I love dogs. In fact, I probably love them more than humans at this point. That’s what led to me picking out Lucky Dog from Oakland United for today’s beer…mostly it was seeing the can (which features a dog that looks strikingly similar to my friend’s pupper). But either way, I wanted to try it.
Oakland United Beerworks was founded back in 2009 in Oakland, California. Originally called Linden Street Brewery, they became the first community-based production brewery in Oakland in nearly sixty years (the last was Golden West Brewery, which closed way back in the 1950s). In 2017, when they moved their operations from Linden Street to the Jack London District on the waterfront, the brewery rebranded as Oakland United Beerworks.
Lucky Dog, a hazy IPA , was the brewery’s first release of 2022 - being packaged on January 13th. Made with BRU-1, Cascade, and Cashmere hops (along with four types of malt), the beer has a solid 7.5% ABV.
This New England-style IPA was very murky and poured an orangish, copper color with just about two fingers of eggshell white head building up. The lacing on this brew was something else. As the foam slowly dissipated, thick layers of bubbles coated the entirety of the glass, leaving very little space unlaced.
A barrage of candied oranges led the charge on the smell. They gave off a sticky-sweet scent that was very reminiscent of sugar-coated candy pieces. Behind the orange were some flaked wheat and oat characteristics, which countered the hops with some big, bold notes of biscuits and bread. The beer also had some floral notes hidden underneath that gave this brew a rather soft and inviting aroma.
My first sip started with a hoppy assault of tropical fruits. There were some shockingly tart lemon notes that sat alongside stone fruit (peach & apricot), tangerine, and just a touch of grapefruit. That tart lemon initially hit me by surprise, however, the lemon was not nearly as sour for the rest of the beer and simply added a nice burst of citrus to the brew when it showed up.
Lucky Dog was quite creamy and smooth, with the apricot and tangerine flavors rising above the rest. However, on some occasional swigs there would be a sudden pop of acidic pineapple that overpowered the stone fruit and orange flavor before fading back into the abyss. It only happened a handful of times throughout the pint but, when it did appear, it was the star of the show.
The grist was great at backing up the hops without getting in the way of the flavor. That flaked wheat/oat that could easily be picked out in the smell was almost nowhere to be found in the taste…it was simply a supporting character that allowed the hop flavors to shine, while eliminating most of the unwanted bitterness.
On the backend, the beer finished mostly clean. There were some pithy notes of tangerine and grapefruit that sat on the back of the tongue as well as a bready malt characteristic that lingered on after everything else.
All in all, it was a solid hazy IPA. The hops offered up a bunch of different flavor profiles while the malts backed everything up without getting in the way too much. It won’t blow you away but it’s definitely worth a try. Plus, the can art is pretty damn cool.