Friday, August 10, 2007

Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

Well, this isn't officially a Summer beer, but a Spring release instead. That said, this has been a great find this last week, a bit of a diversion from the normal and uber-hopped beers I seem to gravitate to. The guys at Lagunitas call the Sirius a "Hi Gravity Cream Ale", which is a bit like having an Imperial Pilsner I suppose.

What exactly is a Cream Ale? A dear friend of mine recently asked this very question and I'll tell you what I told her. Basically, if you take a pre-Prohibition lager and use an ale yeast, you've got yourself a Cream Ale. Pre-Prohibition lagers, of course, used a fair amount of corn (20%), American six-row malt and whatever hop variety the brewer could find - American or otherwise. There aren't a lot of Cream Ales or Pre-Prohibition beers out on the market these days, which is a sad realization for those of use who love the beers. However, if you have a good homebrewing friend you can make a day of it and brew both in one day - same malts, same hops, different yeast. A good friend of mine, David, makes wonderful Cream Ale, and I am always happy to sample it in the Summer months.

Back to Sirius, which apparently is the brightest star in the night sky, sometimes visible in the daylight. The beer is golden in color, has a white foamy head that has decent retention and great clarity. The aroma is light overall, but it isn't too hard to detect the grassy hop notes - it is a bit harder, however, to nail down the malt character (at least for me). I also can't rightfully say if the guys at Lagunitas uses any corn in this or not - I would assume so, but I am not getting it in the aroma or flavor. The beer is downright drinkable, highly enjoyable and deceptively powerful - 7.6% ABV, are you kidding me?!

I know the review is late, that most this has flown off the shelves by now, but if you happen to see a random six-pack laying around, do yourself a huge favor and pick it up.

Score: 3.6/5