Review: Widmer Brothers Hopside Down India Style Pale Lager

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

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?

Before we get the skinny on this beer let’s break down the style. The idea is simple: brew a beer that has the clean, crisp finish of a lager with the hop presence of an IPA. And while some may think it’s gimmicky or perpetuates the over-abundance of hops in beer today — I think it’s genius. Who hasn’t sipped a lager and wanted just a little something more? Or perhaps there’s some who want their IPA’s to be a bit cleaner and less enamel scraping? If you fall into either camp then maybe an IPL would be right up your alley. And Widmer Brothers Hopside Down wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

The Hopside Down pours out bright, vibrant and golden with a nice bit of fluffy white head that settles atop the beer leaving a decent amount of silk lacing in its wake as it recedes. The nose gives off aromas of crisp apples, honey, black pepper and a sharp bit of floral hops.

On the palate the lager element is distinct and upfront with notes of basil, honey and orange peel. The IPA aspect brings up the rear with a pleasant amount of grassy hops that settle comfortably in the back of your throat — like sinking in to a bean bag chair — before finishing crisp and dry.

There was nothing surprising about this beer. It was 100-percent as advertised. And while not overwhelming, it drank very well and quite easily. Besides, I doubt overwhelming is what you want in the style that I didn’t know was really a style until now. Style-awareness aside, the Hopside Down blends the best of what a lager and an IPA have to offer.


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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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