How many times have you stuck your nose in a hoppy pint of beer, then backed off to take a gentle pull, swirled the liquid carefully around your mouth, swallowed and smacked your lips exclaiming “Grapefruit!.” Almost invariably, that citric grapefruit flavor came from the hops, perhaps Cascades, Centennials, Chinooks, or Columbus for example.
What if, though, some of that grapefruit character actually came from real grapefruit? Such is the premise of Widmer Rotator Series Shaddock IPA, a fine example of an IPA brewed with genuine grapefruit peels. Shaddock IPA is not always available, as the “Rotator” moniker implies, so if you see it my suggestion is to hop right on it. Pun intended.
More on the Rotator series. Literally, Widmer “rotates” IPAs in and out of production and availability to satisfy the fickle nature of today’s beer enthusiasts. My bottle of Shaddock IPA also lists O’Ryely IPA, Spiced IPA, and IPA#6 as members of the family; I enjoyed a Falconer IPA (perhaps the IPA#6?) on tap at Taco Mac that is also a rotator.
The bottle explains this is merely Widmer X-114 IPA brewed with the addition of grapefruit peels. The beer has an alcohol content of 6.2% by volume and is brewed with Cramel 30, carapils, and Two-Row Pale malts. Citra hops are used to add the grapefuity hop character.
Widmer Rotator Shaddock IPA pours to a bright orange amber color with a thick, rocky head formation and a caramel and pine nose. Taking a sip, the beer certainly has a firm chewy caramel body at the fore, but the hops quickly take over. Resiny at first but quickly becoming citric, and at the last the grapefruit (real grapefruit here) emerges. You definitely get the tart, acidic and bitter grapefruit peel flavor, along with the hop imparted grapefruit aroma too. The beer finishes quite bitter, lingering on the palate for a bit after you sip.
I am surprised I have not seen such a beer earlier. As much as I love grapefruit, this beer was a real winner, and I adored the grapefruit hop character and the way it worked with the grapefruit peel. A bargain, too, at $8.99 a six-pack, I certainly hope that Shaddock IPA gets rotated back in again in the future. Definitely a re-buy for me.
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.