It’s an interesting phenomenon how many of today’s craft breweries have similar origin stories. Read about your favorite breweries and you’ll find similar tales. These tales start with someone with a love for great tasting beers, frustrated by a lack of great beer where they live. So they start home brewing and sharing their beer with friends and family. Then one day their home brew operations grow bigger than their kitchens can manage and a fledgeling brewery emerges.
What’s amazing about these stories is how the breweries grow to produce interesting, exciting, and innovative products, setting themselves apart from the other breweries they compete against. This story certainly seems to apply with California’s Lagunitas brewing. Brewmaster and company founder Tony Magee tells the story of how he brewed in his kitchen until being kicked out of the kitchen by his wife.
This is when Tony set up shop in a building down the street, taking over the name already on the licensing materials. After an unfortunate encounter with the building’s septic system, Tony decided it was time to move. Giving a lot of thought to the commute, Tony found a location in Petaluma CA where the brewery sits to this day. As Lagunitas got its start, they contract brewed for local bars and restaurants, using this as a platform to build their brand.
Today you can find Lagunitas beers in 35 states, as well as western Canada. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Lagunitas has even gone so far to set up shop in Chicago. This expansion is a good sign for a brewery whose sales have gone up 55% over last year. The expansion is also a good sign for beer lovers who can hope to look forward to greater availability of Lagunita’s beers.
Lucky 13 is a slightly hazy, copper colored ale. Light carbonation supports a fluffy, cloud white head with decent retention.
Lucky 13 smells like the very essence of American craft brewed beer. Which is to say it smells like citrussy, piney hops. There’s also the aroma of caramel and butterscotch providing support. Malts give a little bit of leather as well, the whole thing coming together to provide a nice structure.
On the tongue, Lucky 13 has an almost buttery mouthfeel to it. This is where you find malt flavors up front, giving you the same butterscotch found in the nose. Center is rounded and sweet, the butterscotch providing a nice through note without becoming overpowering. Finish is resinous and hoppy.
Overall this is a pretty decent brew. The flavors balance each other well, showing decent character without any one element overpowering the others. Give Lucky 13 an 8 out of 10. This might be a nice pale ale to have with some roast pork or sautéed fish.