Beer O’ the Moment: Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio

“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa

The arrival in the Capital Region of the deliciously hoppy West Coast style beers from Stone and Lagunitas a year or so ago was one of the highlights of the beer year in these parts. Sure, Stone is from sunny Southern Cali, and Lagunitas hails from the Bay Area, but we tend to think of them in a somewhat similar vein. In addition to mighty fine beers, both breweries also feature some pretty unique marketing approaches. Other than zealous use of hops as an ingredient, Stone is probably best known for their silk screen painted bottles featuring gargoyle artwork. That and the over the top haughtiness of their flagship Arrogant Bastard Ale packaging (helpful hint: you’re not worthy).

Lagunitas is slightly less in your face – both with the hops and the attitude – but they do feature some pretty out there stuff. Witness either Undercover Investigation or Censored Ale if you need proof (helpful hint: one is named after an attempted government drug sting at the brewery, the other formerly had a name eerily similar to a popular Dr. Dre album from the early 90’s). Lagunitas founder Tony Magee also happens to be a big fan of Frank Zappa. A big enough fan that the brewery is planning on releasing a commemorative beer for the 40th anniversary of each of the his many albums. Slightly ironic considering that this is in memory of a guy who said, “I don’t give a [expletive deleted] if they remember me at all.” Still, kinda cool, eh?

Last year’s tasty Freak Out Ale (an IPA) was first, commemorating the – you guessed it – Freak Out! album from 1966. Tasty beer, yes, but not really all that memorable. The second in the series, Kill Ugly Radio, actually honors the 1967 Absolutely Free album, but word is that name couldn’t make it past the ol’ government regulators. The really good news is that, according to our highly scientific calculations, Lagunitas is due to put out at least two Zappa tribute beers in each of the next four years!

Back to our beer o’ the moment. Kill Ugly Radio is a fairly light pale gold, especially for a Double IPA (that’s Beer Advocate’s classification, anyway). It has a wonderfully fresh, hoppy nose and a refreshing, crisp mouthfeel. The taste is slightly grassy citrus hops – a sassy blend of Summit, Horizon and Cascade – and it goes down mighty smooth with a pleasingly bitter finish. Not a lot in the malt department, and the hops aren’t overwhelming. Not that that’s a bad thing – this recipe definitely works. Really well done. At a reasonable $3.49 for a 22 oz. bottle, and a not too unreasonable 7.8% abv, this beer could be a regular staple of our fall line-up.

Lagunitas, you’ve done it again! We’re looking forward to the remainder of the series. Here’s hoping there will be a beer for each of the two dozen or so albums. We’re becoming bigger Zappa fans already.


~ by bojangles on September 10, 2007.

One Response to “Beer O’ the Moment: Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio”

  1. If “Kill Ugly Radio” is anything like “Freak Out” I’m gonna stock up for the winter. And at $3.49 per deuce-deuce bottle I might have to head to the Cap District to horde them. That grassy hop flavor is a major winner. Maybe Lagunitas will move onto other bands; I’d be curious to know how they would pull off a Captain Beefheart Stout.

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