I’ll admit it. I bought this beer because I was amused by the label, and with a name like The Hairy Eyeball, I couldn’t possibly pass it up, especially since I’ve been given “the hairy eyeball” on numerous occasions throughout my life. This beer is a seasonal offering from Lagunitas Brewing company which is released right around the New Year. Beer Advocate classifies this as an American Strong Ale. Sounds a bit vague to me. Here’s what the witty brewers at Lagunitas have to say about this beer:
“Our New Year’s release for the seasoned beer folks … Big, brown warmer with several varieties of crystal malt. No actual eyeballs were added during the brewing of this beer.”
The Hairy Eyeball pours a deep, dark brown with red highlights when held up to the light. A thin quarter inch head comes and goes rapidly, leaving minimal lacing on the glass. Wave your nose over the glass and you are hit with the aroma of rich roasted malt (I also detected some coffee and biscuit aromas). You can definitely taste the alcohol in this beer (to be expected given its 9% ABV), but it’s very pleasant and never overpowering. Roasted malts dominate the palate from beginning to end, and lead you to a soothing bitter finish that lingers for a long time.
In case you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed this beer. Based upon the brewer’s description, I am probably a bit late to try this one out. I should have it during the colder months, since the last thing I need during the “Dog Days of Summer” is to be any warmer. I will definitely keep an eye out for the Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball Ale this January so that I can warm up with this delicious beer during the cold, dark days of winter.