Beer Review: Lagunitas Brewing Company Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale


Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer: Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 9.75%
Character: A bitter beer who’s character comes from the story (read below)
Metal Connection: Beastie Boys – Sabotage


undercoverNot all craft beer is brewed with crazy ingredients, to give the beer character. Some beers are brewed to perfect a style, and some beers have character from their back story about the beer name. This is one fine example of the latter. Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is a unique name, so I wanted to know why it was named this, only to come across one of the funniest, most interesting stories I have heard from a brewery.

Lagunitas would offer beer tastings every Thursday night at the brewery which would always start at 4:20pm. Employees at Lagunitas were rumored to be selling drugs at the tasting events, so the local state Alcohol Beverage Control Board sent in undercover agents to these tasting for eight weeks straight, trying to get the employees to sell them weed. They had no luck, as only a small amount of people were actually smoking pot there, and these people would only offer to give the undercover agents some pot, not sell it. Finally they gave up, but on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2005 they cited only three people for possession of marijuana. The charges were later dropped. The brewery was found guilty of operating a “Disorderly House.”

Punishment handed to Lagunitas was that it’s license to sell beer was suspended for 20 days, and placed on one year’s probation. Every year, Lagunitas releases this seasonal beer regularly in dedication to this investigation and punishment received!

Wow, what a story! Now let’s get to the beer, shall we?

I used my Jester King snifter glass for this one. The beer poured a dark brown/mahogany color, that also has some reddish tones. There is a fine amount of rising carbonation bubbles leaving ta nice thick off-white head that left a fantastic layer of lacing down the glass.

The aroma of the beer was  a nice mild combination of caramel malt, brown sugar/molasses, almost nutty smell, mixed well with citrus, piney hops. The tail end leaves a lingering, but not very strong scent of alcohol booze.

The taste follows the nose as it should. Nothing is overpowering here. Very well balanced flavors of caramel, nuttiness, spices with citrus and piney hops. The finishing touches on the palate is sweet with a brown sugar/molasses taste and a subtle hint of alcohol booze. The aftertaste is very inviting, and leaves you wanting more. Damn Lagunitas and their hypnotic ways! The body is a slight over notch over the medium mark, and there is a good carbonation bite.

Overall, as with most to every Lagunitas beer, I love it. This beer is damn near perfect. The 9.75% ABV for me is well hidden, and I found myself drinking this Strong Ale a bit faster than I would have liked to. It is also, definitely a creeper. It took it a while to hit me, but when it did, it hit me like head banging my head against a brick wall! The availability of this beer according to their website begins in April, so it still may be out there on shelves or in bars. Go get you some. Do not pas up on this beer!

Metal Connection: Well, it’s not Metal, but this song is from one of my favorite groups of all time, The Beastie Boys. I have been a huge fan of these guys since I was a little kid and watched their career grow since their beginning. Sabotage is a very popular song, and usually I hate popular songs due to the Radio and TV channels over playing the hell out of them, but I make a few exceptions from time to time. Enjoy this very funny video featuring some undercover stings played out by the group as cops. Well, I don’t need to explain it, I’m sure you’ve seen it 100+ times already!

Listen all y’all, it’s a sabotage!


Author: BeerMetalDude

Owner of Beer Metal Media. Creator/Host of The Beer Metal Show Podcast & It Came from the Cellar Podcast

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