Deadlift Imperial IPA, Widmer Brothers

It is no surprise that I'm a sucker for big, hoppy beers.  Actually, after exploring what are possibly hundreds of different styles, style variations, and free-form brews, I don't really discriminate.  But one style I return to over and over is the elusive Imperial IPA.  I know, elusive?  In a city somewhat defined by hops, these beers pop up often, but are they often done right?

Obviously, you're going to want all aspects of hops: aroma, flavor, and bittering.  You're also going to want a sturdy malt backbone to sustain a high ABV, a medium body, and enough sweetness to balance out all those hops that were thrown in early in the boil.  Those are the big building blocks behind an Imperial IPA.  Getting those right is a difficult job.  It's easy to end up with a beer that's way too bitter, or a beer whose malts aren't up to the job of creating the right mouthfeel, or even a beer that's too sharp with the taste of alcohol.  These have been the outcomes of my own homebrewed Imprial IPAs as well as some failed experiments at breweries around town.

Standing in line at Fred Meyer yesterday, I realized that one of my "heavily researched" beers has been Widmer's Deadlift Imperial IPA.  There I was again, another 4-Pack in hand.  From their site: "Deadlift Imperial IPA is unlike any Imperial IPA you've ever lifted from the beer aisle. It has the strong hop flavor you'd expect from an Imperial IPA, but no heaviness that could weigh down your desire to take another sip. The unique flavor stems in part from the Nelson Sauvin hops imported from New Zealand. These hops have an intense citrus, berry like aroma and flavor not found in any other variety. Deadlift's simple but fully braced malt backbone muscles up enough malty sweetness and caramel character to spot the incredibly robust hop aroma and flavor. The result will surely be a welcome workout for your taste buds."  Other hops include: Alchemy, Cascade, and Willamette.  The beer weighs in at a hefty 8.6% ABV and 70 IBUs.  All of these pieces add up to create a great year-round addition to Widmer's lineup.

Other favorite PDX Imperial IPAs include: Lompoc Brewing C-Note (Year Round), and Hopworks' Evelyn's Sunshine (Seasonal), and Laurelwood's Organic Green Mammoth (Seasonal).  This list is bound to expand though, keep reading.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, if you want to try some different takes on Imperial IPAs, you don't want to miss Sareveza and Brewpublic's Imperial IPA Fest at Saraveza.  It starts today!

DRAFT LIST:

WEDNESDAY, 14th: Oregon (& More!) Night #1

  • Organic Green Mammoth: Laurelwood, PDX (2010 debut)
  • Leafer Madness: Beer Valley, Ontario, OR
  • Black Madness: Beer Valley, Ontario, OR
  • Glen's Hop Vice: Oakshire, Eugene, OR
  • Mega Monster: Gilgamesh, Turner, OR (debut)

Wednesday's Bullpen:

  • Hercules: Great Divide, Denver, CO

Tapped @ 5pm on THURSDAY, 15th: Washington (& More!) Night

  • Pike Double IPA: Pike, Seattle, WA
  • Extra: Lazy Boy, Everett, WA
  • Hop Wallop: Victory, Downingtown, PA
  • Unearthly: Southern Tier, Lakewood, NY
  • Hop Stoopid: Lagunitas, Petaluma, CA

Thursday's Bullpen:

  • Oaked Unearthly: Southern Tier, Lakewood, NY
  • Racer X: Bear Republic, Healdsburg, CA

Tapped @ 5pm on FRIDAY, 16th: H.U.B. (& More!) Night

  • Evelyn Sunshine: Hopworks Urban Brewery (H.U.B.), PDX
  • Ace of Spades: H.U.B., PDX
  • Galactic: H.U.B., PDX
  • Maharaja: Avery, Boulder, CO
  • Imperial Wheat: Cascade, PDX

Friday's Bullpen:

  • Mendocino IIPA: Mendocino, Ukiah, CA
  • Blue Frog DIPA: Blue Frog, Fairfield, CA
  • 90 Minute: Dogfish Head, Gaithersburg, MD

Tapped @ 5pm on SATURDAY, 17th: Oregon (& More!) Night #2

  • Frankenlou's: 7 Brides, Silverton, OR
  • Deadlift: Widmer, PDX
  • Tricerahops: Ninkasi, Eugene, OR
  • Yellow Wolf: Alameda, PDX
  • Super-Duper Dog: Lucky Lab, PDX
  • Pliny the Elder: Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA

Saturday's Bullpen:

  • Hoppe: Southern Tier, Lakewood, NY
  • Double Daddy: Speakeasy, San Francisco, CA

Tapped @ 5pm on SUNDAY, 18th: the Gorge (& More!) Night

  • Molten Lava: Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
  • Big Phat Homo: Walking Man, Stevenson, WA
  • Big Brother: Everybody's, White Salmon, WA (debut)
  • I Beat yoU: Mikkeller, København, DEN
  • Lenny's R.I.P.A.: He'Brew, New York, NY

Sunday's Bullpen:

  • Gordon: Oskar Blues, Lyons, CO
  • Steelhead DIPA: Mad River, Blue Lake, CA