Tony decided to partner with Heineken (there were other brands looking to buy out Lagunitas) was because Heineken is more of a family brand than a corporate brand; that’s what Tony wanted most, he didn’t want to become one big organization. The owner of Heineken actually now has the Lagunitas Pilsner as his go to beer every day at dinner.
6) The name behind this beer stems from the fact that there was undercover investigation at the brewery because authorities thought they were serving some things at the brewery that wasn’t beer; it is California we’re talking about after all. But that wasn’t the case, they weren’t serving and some officers had it out for them. Fast Forward to St. Patricks Day, the brewery decided to open its doors to the public so they can all party together. And of course, the one time they do this, someone that worked at the brewery rolled up a big ol’ joint and that was all the cop needed. He busted out his badge and got the brewery shut down for a year. After a full investigation, the authorities found out they weren’t serving and it was that one isolated incident. They fired the guy who brought in the weed and Tony, in all his glory, decided to name a beer after the cop that tried to shut them down.
Here are the explanations from the brewery:
Lagunitas IPA (6.2% Alc/ 51.5 IBU): Ruthlessly Delicious. This was our first seasonal back in 1995 and is now our most popular draught beer. It’s a well-rounded highly drinkable IPA. A bit of caramel malt barley provides the richness that mellows out the twang of the hops.
Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale (7.5% Alc/ 65 IBU): Way smooth and silky with a nice wheatly-esque-ish-ness. A hoppy pale wheat ale that is great for IPA but so smooth that hefeweizen fans dig it too.
Pils Czech Style (6.2% Alc/ 35 IBU): Lager like you like it. Our only Lager, brewed with loads of Saaz hops and a bottom-fermenting yeast strain that leaves it light and crisp and easy to slam, yet full of flavor and all the things you yearn for.
Pale New Dogtown (6.2% Alc/ 62 IBU): This one was our first beer to put in a bottle way back when… Still a popular favorite — a big and malty pale ale with a thirst quenching hop flavor and a crispy clean finish. A 21st century pale ale for all the hops lovers out there.
Aunt Sally (5.7% Alc/ 33 IBU): A Unique Dry-Hopped Sweet Tart Sour Mash Ale. We soured the wort on the hot side with Lactobacillus for a few days and then brewed up this smooth and hoppy sour. For all the Aunt Sally’s out there.
Daytime Ale (4.65% Alc/ 54.2 IBU): Our ‘Fractional IPA’ boldly dosed with a glorious fortune of dry hops and a toasty malt foundation to satisfy your every need; but it still lets you stay in the game to do what needs to be done.
Lagunitas Sucks (8% Alc/ 63.21 IBU): Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale. This is a ‘cereal medley’ of barley, rye, wheat and oats. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous flavor.
Maximus (8.2% Alc/ 74.21 IBU): Kinda like our IPA on steroids… Flavor so hoppy it threatens to remove the enamel from ones one’s teeth. Caution must be exercised when drinking this beer.
Hop Stupid Ale (8% Alc/ 102.4 IBU): A Double-Barrel Dose of Malt and Hops. The beer with the gurantee built right into the name. This one is destined to blast through the flavors from the night before. Massively dry-hopped for your aromatic pleasure.
Imperial Stout (9.9% Alc/ 72.54 IBU): Dark, rich and scary. Made with highly roasted malted barley and plenty of it, to give the beer an uncommon richness and smoky, roasty depth… sorta like a hydraulic sandwich in a glass.
12th Of Never (5.5% Alc/ 45 IBU): Tropically Hoppy. Light, yet Full-Bodied. Bright and Citrusy. Word. The ’12th Of Never Ale’ is everything we’ve learned about making hop-forward beer expressed in a moderate voice. Pale, cold, slightly alcoholic & bitter. It’s all we know.
*Cappuccino Stout (8.9% Alc/ 29.50 IBU): For that extra krunk… Brewed with boatloads of roasted coffee in each batch for that extra Krunk… this Mondo Coffee Stout will leave you wondering whether you’re coming or going. Available in 22oz bombers mid-winter…ish.
*Citrusinensis Pale Ale (7.7 % Alc/ 49 IBU): brewed with natural blood orange flavors. We took some fresh Sanguinello Blood oranges, juiced ’em, concentrated that juice (without heat) and threw it into a wheatier version of our New Dogtown Pale Ale. The end result? A refreshingly hopped pale-ish ale with a huge citrus burst!
