Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - Hopside Down India Pale Lager

Hop it up, Hopside Down.
Is there any beer style that can't be made into an I-P-something? You got your Black IPA, your Session IPA (ISA), your Imperial IPA, White IPA. Just toss a ton of hops  into a brew and call it an IPA! Hey, I'm not complaining. I love hoppy beers. I just wonder where the marketing stops and the real craftsmanship starts sometimes.

Tonight, I cracked open a bottle of Widmer Brothers' Hopside Down India Pale Lager (IPL). Hopefully you know the difference between a lager and an ale. Ales are top fermenting, while lagers are bottom fermenting. Lagers take longer to ferment than ales and do their thing at a colder temperature. Almost all of the big mass produced beers (Bud, Miller, Coors, et al.) are lagers. But lagers don't have to be crap, and this brew helps bring that point home.

Hopside Down poured into my shaker pint a clear, bright, golden amber color. The bubbly white head came up to about a 1/2 tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A reasonable amount of lacing was left behind, forming a thin cap across the top.

Aroma was citrus hops, smelling much like a typical IPA: grapefruit and orange. Absent was the fruity aroma that is often prominent in most IPA's. There was an earthy malt smell in the background.

Taste follows the nose. Mildly bitter, citrus hops dominate the flavor. There was no fruity sweetness. Nice malt balance.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with lively carbonation. The finish was appreciably dry.

This is certainly a very drinkable beer. 6.7% ABV but there is no alcohol bite to the stuff. This would make a great summer yard work beer. I can imagine it cutting cleanly through the crud in the back of my throat after a hot afternoon of mowing and hacking through blackberry canes.

Good stuff and it really got the Wonder Beagle drooling. One tendril hanging off her muzzle had to be five inches long. Yuck. Hopside Down earns a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.


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