Friday, March 8, 2013
Beer Tasting: Henry Weinhard's Woodland Pass IPA
Since 1862, Henry Weinhard's has been a beer staple in the American Northwest. Originally a craft-brewery, the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co is now owned by MillerCoors and has gone from local-favorite to a national-brand.
Founded in 1862, Henry Weinhard's has recently gone national. Originally brewed in Portland, OR, the brand was eventually owned by Stroh Brewing Company and later sold to Miller in 1999. The brewery was soon closed but the brand survived, brewed in Washington until 2003. SAB Miller (The Miller side of MillerCoors) contracted Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, OR, to brew the Henry Weinhard's brand, a contract ending this month. Originally a staple in the Northwest, in September 2012 the brand went national with Woodland Pass IPA, Private Reserve (an American Pale Lager), and Redwood Flats Amber Ale.
Woodland Pass IPA pours a light translucent, almost lager-like caramel color with a dense head. Take a deep smell and you'll find that this IPA has a bit of malty aroma and a strong hop presence that doesn't overpower. After tasting you may notice some caramel notes followed with the slightly strong hop flavor and lingering bitter aftertaste that American IPAs are known for, albeit a little toned down. Woodland Pass IPA has a light mouth-feel and seems a little light on flavor, almost like a highly-hopped lager.
According to MillerCoors, Woodland Pass IPA has been toned down a little (compared to pre-MillerCoors ownership) to appeal to a broader audience, and if you are used to drinking IPAs you will likely find that this one is indeed toned down a bit. West Coast IPAs typically have a very strong hop flavor and bitterness compared to IPAs found on the East Coast (which will sometimes take on more fruity or malt flavors), and this one tastes more like an East Coast- or British-style IPA that's had the IBUs (International Bittering Units) turned down while still retaining some of the actual flavor of the hops. IPAs generally measure 40-60 IBUs, Woodland Pass measures at 43.
While it may be a letdown to avid IPA fans, this is still a good beer which may be used to introduce beer drinkers to the style. At roughly $6.50 for a six-pack, this also makes a decent beer for drinking on the budget or sharing with friends. Also worth mentioning is that this beer weighs in at 6% abv, which means you can get a beer that has the same alcohol content as Budweiser Black Crown or Bud Light Platinum but at a lower price. And who knows, you may even prefer the taste.