The Best Beer. Ever?

By | Chowder |

Sure, I'll try a Little Sumpin' Sumpin'.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I had planned an excursion to Baxter Brewing Co. My occasional beer drinking compadre Jet Fuel had read about it online, and it sounded pretty interesting. It’s an all canned beer brewery in Lewiston, Maine, that’s only been around for about a year.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love canned beer, so all he had to do was mention that, and I was in — even though it would mean a drive deep into the heart of Vacationland.

But as the Fourth approached, Jet Fuel had second thoughts. He wasn’t really up for such a long drive after all. I understood. I wasn’t all that excited about spending a big chunk of the holiday weekend on the road, either.

But I really wanted some of that canned beer.

Then, on the Friday before the Fourth, I saw that B.A., from the Seacoast Beverage Lab, had just Tweeted that he was on his way to Baxter Brewing Co. Ouch. Salt in the wound.

I was still smarting a bit from my missed opportunity when I saw another missive from B.A. last week, this time telling me that there was going to be a special beer on tap Thursday night at the Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H.

The beer was Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, and there were only going to be eight kegs on tap. When they were gone, there wasn’t going to be any more.

Not wanting to miss out again, I jumped at the opportunity and headed over.

For those who don’t know it, the Portsmouth Brewery is perhaps best known for its Kate the Great Imperial Stout. Released once a year (and on a couple of other special occasions), you have to buy a lottery-style ticket just for a chance to get your hands on a bottle or two. In all my years of beer drinking, I’ve never tasted the stuff.

What I’m saying is that they know their beer. So I was expecting the Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale to be good. Otherwise, JT and the folks at the Portsmouth Brewery wouldn’t have made such a big deal about it.

But even I didn’t expect it to be that good.

As I approached the brewery, there was a line out the door. When I finally got inside, nearly everyone in the place was sitting with the same beer parked in front of them.

Lagunitas describes the beer, which has an alcohol content of 7.5 percent, as “sneaky smooth” with a touch of “wheatly-esque-ish-ness.”

It really was quite an experience. The beer had a hoppy flavor, sort of like an IPA, but it wasn’t as heavy and was much more drinkable. I didn’t notice the “wheatly-esque-ish-ness,” though. My first one was gone in about three sips, and I quickly ordered another.

I couldn’t stop talking about how good it was, and I wasn’t alone. The whole place was buzzing. It was the best beer I’ve had in a long time — maybe the best ever — and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some more of it real soon.

Mr. X is a contributor to the Beer Drinking Report.