Lagunitas NightTime Ale
Brewed by: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer Classification and Specs
- Style: IPA
- Variation: Black, Imperial (Double)
- Seasonal: Spring
- ABV: 8.2%
- IBU: 65
Notes: Brewed for the first time in 2014.
Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients
There are two kinds. There is the DayTime kind, which is bright and welcoming and then there is the NightTime kind, which should never be confused with the DayTime. NightTime is dark and deep and may take you to unexpected places, places that the DayTime cannot. But then, the NightTime is not suited for ordinary life and ordinary tasks.
Hops: N/A from Lagunitas
Malts: N/A from Lagunitas
More NightTime Ale Images
Artwork: Black label with the trademark Lagunitas dog. And a warning to “Fear the dark.”
Color: Chocolaty, charcoal with creamy khaki head.
Aroma: Slightly charred christmas pine layered over sweet malt.
Arrived in: 22 oz. Bottle
Served in: Official Lagunitas Largemouths
We first sampled NightTime on tap at the Lagunitas Beer Sanctuary, and loved it. Thinking it would not be distributed outside the Bay Area, we decided to pack a few bombers back home to San Diego. Even the Lagunitas gift shop employees were sure it was exclusive to Northern California.
So of course a few weeks after we got home, our local Vons — of all places — had NightTime in stock. Not like that’s anything to be upset about, since we now had an (almost) endless supply.
NightTime is a black IPA, aka Cascadian Dark Ale. A few summers ago, Lagunitas released DayTime Fractional IPA, their foray into the emerging session IPA market. Just like the saying goes, those two IPAs are as different as night and day: one light and weak, the other dark and powerful.
Actually, we are being a little unfair to Daytime here. We rated that 3/5 last fall, and were just trying to make the point that both ales are polar opposites. That’s also the idea Lagunitas was trying to convey, if you read their non-sensical tasting notes.
NightTime poured a large, puffy, khaki toned head like a root beer. And speaking of soda, that’s the color that came out of the bottle, but it really darkened up in the glass to that chocolaty – charcoal color.
It looked like a dense porter or stout, but featured a surprisingly medium body for the deep darkness. The head laced the largemouth in a sheet, with fluffy suds you would expect to find in those aforementioned styles.
NightTime started off with sweet malt, where the real progressions of flavor kicked in. Smokey notes, comparable to freshly lit tobacco, or campfire blended with the malt for a toasted effect. Then pine jumped out, like resiney hops were being roasted in your mouth, followed by that traditional piney IPA bitter finish.
Not like this beer didn’t taste delicious in its entirety, but those first few drinks through the roasted head were the best of the glass. The wispy topper made it seem like you were sipping its piney darkness through a thin smoke screen of hickory.
“Fear the dark” was the warning on the bottle, but this beer did not scare us…
Final Score: 4.5/5
NightTime was another in a long line of well-crafted Lagunitas ales. This strong and dark, yet medium-bodied ale showcased several layers of flavor — roasted malt, smokey pine, and the trademark bitter IPA finish. A winning combination, and we hope Lagunitas brews it again next spring.