This time of year, as the air turns brisk and icy, North Bay beer aficionados start hankering for dark, sweet ales that warm the body and soothe cold bones. With an ABV of 9.9% (hot damn!), the roasty, luscious Lagunitas Brown Shugga' ale has become a highly-anticipated go-to ale for the winter season. But this year, you can just forget about that whole deal. Due to a brewhouse working at full capacity churning out 80 gallon batches of in-demand IPAs and Pilsners, the popular Sonoma County brewery had to call it a wrap on Brown Shugga' for 2011. Lagunitas has a knack for names (Wilco Tango Foxtrot, Undercover Investigation Shut Down, The Hairy Eyeball) and the replacement beer is no exception. Welcome to the "Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale Brown Shugga' Substitute." The bottom of the six-pack contains what amounts to an awesomely self-deprecating short story explaining exactly what went down:
"This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga’ Ale. You see, we had a couple of good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting a January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin’ along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga’ brewed, we’d short 3 cases of our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure that this kind of failure never happens again. It’s a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga’ this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it all to be over …."
Let's see if the lack of Brown Shugga' this year will create chaos on par with the Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas Shopping Frenzies of Yore when the beer returns to shelves in 2012.