A month ago Lagunitas Brewing Company visited Denmark on a promotion tour. They also visited Odense, and at the local pub Christian Firtal, I got to talk with a couple of the representatives, Chris and Mark. The blog has been terribly quiet for a long time, but I have a few things lined up in the coming month, and so it was time to get started writing again. Please excuse the long break!
Lagunitas beers were first sold in Denmark in 2007 and a couple of years after that. Back then, they were more or less in the first wave of American craft beer hitting Denmark, and I wasn’t too impressed. My memory is of quite sweet, malty beers, easy accessible hoppy beers. Probably because it wasn’t fresh back then.
Ten years ago, we were just impressed that we could buy American beer in Denmark, but today, we get excellent hoppy beers brewed locally and served fresh, and the bar is (thankfully) raised considerably. And the beer we had this time around didn’t disappoint. Sent directly from Lagunitas’ Chicago brewery, it was incredibly fresh.
They had brought six beers. Five hoppy beers and the imperial stout. I began with New Dogtown Pale Ale and India Pale Ale. Funny enough, both beers are 6.2% ABV, but still quite different beers. A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale is another IPA, 7.5% strong and brewed with wheat. It’s one that I remembered as too sweet for my taste. Much improved in this fresher version.
The golden strong ale Lucky 13 was deliciously hoppy, and the Double IPA Maximus even more so. To finish off a nice flight of beer, the Imperial Stout was an excellent beer, but did little that other imperial stouts wouldn’t do. My favourite of the set was New Dogtown Pale Ale, but unfortunately I had to leave the party early, and when I came back a few hours later, it was sold out. I wasn’t the only one who liked it.
In September 2015, Heineken aquired 50% of the stakes in Lagunitas, a deal that brought in a ton of money for expansion, and also gives the brewery access to world wide distribution through Heineken. The tour of Denmark was probably a part of that expansion plan, but I also find it quite interesting that Lagunitas plan on being the first small American brewery exporting to Mexico.
Having already doubled capacity with the new brewery in Chicago, Lagunitas are also building a new brewery back home in California, doubling capacity once again. The guys we met in Denmark wouldn’t rule out further expansion. While a brewery on the East Coast would make good sense for a start, I’m also hoping that we’ll see a Lagunitas Brewery in Europe some day. Even if it’s part owned by one of the big bad global macros.