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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing Company's Censored Rich Copper Ale

  •  Style: Red Ale
  • ABV: 6.75 %
  • Season: Year Round
  • Ease to locate: Available in most states
  • Color: Pretty copper (hence the name)
  • Head: One finger that settles to thin layer, nice lacing
  • Aroma: Sweet with dark malts, caramel & dirt
  • Mouthfeel: Dry and moderate
  • Finish: medium to long, but nicely balanced
  • Food Friendly: Yep.  Bring it on.

Let me just begin by stating that censorship is bad.  It's judgmental, narrow minded and just plain boring.  I don't want anyone telling me what I can read, listen to or watch on a screen.  I am so not down with that.  Unless it's Lagunitas doing the telling, that is.  After drinking their Censored Rich Copper Ale, I'm completely down with letting them make all sorts of decisions for me.  Listen to Kayne West without my ear buds in?  Look at a Robert Mapplethorpe photo without one hand over my eyes?  Read Tom Sawyer in it's native Missourian?  Bring it on, boys!

Just for your own information, this is what happens when you let the bad kind of censorship into your heart:

Censored is a red ale, which of course, is also like saying that Censored is not a brown ale.  The term red ale has become a catch all for almost any lager that is lighter than a dark ale, but not light enough for a pale ale.  More often than not, they are colored with caramel dyes to give them a reddish hue that ranges anywhere from a blush to a dark amber color.  For example, Smithwicks is an Irish red ale, but New Holland's Sundog Amber is also considered a red ale.  And these two beers couldn't be more different to me taste-wise and mouthfeel-wise (yes, mouthfeel-wise is a word.  Feel free to use it during your next game of Words With Friends.)  In any case, red ales are typically well balanced and relatively easy to drink.  Censored is no exception to this rule.

Censored Rich Copper Ale poured a reddish golden color.  The brew was extremely clear with hardly any sediment, making for a very pretty pint.  It reminded me of a sunset or Lucille Ball.  

 There was minimal carbonation as it settled.  A decent one finger head died down quickly to a thin top layer, leaving a delicate series of spider web lacing clinging to the glass' sides.  The foam boasted the sweet scents of dark malts, caramel and a bit of dirt on the back note.  I could taste the sweetness of the dark malts, caramel and a bit of honey right away.  As it warmed and opened, I could then detect some bitterness from orange peels and chewiness from raisins.  This was quickly chased down by the hoppy flavor of pine and grassy dirt.  It boasted a dry, longish finish that sort of surprised me.  The spice of the pine and citrus zest lingered on my tongue, but not in a grimacing sort of way.  Like most of Lagunitas offerings, it was a nicely balanced beer and easy to drink.  It wasn't complex by any means, but honestly, complex beers have their time and place.  Sometimes you just want a drink that plays well with others. 

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving beer suggestion post,  I think that Lagunitas Censored is a brilliant option for an abundant holiday meal.  The beer has an easiness to it that works with the myriad of options during a festive family meal.  Of course you don't have to save it for just the most wonderful time of the year.  Censored Rich Coper Ale could just as easily compliment an average Saturday pizza night or a grilled flank steak on a warm July day.  As I was writing this post, Lagunitas made an exciting announcement.  Apparently they will be opening a Chicago plant (first outside California) in the coming year.  If a business decision like this doesn't cement Chicago as a major player in the craft beer scene, you need to get your head out of the suds, my friend.  And yes, I like to think that I had a little to do with it.  Feel free to thank me in brown bottles, if you are so inclined.