Review: The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist says:

We love hops – that’s why our flagship Double IPA, Heady Topper, is packed full of them. Heady Topper was designed to showcase the complex flavors and aromas these flowers produce. The Alchemist has been brewing Heady Topper since 2003. This Double IPA is not intended to be the strongest or most bitter DIPA. It is brewed to give you wave after wave of hop flavor without any astringent bitterness. We brew Heady Topper with a proprietary blend of six hops – each imparting its own unique flavor and aroma. Take a big sip of Heady and see what hop flavors you can pick out. Orange? Tropical Fruit? Pink Grapefruit? Pine? Spice? There is just enough malt to give this beer some backbone, but not enough to take the hops away from the center stage.


The Alchemist Heady Topper
Double IPA, 8% ABV

Did the internet need another review of perhaps the most famous, infamous, lusted-after DIPA on earth? Judging by the near-70,000 responses that result when you search for “Heady Topper review” the answer is a resounding “no.”

But since we got our hands on one and drank it and took notes on it, screw it: here’s one more. Continue reading

Review: Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA

Widmer Brothers says:

Brewed with 6 different hop varieties and 3 different grains, including wheat, Upheaval will be a fitting tribute, not only to the bold Northwest-style IPA, but to Kurt and Rob Widmer’s unapologetic attitude in legacy of innovation.


That’s not dust on the bottle, it’s hop remnants — no joke.

Widmer Brothers Upheaval
American IPA, 7% ABV

*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.

On occasion, breweries will send us beer to review. Most of the time that beer arrives in a box, shipped from afar, or dropped off by a distributor. Although there was that one time I got a backpack full of stuff — and two beers. Typically in said box is a beer or two or three and some promotional material; a press release or a flyer or a sticker or two or three. Widmer Brothers did something different for this release: they blanketed the beer and accompanying glassware in hop leaves.

Continue reading

You Say Une Année, I say Une Année

If you’re thinking I wrote the brewery name in the headline twice for SEO purposes, you’re only 25-percent correct. I was really going for a play on the Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald duet “Let’s The Call the Whole Thing Off,” which features the line, “You like Tomat0, I like Tomahto.

The whole point being that prior to a few months ago I had no idea how to pronounce the name of Jerry Nelson’s Belgian beer-inspired brewery. For a while I was saying Ooh-nee Annie, which then became Oohn Ah-nee before I finally settled on the correct pronunciation (with Karl’s help); Oohn, Ah-nay.

We were forwarded a few bottles of Jerry’s creations, compliments of the brewery and its distributor Wirtz Beverage, and can confidently report that — while the name may get a little lost in translation the quality of the beer certainly does not.

Continue reading

Review: Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Wynkoop says:

A meaty foreign-style stout, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is made with Colorado base malts, roasted barley, seven specialty malts, Styrian Goldings hops, and 25 pounds of freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is an assertive, viscous stout with a rich brown/black color, a luscious mouthfeel and deep flavors of chocolate, espresso and nuts. The beer sports a savory, umami-like note and a roasty dry finish. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is 7.5% ABV and 3 BPBs. (That’s balls per barrel.)

2014-01-07 18.32.19

Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Stout, 7.5%ABV

This review is long overdue, to which I have to apologize to my brother, Pete.

One of the benefits of having family that travels and lives in far-flung places is that sometimes they come home with new and interesting beers. It’s how I’ve learned to fall in love with the beers from Odell’s, and also that not all beers that hail from the Mile High state are worth falling all over yourself to get.

Also, sometimes, they’ll come home during Thanksgiving and slam down a 2-pack on the table and say with no lack of threatening tone in their voice, “Go ahead and try that.”

Thanks, Pete. Continue reading

Review: Kona Pipeline Porter

Kona says:

Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.

Kona Pipeline Porter
Porter, 5.4% ABV

IMG_1221*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.

If you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of porters around here: dry, robust, sweet, coffee-infused — we like ‘em all. Kona Pipeline Porter definitely leans heavy on the coffee, so if you’re into that sort of thing then you’re in for a treat.

Continue reading

Review: Widmer Brothers Hopside Down India Style Pale Lager

Widmer Brothers says:

We’re turning things deliciously upside down with this aggressively hopped, cold-fermented brew that brings together the clean, crisp finish of a lager with the hoppy aroma and character of an IPA. Hopside Down is our take on an India Pale Lager — or IPL. This second release in our Rotator IPA Series in 2013 offers a big floral hop aroma and a refreshing dry, mildly bitter finish perfect for the warmer summer months. Prost! to turning convention on its head.

Widmer Brothers Hopside Down India Style Pale Lager
American Pale Lager, 6.7% ABV

*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.

Did you know the India Pale Lager is a thing now? Draft Magazine published a top ten for the style recently, which was news to me because I couldn’t come close to naming 10 different IPL’s. In fact, I can only name two: Metropolitan’s one-off IPL from a couple of years ago and this beer. Despite my lack of institutional knowledge on the IPL craze, they’re out there in the wild — ready to be consumed. Is this one worth your time?

Continue reading

Random Autumn Beer Snapshots

Now that the yoke of Fall Beer Freedom Day has been lifted from my shoulders and the date is receding into the distance, I find myself doing exactly what I suggested everyone else do (which should come as some solace, in that I can take the advice that I dish out). I’ve been going a little nuts on all different kinds of seasonal beers, Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers in specific.

Rather than dive headfirst into three paragraphs each in some vain attempt to bolster our hit count, I thought I’d dump a few hundred words about all of them so perhaps, you may enjoy the things we have and avoid the stuff that we didn’t.

Here we go: Continue reading

As FBFD Approaches: What Have We Been Drinking This Summer?

With just days to go until fall beers are officially free to drink (and have we told you about Fall Beer Freedom Day lately?) we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the beers we’ve been enjoying but haven’t quite gotten around to writing about very much. Here, in rapid-fire snapshot format, a quick look at the beers that have filled our coolers, fridges, trunks and folding-chair-cupholders for the last few months. Continue reading