Hopside Down is an interesting India Pale Lager (really an American Pale Lager) that also doubles as a spring seasonal for Widmer Brothers. This was sampled in 2013, and was released as part of their Rotator IPA Series (or at least “IPA” inspired, like this one is). Weighing in at a healthy 6.7% ABV, this is definitely one of the hoppier and stronger lagers that you’ll ever find.
Crisp and refreshing, lacking the malty beefy body that you would expect from a traditional IPA. Nice peppery hoppiness makes this a superb lager that I would be happy to drink throughout the summer, especially as it has plenty of drinkability and the hoppiness & bitterness are just as strong as a traditional IPA’s. The flavor is mellower and somewhat muted. That’s a tradeoff, but in the hot sun, it’s the better end of the bargain.
Nice grapefruity/citrus flavor profile, even if it’s a bit ethereal at times. Solid beer, but nothing exceptional.
Great Lakes Brewing Co introduced Rye of the Tiger as a pub exclusive beer quite a few years ago, but only began bottling it recently. A Rye IPA is rare enough, much less a world-class one. Rye of the Tiger combines the spicy bite of the rye with the citrusy bouquet of the hops. Finishes dry with a nice bittering kick. Has a mainly grapefruit flavor and is highly drinkable despite its 7.5% ABV. Moderately carbonated and has a nice light to medium body. Definitely one of my favorite spring beers by far (it’s been released in the spring in both 2014 and 2015).
There really isn’t much to say about KBS that hasn’t been mentioned before. I’m not even really a fan of stouts, much less American Double Stouts. And yet, the feeding frenzy that goes on every spring when KBS is released is justified. It’s brewed with some coffee and vanilla beans, then aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. Pitch black (completely opaque), and showing a bit of chocolate flavor as well, it looks the style and walks the style as well. It’s bitter and hopped enough to not be cloying. And yet, I don’t feel the need to personally sample it more than once. Great beer, just not my preference.
Nugget Nectar from Tröegs Brewing Company is labeled as “Imperial Amber”, but that’s really more like “American Amber” and some people might classify it as an IPA (or red IPA). It weighs in at 7.50% and is hopped with a variety of hops, then further hopped with Nugget hops (obviously, therefore the name). It’s basically a hopped up / stronger Hopback Ale and is a spring seasonal release. It usually gets released near the start of the year (January-March) rather than when you’d think a traditional spring beer would be released. A nice way to start warming up along with the weather. Doesn’t age very well, so drink it fresh. One of my favorites, but I don’t mind skipping it some years.