An experimental beer: sour ale, infused with wine grapes.
Lagunitas is known mostly for their line of IPA beers including… well, they simply call it “IPA”. It’s fun to see a brewery come out of their comfort zone and succeed. Their newest creation, Dark Swan, just came out in June and we gave it a go.
Poured into a snifter glass from a bottle, the Dark Swan is a deep purple hue with half a finger of white head with lavender highlights. Resembling a red wine, the ale is completely opaque. Dry hops and Sirah grape notes blend into a pleasingly tangy bouquet.
How does the Dark Swan taste?
It’s a very approachable sour ale. Sours range from slightly tangy to downright challenging, and this one falls towards the tangy end of the spectrum with a nice little zing. It strikes a very pleasing balance between the hop profile and the wine taste brought on from the Sirah grapes. If you’re looking to introduce someone to sour ales, the Dark Swan is an excellent gateway.
It does drink a bit heavy at 8.5 ABV. After two pints, I noticed a heavier, sleepy buzz more common with wine, as opposed to a traditional ale. It’s definitely not a session beer, and not one you’d enjoy outside or while engaging in something active like a tailgate party. It would be stellar for an evening in, paired with fruits and cheeses or a nice steak. I’d actually love to try cooking with it, just to see how meats or even brats would take on the wine flavors.