Lagunitas Brewing Company Chicago (original location is in Petaluma, CA) is a must see for anyone who enjoys beer … so, everyone really. Granted, I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Lagunitas. I’ve tried several of their beers but they tend to have a strong hoppy taste and I’m not entirely fond of too much hop flavor in my brews. In their defense, they’ve mostly been IPAs. Some people fancy hops and to each their own. Having said that, Lagunitas does brew a variety of beer so their portfolio is diversified. Their draught list including not only IPAs but stouts, sours, and a pilsner.
I was pleasantly surprised and genuinely pleased trying the following at the brewery:
Pils, Czech style lager
Aunt Sally, dry-hopped sweet tart sour ale
Brown Sugga’, brown cane sugar ale
Cuppaccino Stout, ale brewed with roasted coffee
and last but best, Dark Swan, hopped sour ale fermented with dark red wine grapes
Besides the beer, the place is awesome. It’s got a Willy Wonka feel as you walk in (they literally are playing Pure Imagination). The brewery is massive. The atmosphere and colorful decor make for a fun vibe.
We took a tour, which lasted about 30 minutes. You don’t get to walk the floor, instead you’re looking down from a metal walkway. There were 4 stops and the tour guide was informative, made some jokes. It was neat to see the brewery and get a walk-through but not my favorite brewery tour (I think Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee has a fun and super interesting tour. You do get to take your brew so you can continue to drink while on the tour but c’mon, it’s a brewery. I’d be shocked if you couldn’t.
The food was hearty but not too heavy and very good. I tried their Hogunitas, a slow roasted carnitas sandwich (basically a pulled pork sandwich), the loaded nachos and the pretzels (soft).