Hoppy Drink / Lagunitas NA / 0.0%
This IPA-inspired sparkling beverage is a fresh take on an old tradition... a zero-alcohol, zero-carbohydrate, and zero-calorie refresher made using everything we know about hops. It's a variation on a theme of 25 years of edgy brewing at the edge of brewing. Beer listens!
This product was intriguing to me from the start. It doesn’t try to be a beer or a non-alcoholic version of anything. It also doesn’t try to be a sparkling water or fruity carbonated beverage. They got the name spot-on, it’s simply a hoppy refresher that delights the palette on a hot day.
Is Lagunitas Hop Good?
The first thing you’ll notice in the store is the familiar Lagunitas Branding. The big bold font, the standard bottle (although clear), the dog on the cap, and the natural paper label. The side of the four-pack box makes it clear that this is a different kind of beverage, with zero alcohol, zero carbs, zero calories and zero gluten. So what is it exactly? It’s carbonated water, dried hops, nutritional brewer’s yeast and the typical “natural flavors” designation. The nutrition label is an easy one, with zeros all the way down save for some Vitamin D and Potassium. Dare I say that Lagunitas Hop is a healthy beverage?
While it sounds simple, Lagunitas makes a bold claim in saying that this refreshment is “made using everything we know about hops”. To be honest, the essence of the beverage is hops laid bare and for the palette to enjoy. You’d be excused for thinking the drink looks like slightly dirty water, taking on a clear but yellowed color in the bottle. But when you take the first sip, it simply tastes refreshing.
Right away, the aroma of this wine is remarkable in that it doesn’t give away that there is no alcohol present. It is rich and complex, with a variety of elements to sort through. I definitely get some spice and a hint of pepper, two of my favorite scents. There is a bit of fruit present, I believe it to be plum. Not much sweetness on the nose, so I expect this red to be delightfully dry. The only way to find out and answer the question, “Is St. Regis Cabernet Sauvignon good?” is by taking the first sip.
Lagunitas Hop Review
When I first discovered this beverage, it was unique enough that I wanted friends and family to give it a taste and I sought out their opinions. The number one response was “it’s not bad!”. And that is totally true. This is not a bad beverage by any means, but what I’ve realized while having this stocked alongside other beverages in my fridge is that it’s a drink without a clear mission. Does it fulfill the ritual of relaxing after work with a beer or a glass of wine… Not really. Is this something I like to drink before noon? Not really either, although that is what Lagunitas will tell you on their website about this hoppy refresher. I find it to be a unique and interesting product, but one that probably won’t be stocked for regular consumption.
With that being said, the tasting experience is unique. The nose is floral and bright. The first thing you notice when you take a drink is the carbonation dancing on your tongue and throughout your mouth. The next pleasure is the star of the show, the Citra hops, which fill the mouth with a sweet sensation and stick with you through to the finish. For being a beverage which touts “zeros”, this is not a zero on the flavor profile and it’s unlike anything else I have tried.
Lagunitas Hop Rating:
As described multiple times, Lagunitas Hop is an interesting and unique beverage. It will have a hard time fitting in with other drinks in your common store selection categories. I applaud Lagunitas for launching this and it does seem like they’ve been conscious not to make this an afterthought or byproduct of their hugely popular alcoholic offerings. On taste alone, I think this product is a must-try. We get so many of the same flavors repeatedly in our drinks across different brands, but this is truly different. I suspect the curious will grab a 4-pack and chill it immediately to figure out what it’s like. The downside is that I don’t think this will become a regular staple for many. It’s tough to categorize and therefore tough to see where it fits with all of the other great options we have to drink throughout our days.
With that being said, one thing I did not do, but am open to exploring in the future is using this as a mixer, especially for some of my favorite non-alcoholic spirits. That might better position this product and give it a more natural home in my fridge.
I give Lagunitas a 4 stars on my 1 to 5 star scale. Not a bad showing at all. If you are a Lagunitas fan, support them and their innovation. Even if you aren’t give Lagunitas Hop a chance to give your palette something new for a change.