Feb 19, 2014

Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA

Upheaval IPA, Widmer Brothers latest year-round offering, has been billed by the brewery as “a new dawn for the northwest IPA.” Well, I’m not sure if I’m 100% sold on that statement, but I can say for certain that this 7% ABV brew is pretty darn tasty. To say that Upheaval IPA is a hoppy beer would be putting it mildly. The brewery threw more than two pounds of hops (a combination of Alchemy, Chinook, Simcoe, Brewer’s Gold, Willamette and Nelson Sauvin varieties) at every barrel, giving it a pungent aroma and solid hop flavors.

The thing I really like about this beer, however, isn’t necessarily the assertive hop profile. With wheat accounting for 40% of the malt bill, the beer not only teeters on the white IPA precipice, but it also brings a softness and smooth drinking character to a beer that measures in at a biting 85 IBU. The end result is a beer that carries a ton of hop character without overwhelming the senses.


A frothy crown of off-white foam rests assuredly atop the slightly hazy, golden amber brew.

Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA photo


A smoothy, yet pungent hop character rises smoothly off the surface with hints of pine resin, grass and citrus. The aroma isn’t overly aggressive, but certainly commands your attention.


The wheat in the mix isn’t enough to overtake the flavor of this brew, but it is enough to soften the mouthfeel a good bit, allowing for the higher level of hop bitterness to do it’s thing without wrecking your palate. Grapefruit, pine, grass and a variety of earthy citrus notes flow smoothly over the tongue to a lingering and ever-so-slightly warming finish. From start to finish this is a well balanced and deceptively easy drinking beer.


The nose on this beer is excellent, drawing you closer to inhale more of its pungent hop aroma. The flavors of Upheaval IPA just about follow the nose to a tee, but it’s the addition of the wheat that really makes this beer something unique — and coming from someone that’s not a big fan of overly wheaty beers, that’s saying something. By just softening the palate the right amount Widmer Brothers have tempered a beer that would otherwise be too biting for most folks — a combination that allow sthe layered hop character to truly shine through.

Rating: 4/5

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

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