How a Series of Fortuitous Mistakes, Poor Technical Solutions, and Disaster at Sea Led to Some of Your Favorite Ales.

How a Series of Fortuitous Mistakes, Poor Technical Solutions, and Disaster at Sea Led to Some of Your Favorite Ales.

It all started with Olde GnarlyWine ale... waaaay back in '96 when our recipes were written in pencil, by human hands, and often had so many erase marks that the erase marks looked like words of their own.

Which lead us to the brewing of our second-ever batch of Gnarlywine from what, we thought, might have been the right recipe. But soon the brewers came to a troubling conclusion: The Original Gravity, the measurement that tells if there are enough fermentable sugars in the brew, was not nearly high enough. They called Tony to break the news and he asked, "Well... did'ja add the honey?" The brewer responded, 'Uh... what honey?'

Since sourcing the amount of honey needed for a batch this size would require thousands of those tiny honey bears, Tony figured he needed something else super sugary to try and save this massively malted and homicidally hopped Barleywine. He thought for a minute and said, "What if we try adding brown sugar!?" So, we went around to every market, convenience store, and bakery to buy or barter for every last bag we could find.

We dumped loads of it into the brew, but after a couple weeks, things weren’t looking very good. Eventually, we figured this experiment was a failure and we'd have to dump it. But turns out the folks that oversee dumping sizable amounts liquid legally were all off wherever folks go during the holidaze. So, after an extended delay in the tank, we decided to give it one last taste before it went down the drain. Turns out the yeast just needed a bit more time to accept the brown sugar as edible, but once it did it ate the hell out of it creating a deliciously boozy brew. We bottled it and, naturally, called it Brown Shugga', going on to become one of our most anticipated seasonal beers released every fall...

Then in 2011 we realized that, no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't brew enough beer to keep up with demand. To fix this, we had a brand-spankin'-new 250-barrel brewhouse built and rushed to us from Germany. But like an actual sign from above, a tropical storm hit the cargo ship carrying our new brewhouse, sending a crane crashing right onto our new Lauter Tun, rendering it unusable.

With our new lauter tun resembling a crumpled beer can, we did some math and discovered that there was no possible way we could brew enough Brown Shugga' in 2011. Word of this got out to our friends and family and, damn, were they vocal. 'This Sucks!' they yelled.

To try and make it up to everyone, we developed a hoppy rye-ish IPA recipe that fit the bill for some kind'a ‘We're Sorry' ale. It really only made sense to name it Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitue Ale, because, well, it was a substitute for Brown Shugga' and, well, we suck.


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