*Undercover Investigation Shut Down (9.6% Alc/ 66.6 IBU): Imperial Mild…? Uber ESB? Our malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish truly defies style…Imperial Mild?…Uber ESB?… We do know for sure that it is Unforgiven and Unrepentant.
*Doppel Weizen (8.7% Alc/ 34.20 IBU): A New Twist on an Old Tradition! This special brew was designed with the help of our Freistaat Bayern brothers who also built the brewhouse upon which we brewed it. It’s a new twist on an old tradition!
*Lucky 13 (8.8% Alc/ 64 IBU): An Ultra-Mega-Mondo Red Ale. An ultra-mega-mondo red ale first made for our anniversary in 2006 to celebrate thirteen years of brewing ultra-mega-mondo ales.
*Lag Lagunator Lager (7.7% Alc/ 42 IBU): I’ll be Bock! It’s a dry-hopped California Common with a massive malt character, rounded out by a bitter balance from some experimental hops from the Yakima Valley, this beer will leave you saying ‘I’ll be bock!’
Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale (8.7% Alc/ 72.51 IBU): Light in color, but huge in flavor and satisfaction. The big sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. Lots of wheat for a curious malt complexity and leaving it light in color, but huge in flavor and satisfaction. It’s 50% malted barley and 50% wheatly-esque-ish-ness. It’s bigger, badder, and bolder. Cheers!
*Wilco Tango Foxtrot (8.1% Alc/ 64.20 IBU): WTF… Rich, Smooth, Dangerous, and Chocolatey. Rich, smooth, dangerous, and chocolatey. It’s a big ol’ hoppy Imperial Brown Ale to help you with your slippery slide on into the heat of the night.
One Hitter Series-
This beer couldn’t have been done without the help from our friends at High West Distillery in Park City, UT and Chicago’s-own Metropolis Coffee. We brewed a rich, malty Imperial Stout with some of Metropolis’ Spice Island blend, then let it vintag-ize in High West Rye and Bourbon Barrels for up to 17 FREAKING MONTHS. It’s good to have friends!
*Dave Murray’s Best Scotch Ale (9.5% Alc/ 52 IBU): ‘O Gude Ale comes, and Gude Ale goes…’ This Scotch Ale is sweet, but not cloying. It’s strong, but not brash. It’s smooth and smokey, like a good dram among friends. Cheers!
*The Waldos’ Special Ale (11.9% Alc/ 100+ IBU): Brewed for all the treasure hunters. Herbaceous. Botanical. Dank. Resinous.
*Born Again Yesterday Ale (7.0% Alc/ High IBU): An UnFiltered Born Again Pale Ale for all the wet hop lovers! We’ve discovered that the Lagunitas brewers are part time alchemists… they’ve figured out how to keep wet hops wet all freakin’ year long! The next beer in our 2017 #OneHitter Series is this Born Again Yesterday Pale Ale, which features a delicious concoction of wet hops, reborn and unfiltered into our Born Yesterday Pale Ale. Congrats… It’s a beer again! MORE ABOUT THE FREAKIN’ WET HOPS: To figure out this brand new wet hop preservation process, we had to forget everything that we already knew about how hops are processed and preserved. We tried 5 or 6 different things to try and achieve this process (some of which failed miserably), then we discovered a relatively simple process that deliberately did all the things that the textbooks told us not to do. This new proprietary process involves a lot of time and money, and even more thinking about hops and freshness in new ways. From all of this, we found a brand-spankin’-new way to preserve the hops, fresh from the Yakima Valley trellises, first born during harvest season into the Born Yesterday last fall, and reborn into this scary new next step, the Born Again Yesterday Pale Ale, six months later, to the beer in your hands today.
*Dark Swan Sour Ale (8.5% Alc/ 22.6 IBU): An experimentally hopped sour ale fermented with dark red wine grapes. Observers of yestercentury once doubted the existence of the Dark Swan, stating the fair-feathered fowl was the only color of its kind. Explorers eventually upended that theory, shocking the world and shining light on the Dark. This beer might just do the same. It’s a sour ale fermented with dark red wine grapes, giving it its uniquely deep and rich purple hue. Then it received the signature Lagunitas treatment with a healthy dose of experimental dry hops. This might just shock your taste buds! There just really isn’t anything else like the Dark Swan… it’s a dark purple hybrid ale the takes our house yeast and feeds it some Petite Sirah grapes to munch on. It’s smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange. Give it a taste, if you dare!
