Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ blows my mind a little bit. It’s hoppy, it’s malty, it’s wheaty, and it’s definitely got the sort of oomph that might kick you in the seat of the pants if you aren’t watching out for it. But with a name like Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, would you expect anything less? Seated at the bar of Northeast Kingdom this evening where they are currently serving the beer on draft, my Australian photographer and his friend called this beer “undrinkable,” which is somewhat understandable considering Aussies tend to appreciate a light, easy brew over something with more character; this beer has nothing if not character.
A friend of mine now works at Lagunitas Brewing Company, one of the west coast’s finest breweries, and I asked him for the inside scoop on the beer. Back in college, Barry and I perfected that most gracious of Midwestern arts: shotgunning ice-cold Natural Lights out of cans in the bathroom. We’ve come a long way since then and have left our Natty behind us in favor of somewhat more legitimate beer-drinking endeavors, which for Barry means working on “strategery” at Lagunitas (he is the first to admit the folks there don’t take themselves too seriously). According to Barry, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ started as a seasonal brew, but soon became so popular that Lagunitas decided to sell it year-round, and it’s now the brewery’s best seller after their IPA. Take that, Aussie haters.
Barry’s description pretty much sums it all up: “Best part about the beer is, we don’t know what to call it. It’s not an IPA and it’s not a wheat beer (even though it has 50% wheat). It’s dangerous because it goes down so smooth, but is 7.5% alcohol. She’s got a whole load of C-hops [hops generally used in an IPA] with a smooth and silky wheaty-esque-ish-ness.” Silky wheaty-esque-ish-ness: yep, that’s quite the way to put it, and quite the accurate description. The Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ pours a light, orangey amber with a clean white head. It balances tangy citrusy hops – both in aroma and taste – with a mild maltiness and wheat edge. The punch of hops with the hint of wheaty malt elevates this beer to a style of its own and we are lucky to have it on tap in the hood at Northeast Kingdom.
Northeast Kingdom, one of our neighborhood’s best restaurants, has eight beers on tap at any given day, several of which they rotate with the seasons like their food menu. That means you can always drop by to find a beer worthy of the day outside and grab a tasty bite to accompany it. With its citrusy wheatiness, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ has great summer appeal and this weekend Northeast Kingdom is not the only place you can sip Lagunitas brews fresh on draft. (UPDATE: The NYC Brewers Guild Block Party was cancelled) This Sunday, August 25, The Well will hold New York City Brewers Guild Block Party – a beer extravaganza featuring brews from over twenty craft breweries including Founders, Sixpoint, Kelso, Stone, Brooklyn Brewery and more from 2-5pm. The Well is a curated bar, public house and performance space, currently only open for limited events, so you won’t want to miss this chance to check the space out or to knock back the rare and exotic beers they’ll be featuring. Next week we’ll be highlighting brews poured at the festival, but in the meantime, hope to see you there!
Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ gets 4/5 stars – 1 for great hop usage maximizing fruit flavors, 1 for subtle wheat flavors perfect for summer, 1 for unique style, and 1 for brewery excellence.
Northeast Kingdom is located at 18 Wyckoff Ave, and is open for dinner from 6pm-11pm on Sun – Wed and from 6pm-11:30pm Thurs – Sat, and serve a late night menu Fri and Sat from 11:30pm-1am if you’re jonesing for midnight munchies. They are open for lunch from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm Mon-Fri and for brunch on Sat and Sun from 11am – 3pm. A pint of Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ is $6.
New York City Brewers Guild Block Party will happen on Saturday, August 25 from 2pm – 5pm at The Well located at 272 Meserole Street in Bushwick. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here. UPDATE: The party was cancelled 🙁
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks.