The Beer List: Lagunitas DayTime Ale

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“The Beer List” is back with a new installment, and this week, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s DayTime Ale is getting poured for our mutual enjoyment. While I am a fan of India Pale Ales in general, it is admittedly difficult to find one that is truly easy to drink. The DayTime Ale, also known as the Fractional IPA, may be one of those few needles in the proverbial haystack.

Brewed in sunny Petaluma, California, The DayTime Ale is a dry-hopped session IPA that has the potential to become a blockbuster favorite for easy summer sipping. For a little history, a session beer is a brew with a low alcohol percentage that British factory workers could drink during allotted “sessions” while on the job. The point was to be able to knock a few back during these breaks without getting too sauced. The DayTime Ale fits that bill, having quite a low alcohol-by-volume percentage of just 4.65, and a light and balanced taste and mouthfeel that make it go down nice and easy.

The beer pours a clear yellow color, with a thin head and very little lacing. A nose full of Citra hops blasts your olfactory nerve upon the first smell, and that about characterizes the aroma. However, when it comes to the taste, the hops are there, but are toned down by the presence of citrus fruits and just a bit of malt. The brewer added adjuncts to the mix to provide a biscuity, malty taste, which ties it all together, keeping the DayTime Ale from being known as “hop water.” Nonetheless, the beer is very thin and light, but that’s the whole point – “crushability,” as the kids today have dubbed it.

According to the Lagunitas website, the brewery recommends pairing the DayTime Ale with both breakfast and lunch, and honestly, who can argue with that? Beer tastes the same way in the morning as it does in the afternoon, just as pizza does. So, grab a couple while you’re out to lunch with your office mates, and you’ll come back to work and not necessarily have the desire to flip out on the ingrates at your job, Jerry Maguire-style. The DayTime Ale can be found in certain distribution areas all year, and is gearing up for year-round availability nationwide.

Lagunitas made a clever beer here with the DayTime Ale, giving it the characteristics of an IPA – hoppy and citrusy – but without the extreme bitterness and high alcohol content. Highly recommended.

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