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.
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.