I’ll be brief.  Well, I’ll at least be as brief as any of us Aleheads can be.  Lord knows we love to ramble on endlessly about the most useless of subjects.  Some say that’s a strong suit, the ability to profess wildly opinionated views on topics that we feel passionate about.  Others may say we just like to talk to ourselves, which is completely true in my case.  Since we’re speaking of me, my favorite topic, there’s one more thing that I like to do when it comes to beer and opinions.  I like to make absurdly outlandish statements with no backing about what I consider to be the best this, the best that, the top 10 of whatever the hell I feel like talking about.  Subjectivity is the key here.  Who doesn’t like to throw out statements that receive immediate argument?  I know I do.  So, with that in mind, let me drop this one on you.  Lagunitas Brewery is the best brewery in the country.  Want to argue?  Read on.


Ah, looks like you do want to argue with me.  Maybe I’ll rephrase the statement a little so it makes more sense within these pages.  When I say Lagunitas is the best brewery, I’m talking purely by my taste standards.  Quite simply, if you don’t like aggressive, West Coast IPA’s you probably won’t peg Lagunitas as the best in the land.  That’s perfectly fine.  I’ll just assume though that anyone reading this site probably appreciates a good IPA from time to time (Your also probably fairly drunk right now, which will certainly help in understanding my prose).  Even if you like IPA’s though, West Coast “San Diego” style may not be your cup o’ tea.  Maybe you like piney, resiny, hops with a caramel malt backbone.  I do too, but not as must as I like the fruit-forward, citrus bombs that pucker the lips and burn the enamel right off your teeth.  I also like variety, which is why Lagunitas is the best brewery in the country.  There, I said it again.  Lots of breweries have a varied lineup, but how many can say they have several distinct IPA’s, one just as delicious as the next?  Not that many, and that’s why my argument ends there.  OK, I guess it doesn’t end there.  How about some bullet points?  Here’s why Lagunitas is the best:

  • Exhibit A – Hop Stoopid (See “The” Best Imperial IPA’s for a description)
  • Exhibit B – Maximus
  • Exhibit C – A Little Sumpin’ Extra!
  • Exhibit D-Z – You get the point.  A fantastically sessionable beer in their straight IPA, two amazing Strong Ales in their Brown Shugga and Undercover Investigation Shut-Down , a bunch of other variations on every IPA they’ve ever done, an Imperial Red, Cappuccino Stout, etc, etc, etc.
Again, lots of breweries have variety but lots of breweries also have a slew of clunkers in their lineup (See Head, Dogfish).  Two of my all-time favorite breweries, Victory and Founders, have great variety in their lineups and certainly put out some amazing beers.  Why Lagunitas then?  It’s because of what they do with their variety.  When I look at Founders, they have one of my favorite IPA’s, the Centennial, as well as a fantastic Imperial IPA in their Devil Dancer.  Victory has the same thing – Awesome IPA in the Hop Devil (Although not my favorite West Coast style) and a great Imperial in their Hop Wallop.  They both have a bunch of other great beers as well – KBS, Yakima Twilight, Backwoods Bastard, Moonglow – Yes the lists go on and on.  To me though, Lagunitas does more with their lineup because there are more beers in their where you might say – “I would put this up against any other beer in the country”.  It all comes back to the IPA’s for me.  Everybody does an IPA now, everybody does an Imperial IPA, everybody does some sort of boozy, barrel-aged, in-your-face “Extreme” beer that beer geeks across the land flock to.  Lagunitas does those all too, but they do them better.  Let me rephrase again – They do them better more consistently.
I’ll let me argument end there, not that it’s much of an argument because it’s completely subjective and you can poke holes in it from top to bottom.  Just get your ass in the comments section, tell me why I’m wrong, and tell me why your right.  What brewery is better?  What makes them better?  Is it the variety, quality, price, availability, or maybe just something that pulls you in because the brewer must share the same damn tastebuds that you do?  I won’t argue with you either way, just let your voice be heard*.
*Editor’s Note – While I won’t argue with you, I’m sure every other Alehead will mock and ridicule you.  It’s just their way.  Keep in mind that they won’t offer up a healthy alternative argument though, just a strong opinion that has no backing and no validity.


  1. Totally agree and there price is perfect to. Dont forget there Little Sumpin’ Wild, another awesome beer. Recently I asked a Lagunitas rep why there beer is so cheap across the board (EX: 22oz bomber of Russian Imperial Stout $4.99)she said they only mark there beer up 10% not tyhe normal 20 to 25%, they dont need to drive sports cars and live in mansion, just brew great beer and get it to people who love it….WOW is all I can say, they are the best.

