The Brewers of Lagunitas are freaking out. At least,
that’s what it says on my bottle of Freak Out ale. It’s pretty hard
to miss, actually, even if you’re not a Frank Zappa fan. I must admit that
I’m not really a huge fan myself. To be sure, I’ve nothing against the man;
I just never developed a taste for his music. If you are a fan, however,
then Freak Out! Ale might be just the thing for you. Hey, if you aren’t a
beer drinker, you will at least want the bottle as a collectable.
As I said, this one is hard to miss. The label on the bottle is a full color
reproduction of the album art from Zappa’s first album entitled, you guessed
it, Freak Out!. That album was released forty years ago in 1966, and
to commemorate, Lagunitas releases this specially labeled brew. Which is
really more of a stronger version of their IPA, but more on that later.
There’s a quote from Zappa on the label that is taken from his book, The
Real Frank Zappa Book, part of which is often cited by beer enthusiasts.
I find it very apropos for a beer-Zappa dissertation. Here it goes:
Consumption of beer may lead to pseudo-military behavior. Think about
it-winos don’t march. Whiskey guys don’t march, either (sometimes they write
poetry, which is often more horrible, though). Beer drinkers are into things
that are sort of like marching-like football. Go ahead and laugh…every major
industrialized nation has a beer, (you can’t be real country unless you have
a beer and an airline-it helps if you have some kind of football team, or
some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer).
Well, Mr Zappa, guess what? You know have a beer, so, I guess you now
qualify as a real country yourself. Sort of. Anyway, the last three lines
are the most quoted of Frank’s entire little beery flight of fancy. And it
seems to have gotten a beer named after his album. That and the fact that
the Brewers of Lagunitas seem to be pretty big Zappa fans.
Freak Out! Ale is sold in 22-ounce bomber bottles. I paid a little
over $3, which is a good deal for anything Lagunitas makes, I think. The
Petaluma, California (close to San Francisco) brewer is widely known for its
deliciously hoppy ales, and Freak Out! Is no exception.
Lagunitas Freak Out! Ale pours to a bright copper color with a thick,
soapy-foamy head and a very citric hoppy nose. The palate is slightly chewy
with hints of caramel and toasted malt. It’s very drinkable, with an
enticing resiny-citric flavor and an orangey-citric floral aroma. The finish
is intensely bitter, mouth-puckeringly so, with a long and dry finish that
lingers on the tongue. Notes of grapefruit are apparent there as well, and
there’s a little alcohol warmth, too.
I found Freak Out! To be reminiscent of
Lagunitas IPA in
many ways. It’s has a similar toasty character, though perhaps a tad more
caramel flavor. It’s also a bit stronger, at about 7% alcohol by volume.
Lagunitas IPA comes in at just under 6%. I found Freak Out! Ale to be very
tasty, and I liked it a lot, even if I didn’t exactly freak out over it.
Well worth picking up, if only for the cool label art. And hey, for just $3,
there’s plenty of great beer here too.
In late 2007 Lagunitas celebrated Zappa's second album, Absolutely Free,
with the release of
Kill Ugly Radio Ale .
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.