Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wolaver's India Pale Ale

Beer: Wolaver's India Pale Ale
Brewed by: Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, Vermont
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 55
Bottle: 12 fl.oz.
Served in: Pint glass
Place of purchase: Wades Wines, Thousand Oaks, CA
Price: $1.50 / per bottle

In celebration of American Craft Beer Week, (May 17-23, 2010) we thought it would be nice to review a craft beer from a small brewery in Vermont. Wolaver's takes beer back to its basics, and by that we mean organic and unadulterated beer!

Not only do they use a minimum of 98% organic ingredients to make their beers, but they also have a laundry list of sustainable "green" practices: everything from feeding their spent grain to local livestock, to treating their wastewater themselves with an in-house management system! 'Don't know about you, but we were impressed!

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Wolaver's India Pale Ale


Medium golden color. Creamy head that dissipates quickly, however, leaves lacing on glass.
Amber and copper hues, slightly murky with a medium, frothy head -- no visible carbonation whatsoever.


Lots of sweet malt with a subtle hint of hops. There's a little bit of yeast in there, too. Sweet malt definitely dominates here. As the beer warms, there's a slightly funky smell that becomes noticeable. I can only imagine it's from the yeast.
Jugsy: Incredibly yeasty and rich smells hit the nose first. Something approaching "funk" but more distinctive. Aromas of apricots, licorice, dried cherries and vanilla beans combine for a striking fruitcake aroma. Slight scent of hops, but not as much as I would expect from an IPA.


Bitterness from piney hops hits the tongue first, followed by sweetness from malt. There is an unpleasant aftertaste, however. Almost chemical (ridiculous, of course, as this is organic!) I think it's from the yeast but it's hard to tell.
Jugsy: Initial taste is yeasty, like the aroma. Middle-notes include dried apricot and light citrus-orange(?) taste. Hops come through near the finish. Hint of piney hops appears and disappears, leaving a bitter finish.


Sting on tongue from the hops remains in the mouth for a little bit. Very watery finish.
Jugsy: Feels very creamy going down. The lack of carbonation makes for smooth and easy drinking. Bitter coating on tongue is only mild and dissipates quickly.


Mugsy: 6.5% ABV makes this easy to drink all night, but I wouldn't necessarily want to. The unpleasant aftertaste, smell and watery finish ruined it for me.
Jugsy: From a taste perspective, this brew is bold and flavorful -- maybe too much so for a typical session beer. And at 6.5% ABV, that might be for the best. All in all, a pleasant and drinkable beer.


The more subtle bitterness level reminds me more of a British style IPA as opposed to American style. That's fine with me, however, I just can't get past the aftertaste and smell. I really do believe that it's coming from the yeast. Maybe this bottle had seen too much light or become too warm in the store. I can't be sure, but I do know that this is not a very enjoyable beer for me. I wouldn't purchase it again. I've had other beers from Wolaver's that I don't remember being at all bad. This one surprised me.
Jugsy: While this isn't at all what I would expect from and IPA, it isn't a bad beer! The funk is kind of growing on me! However, since Mugsy just mentioned that he doesn't even want to finish this beer due to an awful aftertaste (words I seldom hear!) it occurs to me that the bold funk of this brew is not everyone's cup of... well, beer! Proceed with caution.

Mugsy: 2.9

Jugsy: 5.75

(Hey, they can't all be winners, right?)

Happy AMERICAN CRAFT BEER WEEK from Mugsy and Jugsy! Click HERE to sign the Declaration of Beer Independence!

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