Lagunita’s Tasting

On March 20, 2013,  I attended an event held at Against the Grain (now named Radicle Effect Brewerks) located at 1340 31st Street in Rock Island, Illinois. Just a few months shy of their first-year anniversary, Against the Grain (or, as the kids around town call it, “AG”) is a nano brewery already known for its access to great draft beers and an ever-growing selection of bottled beer. On this particular evening, they were advertising a “Buy the Pint, Steal the Jar” event featuring Lagunitas Brewing Company’s wares.

 Lagunitas Brewing Company was started by Tony Magee in 1993 out in Lagunitas, California, but outgrew the first location within a year and now they brew in Petaluma, California. Currently they’re producing just over 100,000 barrels a year and opening up a new 250-barrel brew house with 600,000-barrel capacity soon, in Chicago. So us folks in the QCA won’t be complaining about not being able to get Sucks around here anymore. (Especially since I heard a rumor that it’s going to year-round availability!)

 The event at AG started at 6pm so I got there at 4:30 to ensure a spot at the bar. I’ve learned that 90 minutes before start time is a good rule of thumb for the areas Keep the Pint Nights, if you care about where you sit. It also gives you time to check out the selection the boys at AG have provided for you…that day their chalkboard contained two beers brewed by Kona Brewing Company out of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Though I’ve read a great many things this was my first opportunity of being able to try anything from Kona, I imagine its because I’m a landlocked girl where its takes forever for beers to reach me. Can you imagine the journey? And what it took for Kona to get to us in Illinois? Awesome.

 I asked for a sample of the Kona Longboard Island Lager (year-round brew – 4.6%)) and the Kona Koko Brown (seasonal, 5.5%) – both fantastic but I chose the brown for my 16-ounce commitment. And what a delight! The beer is brewed with toasted coconut, with hints of caramel and toffee but it isn’t overly sweet, it’s a light aftertaste that is thirst-quenching, which I didn’t expect. Both of their beers were well-balanced, crisp, clean, and nicely carbonated; I look forward to trying more of their brews and maybe visiting them one day.

By the end of that pint it was time for my second beverage. It was 6pm, the bar was packed, everyone was excited and the Lagunitas distribution crew showed up with the glassware. I ordered a Lagunitas IPA in a namesake mason jar tumbler (pictured) for $4, which is the standard pint price there, pretty cool I didn’t get charged extra for the glass.

The glasses were the main reason why I went to AG; most breweries just do pint glasses with their logo on the side, which I like but thumbs up to Lagunitas for the creativity of their idea. Lagunitas labels their IPA as their flagship brew with good reason. It’s well-balanced with a nice citrusy-hop taste at the end, the nose is great, the color is standard, the ABV is at just over 6% so you can have more than one, and its easy to find.

This was my first beer-tapping event at Against the Grain and I had a great time. I got to see a lot of good beer pals and I also secured two hours worth of interview time with owner, Rich Nunez, so look for that article coming soon….



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