Review: Widmer Upheaval IPA

Review of Widmer Upheaval IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, OR

Beer Type: India Pale Ale (IPA)  ABV: 7.0%  IBUs: 85  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “Upheaval IPA is the result of our brewers’ relentless pursuit of the perfect IPA. With more than 2 pounds of hops per barrel, Upheaval IPA unleashes a huge hop flavor and aroma with serious bitterness and balanced finish. Brewed with wheat, the result is a hazy bold IPA that’s unfiltered. Unexpected. Unapologetic. Uncompromised.”

The Reality: It has a hoppy piney scent and the hazy color they mention. It has a pronounced bitter hop flavor at first, that gives way to a mild sweetness that hints of fruit, but not a specific one. It does have the balanced finish they describe. I would classify the level of bitterness as medium, as is the body, probably from being unfiltered. The hops return in the aftertaste along with pine notes, but neither lingers too long.

Final Verdict: I think it’s a stretch to say this beer has “huge hop flavor” or “serious bitterness”, at least by today’s IPA standards, but I think that’s a good thing in this case. After all, when did “serious bitterness” become a selling point?  Is it “the perfect IPA”? No. Is it “unexpected”? Not really. Is it “unapologetic”? Who’s asking for an apology? (All they did was make a decent beer). Is it “uncompromised”? I don’t know, did it vote for George W. Bush or John Kerry back in 2004, because if it voted for either it compromised somewhere along the way.

bush kerry