Score One for the Session Beers
A Review of Fillmore Fusion Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Posted on 2/4/2013 by Chops
                   
Delicious
The Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, CA is nothing if not adventurous. They have a ''why the hell not'' attitude and a remarkable skill for brewing that produces delectable delights with names like Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. Sampling new Lagunitas brews is always an amusing experience because not only are their beers reliably delicious, but there is often a good story behind them. Their latest creation goes by the name Fillmore Fusion Ale, brewed to honor the 100th Anniversary of the historic building that houses San Francisco's iconic Fillmore Theater. Lagunitas thought it would be good fun to let the theater's staff select the ingredients to be used in the beer. They smelled hops, tasted malts, and discussed styles. The resulting 5% nectar is described by Lagunitas as a ''light, sessionable, IPA-ish'' brew. Oddly enough, I find this to be a perfect description. Review over, the end. Kidding of course, let's break this bugger down.

In the glass, this beer has a clear golden coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has nice retention. On the nose, I found a big piney aroma with notes of grapefruit citrus and lemongrass. There are plenty of floral and tropical notes, but I couldn't hone in on any specific traits. The hops are quite dominant on the aroma and tend to mask any complexity. No worries though, I'm confident I will zero in on a few tropical flavors.

That first sip was unmistakably Lagunitas, even with a mishmash of random ingredients. I can only describe it as ''tropically crisp West Coast'', and fans of the brewery will know exactly what I'm talking about. It didn't take long to identify the source of the tropical aromas hiding under the hop profile: pineapple and mango. I also found grapefruit, lemongrass, orange rind, plus a dusting of herbs and spices. The base malt adds a caramel sweetness that acts as a thin foundation. The beer drinks really smooth and all the flavors balance nicely with a restrained yet savory hop profile. The beer exits crisp and clean with a lightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall, the Lagunitas Fillmore Fusion Ale is a delightful session beer that I could drink all day long. It is endlessly enjoyable with lots of great flavor. I can easily recommend this beer to all levels of beer fans, but especially to novices. Fillmore manages to harness all of the wonderful traits that make pale ales delicious without becoming an overly zealous concoction. It has the zest of a great IPA but minus the aggression. It's a remarkably approachable session ale and should be used as such. Fillmore isn't a beer you buy a single of for a special occasion. It's a beer you buy a case of to share with friends at fun social gatherings. My only gripe with this beer is that it doesn't come in six packs... yet. (hint hint Lagunitas)

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Fillmore Fusion Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Co.
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