Well folks, here it is, the latest beer from Atlanta, Georgia’s Sweetwater brewery: Sweetwater Whiplash White IPA. This is a new winter seasonal for Sweetwater (fear not, it’s complementing, not replacing the delightful Festive Ale). As stated in the name, this is a white IPA, a recent newcomer to the world of beer styles that combines the hoppiness of an IPA with the light spiciness of a Belgian Wit.
Sweetwater describes this on the label:
What happens when a 500 year old Belgian style ale gets rear-ended by a truckload of pompous American hops? It equals one heck of an ambulance chaser of a beer.
Hold on tight!
Fair enough, but on their website they add the following:
This is an American style Beligian (sic) IPA…
But it’s not folks, not really. Belgian IPAs are a different style all together. Whiplash is, as the label suggests, a White IPA. It does not seem to be spiced like a Belgian Wit, but it does feature plenty of wheat malt to lighten the palate and add a refreshing character. The best example of this style that I have ever had was Saranac White IPA, on tap at Taco Mac. That beer was exceptional, with excellent balance between traditional Wit spicing, hops, and light wheat and barley malt.
Ingredients from the website:
Grains: 2-Row, Wheat, Flaked Oats
Hops: Bravo, Ahtanum, Centennial, Cascade
Dry Hop: Ahtanum, Centennial, Simcoe
Yeast: Strong Belgian Ale
Sweetwater Whiplash White IPA has an alcohol content of 6.2% by volume and an IBU count of 55. My bottle has a best by date of 02/19/14. It will run you $8.99 a six-pack here in Atlanta.
Sweetwater Whiplash White IPA pours to a bright orange color with a thick rocky head formation and a vibrant nose of peppery, resiny hops. Taking a sip, the beer is delicate in body with gentle caramel and tart wheat followed by light fruitiness and bright spicy grapefruit notes. Citrusy, resiny hops come through too, and a solid bitterness lingers in the finish.
All in all an excellent, refreshing white IPA, bright spicy and delicious for a cold dark winter’s day. For the style, I think it suffers for the lack of coriander, though the grapefruit from the hops makes up for the lack of orange peel to a degree. I would certainly drink this one again and again.
Update October 30th 2014: And again! See, I told you I would drink this again. Tonight is the last Thursday in October, and I'm drinking a delicious mug of Sweetwater Whiplash IPA because, well, it's delicious, but also because this is one of the featured beers of the month. Hence, I get the free really cool Dank Tank glass you see on the right. Seems a little early for a winter seasonal, but the beer is spicy and hoppy and as tasty as described above. Also a very reasonable $5.25 for a mug.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.