Widmer Brothers Hopside Down IPL

Another beer that was a gift from the Northwest of the US. This one joins us from Portland, and I am nearly giddy after the last West Coast IPA that this IPL might be a rare 5/5 if they can get just that little bit better than the last one - which is a difficult enough beer to match, as time has told me. I can't say IPLs are my favorite style, but they certainly aren't my lest favorite, and even my least favorite have stand-outs that shine about other, more established styles.

The beer is a clear golden amber with a strangely thick and thin sticky, big-bubbled head. The reason I say thick and thin is that it's very patchy. It piles high at the beginning of the pour and runs away from part of the top while thickly covering the other parts. Lemons and light hops mingle with baked bread to form a tempting aroma that beckons to be imbibed. Far be it from me...

First sip is not the IPA I had expected it to taste like. Instead, it is malty with a splash of hops and added citrus. The carbonation burn really seems to take control while the malt just smacks down the hops, leaving little bitterness in its wake. I can't say it's bad, either. It's a bit tasteless and watery, but I'm sure I'm not getting the whole story - I want a proper swig.

Tip-in is carbonation burn with citrus and light piney hops lingering underneath like a heard of cows under a tree on a hot day. The middle continues the carbonation burn while giving way to a bit more hops but a heady stiff biscuit malt. The malt asserts itself with alacrity and puts to bed all doubts about this being a proper lager. the finish is the tricky part with something that is a hybrid of styles like this, and the finish for this one is... kind of flat. It tries a little too hard to hit with the hops and the malt at the same time, and they cancel each other out leaving kind of a mishmash in their wake.

Bottom Line: A smooth beer with enough character to call its own, but not enough taste to be truly great.



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