Feb 8, 2012

Shock Top Wheat IPA

Shock Top Wheat IPA photo

I knew going into accepting this sample of Shock Top Wheat IPA that the brand is owned by ABInBev. I’ve sampled several beers from the multi-national conglomerate that have been branded or sold as “craft beer.” I’m always willing to keep an open mind when reviewing these brews no matter how much I want to bash the product because of its owner/affiliation.

Never having really been a fan of the Shock Top beers in the past, this sample already had two knocks against it before I even pried the cap off. In the end, however, neither had an effect on how I viewed this beer. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The new Shock Top Wheat IPA is a rather unassuming beer that feels like it’s been built to be safe — to not offend anyone’s taste buds. And this is where the beer fails.

Brewed with wheat, citrus peel and coriander, along with Cascade hops, the beer had potential to step away from the other products in its brand portfolio. Instead, the addition of the hops does little more than add a touch of bitterness to a standard wheat beer. Sure, it’s drinkable and goes down smooth, but there’s nothing really all that exciting about it. The hops are subdued. The spices and peel are subdued. Hell, even the wheat is on the subtle side of things.


The photo above had some really awkward lighting so it looks more reddish than it really is. The beer poured a hazy, golden amber in color with a smallish, rocky head.


It’s got a really subtle nose with hints of wheat, a touch of grassy hops and a little citrus peel.


Wheat IPA has a subtle, benign flavor profile. There’s a good bit of wheat and lightly toasted malt up front. The hops don’t offer much except for a late touch of astringency toward the finish. There’s also a hint of coriander late in the dry finish, but I felt like I had to really focus on finding it. The soft carbonation and medium body did little to excite the palate.


I’m not knocking this beer. It is what it is — a middle of the road wheat beer that wanted to be exciting and adventurous, but in the end just couldn’t pull the trigger. The potential of a really hoppy version of a wheat beer was there. A more crisp and active mouthfeel could have also done this beer wonders. As it stands, I’m sure that fans of Shock Top beers will line up for this mildly hopped version as it fits right in line with the rest of the brand. I just wish that it had taken that one extra step.

Rating: 2.75/5

This is a review of a promotional sample received from the brewery.

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