Lagunitas Equinox

Equinox 8% ABVLagunitas Equinox
Imperial Pale Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

“Qan you imagine a world without Beer?  Everything ewe gnoe would be different.  Phish might phly, daugs might uze power touls.  Pfriedae nights mite be spent building treez out of the day after tomorrow’s pstale sour qreem and cheaze leavings.  And then their’d bea the speling iszuues.  Thingss wood bee just plane wierd, eye meene weird.  Come two thinq of itt, Eye think aya cood stand beain a liddl bit hapier write gnau… (glug, glug, glug… gulp.) Mmm, aah!  Once again all is right with the world, the fish are in their ocean, the dog will not maim me, I’ll have a date for Friday night, and I know for sure that in fact God loves me.  Beer.  You only borrow it.  Kawl us!  707.769.4495.  Cheers!”  -Equinox label

First things first, this beer has a unique and delightful aroma, including notes of green pepper, papaya, and lime among others.1  The flavor is almost as interesting as the nose of the beer.  It is crisp, then malty.  The oat comes through in the finish, with a slight creaminess.  The beer takes on different characters as you work through the contents.  The bitter character turns into a subtle sweetness.  It’s a really enjoyable beer, at a great price.  I plan on picking up another bomber bottle or two soon.

Now onto the rabbit hole that I fell into while researching this beer.  I’ll start with the name itself and then move onto the hop varietal possessing the same moniker.

What they hell is the Equinox exactly?  I’m not as learned as those of you who already knew the answer.  I had to look it up on Wikipedia to find out.  What I read is that there is a popular usage for the term and a more scientific explanation that is basically the same, but more exact.  The popular usage of Equinox is the two days out of the year that have equal duration of daytime and nighttime.  The problem is this isn’t technically true unless you are located at the equator.  The reason being is that due to the curvature of the earth and sunlight being refracted, observers in non equatorial spots will see daylight “before the first glimpse of the Sun’s disk above the horizon.”  Still with me?  You are doing a better job than I.  It took me multiple readings to fully grasp all this.  I should have paid more attention in science class.

Anyhow,  the most efficient technically accurate definition of the Equinox is as follows: “During an equinox, the Earth’s North and South Poles are not tilted toward or away from the Sun, and the duration of daylight is theoretically the same at all points on the Earth’s surface.”  Now that I can understand.  Thank you Wikipedia.

Onto the Equinox Hops.  So this quote is also on the label of the Lagunitas Equinox, “First Brewed in 1995… Brewed Today In a Time of Change.”  The second part of that quote I get.  It’s an homage to the Bob Dylan song which was as apropos in 1964 as it is now and will always be, for “The Times They Are A Changin’.”

What about the first part though?  I became thoroughly confused, because when I researched the Equinox hop I found that it is a very new hop strain.  According to Sierra Nevada, the first commercial beer to use the Equinox hop strain was produced in 2012.   How was the Lagunitas Equinox brewed in 1995 when the Equinox hop wasn’t even in existence yet?

Well it does say right on the label “Kawl us!”, so that’s what I did.  A very friendly gentleman answered the phone (Everyone I have talked to at Lagunitas has been incredibly friendly and informative.  You should give them a call next time you are drinking a beer of theirs.  It’s fun!).  I submitted my quandry to him and he immediately set my mind at ease.  The beer was originally brewed back in 1995 using the same general recipe, it was a Pale Oat Ale.  When one of their hop growers came to them with the new Equinox hop, they decided to switch up the recipe to include this exciting new hop.  So today’s Lagunitas Equinox is now “hopped up with a huge charge of Equinox” hops.  The beer recipes are a changin’ right along with the times and the discovery of new hop strains.

P.S. I did want to mention that this beer also uses Simcoe hops, which the SweetWater IPA uses.  I didn’t like the SweetWater IPA and I really like this beer.  So in my continuing investigation on which hops I dislike, I’ve narrowed it down to Chinook,Columbus or the mixture of the 5 hops used in the SweetWater IPA.  Again if anyone can help me on my quest, please leave a comment.  Otherwise I will continue to take notes on different hops and see if I can figure out my particular palate preferences.

  1.  I picked up on some of these but had to do research to figure out the others. 

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