Last week I received a six-pack of the latest offering in the Shock Top lineup: Shock Top Wheat IPA. The Shock Top line is one of the Anheuser-Busch “craft” beer arms, and the brand revolves around a Belgian Wit (or “White”) style of beer (in the same vein as Coors and their Blue Moon series); in addition to the main Shock Top Belgian White, they also produce a Raspberry Wheat and a Pumpkin Wheat—and now, a Wheat IPA.
What “Wheat IPA” actually means in this case is “Belgian IPA” as it marries a Belgian Wit style of beer with (usually) an American-style IPA hop and (usually) strength profile; it’s a style that’s not only been coming out of Belgium but is also being popularized here in the States by the likes of Stone Brewing’s Cali-Belgique, Deschutes Brewery’s Chainbreaker White IPA, Great Divide‘s Belgica, and others.
And it’s such an unlikely style for an A-B craft arm to brew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it.
Shock Top Wheat IPA is 5.8% abv, and no idea what the IBUs are.
Appearance: Orange color, honey-like, hazy from the (recommended) swirled pour. Fluffy, substantial head.
Smell: Has that nice summery Wit aroma of coriander and sweet orange peel, with a touch of estery fruitiness. Mellow.
Taste: Interesting blend of Wit and earthy English-style IPA; neither really dominates. The “Wit” aspect is dampened and tempered by a gentle earthy bitterness—not terribly hoppy but quite a bit moreso than most A-Bs. Finishes clean and a bit muted.
Mouthfeel: Between light and medium-bodied, with a bit of a sharp edge to it.
Overall: Decent, a bit different, I’ll give A-B props for doing one like this. I don’t know if it quite hits the mark but it’s drinkable and not harsh (which I think could happen to any example of this style).