Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review –
Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale


Friday, with only one beer selection to be made, I made my way to the beloved Morris Beer Store and was greeted from behind the counter by the Handsome Young Guy with his trademarked jaunty-tilted ball cap. I handed off last week’s printout and moved around to the craft beer aisle. What was I in the mood for? Perhaps a lager or a pilsner. I haven’t had one of those in a while.

As if on cue, Gail, the Beer Maven came around clutching a flattened wine box. The chit-chat ensued for a good 5 minutes or so and we were soon joined by the HYG. The encounter almost turned into a party.Finally some customers came in and I was left alone to pursue my quarry. What was I in the mood for again? I found myself at the far end of the shelf staring at the collection of unsold bombers. Hello… what’s this? A bomber of some Lagunitas brew. I grabbed one of the last three bottles and examined the label.

How appropriate. Wilco Tango Foxtrot. A Malty, Robust, Jobless Recovery Ale. WTF? How could I refuse? More information from the label yielded 7.83% ABV, O.G. 1.072 and 64.20 IBU. Wow, there’s a lot going on in this bottle. High gravity, high hops, high alcohol. I wondered just how fantastic this concoction would taste. I grabbed all three bottles knowing I could afford the 5 bucks a pop. It was an impulse buy to be sure, but I couldn’t pass up writing about WTF.

Back home, the threesome got stashed in the beer fridge, piling on top of the three bombers of Dragon’s Milk in the door shelf. The remaining Schlaflys beckoned as well as the remaining Tommyknocker sampler members. Some other time.

Saturday arrived with another visit of my crippled warrior son, his leg finally out of the soft cast but still on crutches. In tow, he had his exploding-hair dog and a new MacBook Pro along with his old MacBook, hoping that the ol’ man would help him migrate his data from old to new. His old machine was getting kernel panics (probably due to a bad memory stick) and I volunteered my “garage Mac” to help him out. We put his hard drive in my computer to forego the kernel panics and began the data migration. Four hours later, we’re still migrating. I made the effort to truck the house Mac out to the garage. That’s why the pics are pseudo-alien for the garage environment. (The migration was successful.)

Saturday was another day of rain, thunderstorms, tornado warnings and reminders that the gutters still need to be cleaned. Inside the Manly Garage it was quite hospitable, thankyouverymuch. There I was, ready for a brewski, with this giant monitor nearly rubbing my nose (Jesus, I’m really close to this thing) I uncapped the first bomber and began.

The beer poured up a very dark color but still see-through-able. The color was clear brown with a mixture of bubble sizes rising. The head came up a rich beige color and was tightly packed into the glass top. The aroma was that of malts and hops. Looks like we’re in for a real uvula zinger of a brew.

The first sip felt, as stated, robust to the confines of the mouth. The malts were there, but the whole gist of this sip was the hoppy whip-crack at the swallow. I have learned that certain types of hops can give a beer a grapefruit flavor and this one almost makes that taste. But not quite.

The robustity of this beer is along the lines of a high-gravity brew. I could tell just from the feel of the liquid in my mouth that there were a lot of malts used. And with an original gravity (O.G.) of 1.072, I could tell that tons of malts filled the cauldron during the brew process.

The hops are indeed the star of the show. Each sip gave that hopslap right to the tonsils and then disappearing in a few seconds. It wasn’t too hard to handle as the ginormous malt flavors sort of balanced out the taste with the hops.

Personally, I’m happy for me for getting over my unfounded phobia of highly hopped beers. Many of the ones I’ve tried have been quite tasty. This beer, with its 64 IBUs takes on some citrus flavor, although it’s hard to pinpoint which citrus it was. It closely resembled grapefruit, but not quite.

The deeper I dug into this beer, the nicer it tasted. A bit of discernible sweetness finally came forward and added to the mix. It was a veritable exercise for my taste buds. Crunches, bench presses and squats all wrapped up in the guise of sweet, malt and hoppy bitter. I don’t feel experienced enough to render an opinion as to whether this beer should be classified up there with the IPAs, but I can recognize and appreciate what large amounts of hops can do to the taste of a beer.

Lagunitas has hit another one out of the park. Their Brown Shugga’ was absolutely delectable and now this. An adventure in malts and hops not to be undertaken by the squeamish. This beer might be one that you should prepare for. Big malty taste, a size 12 shoe full of hops and a great flavor will take you away. The 7.83% ABV proves it. It’s a great beer to be experienced and remembered and I do believe that, once you try this beer, you won’t forget it.

The SixPackTech ratings for Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale are:

Taste: B+ > A carnival but with scary clowns.
Smoothness: B+ > Like Rod Stewart’s voice in a way. Smooth, but gruff. At the same time, etc.
Drinkability: B+ > A string of firecrackers.
Bang for the buck: B- > 5 bucks a bomber.
ABV: 7.83%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Smells bitter. Smells coffeish too. (sip) I’m getting the grapey too but its weird. (sip)I can’t… I don’t know what to say. (sip) Its not horrible but its really strange its drying real drying. (sip) It’s like grapefruit and something else I can’t place.

I’ve been trying to get my wife to pose for a picture during her beer tastings. Tonight, in the garage, a party broke out an I employed a son to take undercover pictures of the wife of my life rendering her all-encompassing opinion.


A WTF video

Courtesy of the Japanese

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