Beer of the Week: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale

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Jeff Stratton
WTF, over?

This strongish, limited-edition ale has nothing to do with the band Wilco, its leader Jeff Tweedy, nor its 2002 magnum opus Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. We repeat: No connection whatsoever. 

Nor does the term refer to the International Radio Operator's Phonetic Alphabet (A=Alpha, B=Bravo... W=Whiskey), because then it would read Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and then some ATF douche would get all crack-downy on the Petaluma-based brewery, because -- guess what? --  it's against the law of the land and All Things Holy to put the name of a hard liquor on a beer bottle.

If they did, we might make a mistake and think they're all of a sudden packaging bourbon in a bomber.


The beer's subtitle ("a malty, robust jobless recovery ale") and a non sequitur paragraph on the label make no reference to Wilco either.

Confusion aside, if you've got a hankering for a strong (7.83 percent) malty yet hoppy ale with a ruby/garnet hue maybe two shades below a Newcastle, then you could do a lot worse than one of these WTF ales. Which, come to think of it, probably does get picked up because some buyers think they'll get to hear an exclusive remix of "Ashes of American Flags" (you will not). But it's as warm and nutty as a good standup comedian, and it might be better as a November nightcap then as a summer refresher. It's kind of thick, though not very sweet. 

As far as pairing this with some tasty comestibles, you could match it with smoked fish dip or a main dish you've spiced up with curry or cayenne powder -- the malt will stanch the heat, and the bite from the hops (possibly Cascade, though they came on stronger) will distract you. Conversely, this is the kind of strong ale that could fill in for a full-bodied wine and provide a fine accompaniment to a slice of chocolately goodness.

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