  2. Thanks Andrew S, couldn’t have said it better. We had a little discussion a while back about price per ounce being a significant factor as to why we may rate similar beers over one another, especially when most of us have been buying 22’s. On average I’m spending roughly $0.50 per ounce for a special bomber (Usually the $10 to $12 range), whereas a good $10 sixer breaks it down to about $0.14 per ounce. I can get Lagunitas Hop Stoppid for $4.99 for the bomber, or $0.22/ounce, and a sixer of their straight IPA runs me $7,99, or $0.11/ounce. Price shouldn’t be the only reason you purchase a certain beer, but it sure does help when you know the beer is awesome AND cheaper than most of the other beers in the same quality spectrum.

    By the way, don’t tell your Bud Light swilling friends that the $11 bomber of whatever cool Imperial IPA you just picked up equates to a $160 30 rack. While I do think that most good Imperial IPA’s are at least 6 times better than any macro-lager (Figure you could get six 30 packs for $160), it’s tough to argue the economics of such a purchase given the alternatives.

  3. To being clear: No Alehats or any of owners have no financial interest in Lagunitas. We unfortunately are not compensated for being endorsement and receive no discount for any product they sell. However, we are available for compensation in dime or kind.

  4. If you’re looking at only their consistently strong and varied IPA and Strong Ale lineup, Lagunitas comes out looking rosy. Throw the afore-mentioned value proposition in the mix and they are certainly a contender for the title of “Best Brewery”. To play devil’s advocate they come up a little lacking in the realm of prestige beers… there’s no best-in-class, nationally distributed Imperial Stout for us to get excited about and look forward to, like The Abyss, KBS, Hunahpu, etc. They’ve probably made some awesome stuff that is available at the tap room or on the west coast, but it’s hard for me to say they’re “The Best” without an offering in that category? It’s probably just a lack of focus in the marketing- their labels are amateurish, the website is below par, and I think the overall brand identity is all over the map compared to breweries like Stone, Founder’s, Victory, etc.

    They just make great, consistent, affordable beer and distribute like a mo-fo. Which is good enough in-and-of itself, I suppose.

  5. Look I work for lagunitas brewing company and let me tell you this. No owner of any company is more concerned about there employees being happy, beer being perfect, and helping there community than Tony Magee that being said

    life is uncertain, don’t sip!

  6. Well, there you go. It is definitely reassuring to know that the boss man is lookin’ out for his staff at Lagunitas. I have had a predisposition against Lagunitas for years with absolutely no real basis but I am decidely a convert (writing with my third Maximus of the afternoon in hand). No chance they’ll usurp Bell’s, Founder’s and Oskar Blues in my list of favorite breweries, but they’ve definitely done well by me between their solid IPA’s, Little Sumpin’ Wild (yay six-pack release!) and the general wallet-friendly approach to hoppiness employed there in Petaluma.

    On a different note, please consider the use of their/there in the above comment. For the love of beer, use your education lads! Being half in the bag in front of a laptop is no reason to lose command of the language.

  7. My only regret is that the Maximus is only 7.5%…. I would have liked a little more pop… but overall awesome line of tasty, well priced brew’s.

    I think that if the craft beer industry followed your blogs and tailored their output according to the aleheads likes and needs, they would have great wealth both spiritually and monetarily!

    Drink like there are no tomorrows my friends!

  8. Little somethin wiser: Thank you for adding more fuel to my “Why I want to quit my job and brew beer” argument. I was holding out hope that all brewers were complete assholes, but it turns out that they’re just as cool as I thought they were. Cool boss, tasty beer, helping folks out – Time to start working on my resignation letter.

  9. I’m always a week behind now. I will agree that Lagunitas is now my favorite brewer of IPAs. I don’t hold lack of dark beers (though their imperial stout is quite good) on them since they do live in a place where cold weather only occurs when you drive to go skiing. The 13 is on tap at my local watering hole and the tap is esoteric enough that I appear to be one of only a few people drinking it. Nothing better than a personal keg of delicious Lagunitas hoppiness.

  10. Say “LAH-GOO-KNEE-TUSS”…
    They are one of my favorites too. I used to work up in Petaluma and my office shared a parking lot with the Lagunitas warehouse on Old McDowell Blvd. They had monthly parties where they’d roll up the warehouse door after business hours and for $5 you’d get a pint glass and tastes of whatever they had on tap. Eventually they had to add drink tickets to limit the number of tastes and at some point the local businesses caught on and there would be food vendors in the parking lot, good times all around. I don’t remember if my office moved or if they moved first, either way it was good while it lasted. So, yeah, I can attest that the folks at Lagunitas are good people, and they make great beers. Cheers!

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