Most beers fall into a certain category. Whether it's an IPA, lager, stout, etc., usually you can taste a beer and immediately classify it in some way. Then there are some that you try and wonder, "What the heck was that?" Lagunitas' Wilco Tango Foxtrot is one of those beers.
First of all, what a great name. I don't know where they got it from, but I dig it. My friend Ryan picked this beer up for me for graduation and I'm pretty glad he did. On the label, it lists the beer as being "not quite a red, not quite a brown." Interesting. When the brewery that makes a beer can't classify it, it's definitely intriguing. When I poured and smelled the beer, I knew what they meant.
Wilco Tango Foxtrot looks exactly like Lagunitas advertises it- not quite red and not quite brown. It's a deep reddish brown hue with a nice fluffy and "rocky" (two in a week now!) head. The head stuck around for a while, which was a nice surprise and gave the beer a nice appearance in the glass. While this beer may look like a cross between a red and a brown, it smells like neither. The smell actually reminded me a lot of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with bright hop notes being the majority of the smell. The body of the beer was a little thin, but the taste was pretty full. I definitely tasted some roasted malt and a little caramel sweetness before a hard piney hop finish. With a finish as bitter as the one Wilco Tango Foxtrot presents, it's hard to see it as being classified as either a brown ale or a red. To me, it really tasted more like a strong pale ale or possibly even an IPA. Strange, but I have a feeling that that's what Lagunitas was going for. I like beers that aren't easy to figure out and this one is anything but that. I don't know if I like this better than Lagunitas' Maximus IPA, but this is still a pretty good beer from them.
Final Grade: B+