Widmer Brothers Brewing Company | Upheaval IPA
Photo Courtesy of Mairwen Eslinger
If you look up “upheaval” in the dictionary, you’ll find the following:
A violent or sudden change or disruption to something.
Synonyms: disruption, disturbance, trouble, turbulence, disorder, confusion, turmoil, pandemonium, chaos, mayhem, cataclysm, debacle;
So, based on the above, one would think that an IPA that’s dubbed ‘Upheaval’ must be the most bitter, the most abrasive, the most hoppy, of them all.
This being said, the bit referring to a sudden change isn’t all for naught. Let me explain.
If you’re a beer drinker, you’ll likely fall into two distinct camps. First, there are those who fear hops. These people are reaching for anything other than IPAs, and Pale Ales, basically anything with an IBU count of 20 or lower. The bite is too fierce, the taste too severe. A sip is all they need to get their fix. But then there’s the second group – those who crave hops like candy. These folks feast off of those bitter hops, over the taste of poignant, sweet, citrusy, and sometimes dank aftertaste. There is nothing that finishes off the day (or even starts the day) like a good IPA.
If you can’t tell here, I fall into the latter of those two camps, so my expectation for the Widmer Brothers’ Upheaval was already high. I was prepared for an eruption of hops – an explosion of bitter flavors – and a kicking aftertaste.
Instead, I found a bit of a departure from the palate blasting, hop bombs that one would expect from a West Coast IPA. Though a familiar hoppy profile will hit you in the first moment of the Upheaval, the beer finishes crisp and mild. Its body is light, its color is a perfect caramel, and its agreeableness is unquestioned.
The best way I can describe the Upheaval is if a lager and a double IPA were to reproduce, securing the best of both varieties. If that were to happen, then BAM! – you have the Upheaval. Surprisingly, it works. Really well.
This leads me to the root of the Upheaval: the disturbance, the confusion.
This beer is an IPA for the first group of beer drinkers that I mentioned previously. This is not a typical IPA in the sense that it lingers 20 minutes later, that you’re overwhelmed by that dominant bitterness, or that you’re smacking your lips and tongue after each sip. The Upheaval’s beauty is that it is an IPA for the IPA haters. That second group can handle this brew. All of this being said, it is still a satisfactory drink for the second group of beer drinkers that I’ve described. More or less, Upheaval has managed to bridge the gap between the two types of hop drinkers in this world. Perhaps the disturbance, the chaos, the turbulence in Upheaval is that it has been able to bridge that gap.
No matter your take on the India Pale Ale, I would suggest that anyone give this brew a go. No matter what side of the line you fall on, there will be something about this beer that you will relish.