Sakitumi (9.0% Alc/ 4.2 IBU): Ale Punched with Sake Yeast and Rice. This Raging Bull’uva Double-ish IPA is punched with Sake Yeast and brown rice, then hopped-up for a cold-clip of counter-balanced bitterness with Yakima’s finest… it just don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!
*Supercritical Ale Brewed With Cannabis Terpenes (6.6% Alc/ 88 IBU): Ale Brewed with Cannabis Terpenes California-only release, for now… With the help of our friends at AbsoluteXtracts, we pulled the terpenes from some of NorCal’s Finest Cannabis (sans THC) and brewed it with some of Yakima’s Finest Hops… Together, it’s like giving our brewers a whole new set of colors to paint with!
**Eroica Ale (7.4% Alc/ 10.8 IBU): A Lagunitas-ified verson of a traditional Flemish Farmhouse ale. This is a Lagunitas-ified version of a traditional Flemish Farmhouse ale, aged in red wine oak barrels and funkied up with Brettanomyces yeast. It’s a golden saison-sour with a nice tartness that leaves your buds quenched and wanting more. Proost!
Born Yesterday Pale Ale [Fresh Hop unfiltered (7.2% Alc/ 60 IBU): Fresh Hop and UnFiltered, HIIIGHly Limited Ale! Born Yesterday is out now… Find some near you! Born Yesterday is a newborn version of our re-born Pale, a Newer New Dogtown Pale with a fresh addition … We added some wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops for your immaculate reception. This Un-Freakin-Filtered, wetter-than-wet beer has 11lbs-per-barrel of Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus. Whoa.
Dry-Hopped Fusion 2000 Ale (5.25% Alc): Dry hopped with Yakima Valley hops and some special galaxy hops from down under.
Wet-Hopped Fusion 2000 Ale (5.8% Alc): Brewed with stoopid-freakin-fresh Cascade and Colombus hops from Lake County.
Freakin Firkin: No description available.
(* = Not at Chicago Brewery. )
(**= Brown Shugga’ stated as 9.7% Alc on website, but 9.9% Alc at brewery in Chicago; High West-ified stated as 12.2% Alc on website, but 13.01% Alc at brewery; Eroica stated as 7.4% on website, but 6.96% at brewery.)
Here’s what I thought:
Lagunitas IPA: Hoppy, but not overbearing. Crisp. Simple IPA.
Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale: Has lighter scents than that of “Aunt Sally.” Smoother & lighter taste wise than Aunt Sally as well, but with a more prevalent aftertaste; it envelopes your pallet. A Bit hoppy with the aftertaste.
Pils Czech Style: Light scents. Extremely light taste wise as well. A bit malty, but crisp. Goes down easy.
Pale New Dogtown: This is a bit maltier than the “Pils Czech Style.” Nice body. Pops in the back of your mouth. Crisp with a bit of hoppiness to it.
Aunt Sally: Extremely light. A hoppy/malty scent that doesn’t envelope your senses. A bit sweet, a bit tart & a bit hoppy; the tastes offset each other perfectly. Has a nice crispness to it as well. Smooth light beer.
Daytime Ale: Hoppy IPA scents. Crisp, smooth & tart; you can definitely taste that it’s a “fractional IPA.” Light & not as strong as the “Lagunitas IPA,” but would be a great pre-cursor to the “Lagunitas IPA” for someone getting into IPAs.
Lagunitas Sucks: Tart bitter aftertaste. Wheaty, but smooth. Crisp. Taste hits the back of your tongue.
Maximus: You can definitely smell the hops on this one. Definitely tastes like the “Lagunitas IPA” on steroids like the description implies. Hoppy, bitter aftertaste, but not overbearing like some Double IPAs.
Hop Stupid Ale: Hoppy scents & you can def taste the hops in it. But again, it’s not overbearing. It’s balanced and the tastes hit the back of your tongue.
Imperial Stout: Legit Imperial Stout. Full body, smoky aftertaste. You can definitely taste the roasted malts in this one.
12th Of Never: Mixed with bread yeast and peaches, smells like peaches and cream (if you know what I mean); tastes like peaches too. Tart & sweet, but not overbearing.
Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale: Was not on tap.
Brown Shugga’: You can literally taste the brown sugar in this one. It’s sweet, but not overbearing. Crisp. Nice like a light brown ale.
They have a magician that does tricks & they have live music @ 4:20pm! Weird time to be playing music.
This place is definitely something you have to experience on your own if you’r ever in Chicago!
Website: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Facebook: Laguintas Brewing Company