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A freaky name belies ale’s quality January 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Drinks & Beverages.

Perusing the shelves recently, I came across Freak Out, attracted by its label, a reproduction of Frank Zappa’s first album of the same name.

The label also has a humorous excerpt about beer from Zappa’s “The Real Frank Zappa Book” where he talks about the relationship between beer and industrialized nations. Zappa does not come across as a beer drinker in the excerpt, in fact, he was known as something of a teetotaler, firing band members for substance abuse at a time when that could be a ticket into other groups for many musicians.

The beer is an American-style India pale ale that distinguished itself with a crisp, clean golden body and nice hop flavor for the style, more citrusy than piney. It is bitter but not overpowering. As it warmed up, a nice grain aroma and the sweetness of the malt became more apparent. It’s not as malty and is more hoppy than the English style of India pale ale.

I recommend to any beer drinkers to try a beer like this with say, a Belhaven Twisted Thistle, and then wonder at how the two types can even share a common style name.

Ron Lindenbusch of Lagunitas says the brewery received permission from Zappa’s estate to produce Freak Out Ale and will continue to release 40th-anniversary beers, with “Absolutely Free” and “Lumpy Gravy” next on the schedule.

Personally, I hope they try different styles, although I shudder to think what kind of beer would personify “Lumpy Gravy.”

Many beers are available only regionally. Check the brewer’s Web site, which often contains information on product availability by mail. About Freak Out Ale > Lagunitas Brewing Company; Petaluma, Calif., www.lagunitas.com

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