Widmer‘s latest entry in their Rotator IPA series isn’t an IPA at all, in the strictest sense—instead, they are calling it an “India Pale Lager” which of course is counter-intuitive. Hence the name, Hopside Down, and you might remember that they sent me two bottles.
Here is their description:
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.
They’ve definitely turned it on its head as described, because at first blush the “Lager” part of the name doesn’t bring to mind fruity, floral, big hop bouquets in the IPA style, even if you put “India” in the name. Once you take a sip, though, you’ll definitely be thinking IPA.
It pours very clear and bright copper colored (very “shiny new penny”) with a lovely lacy and creamy head. It has a terrifically juicy nose, with a nice citrus and tropical fruit kick and brightly floral hops. A touch of New Zealand hop character I think, and maybe a tiny bit catty.
It’s got a zesty bitterness and it’s very, very clean in body and maltiness; it’s crisp and it occurs to me that this is a very good hot weather beer, the hoppiness is juicy and refreshing and it pairs well with the clean lagering so that even at 6.7% I could drink this on a sweltering day, easily. It’s really solid, with a nice, clean medium-bodied mouthfeel.
Bottom line, I want to keep sipping after each previous sip, which is a winner in my book. This is a tasty beer, go seek it out.