Widmer Bros Hopside Down IPL

Widmer Brothers Hopside Down IPL
Widmer Brothers Hopside Down IPL


Another hop-op-along from the haunts of Portland in Oregonia, this time it’s an IPL, which is ridiculous but everyone thinks that if you use the letters I and P then it’ll sell better. But for a reality check, there is no such thing as an “India Pale Lager”. There’s not even such a thing as an India Anything in beer, besides India Pale Ale. The whole idea is that an ale which is top-fermented can be sealed in barrels in London, and packed onto a ship bound for India. On the way the malts and water and yeast turn it into beer. And it’s hopped so strongly because it’s crappy beer, with all that sloshing around for 4 months on the ocean.

You can’t brew a lager on a sailing ship. Just want to make sure you understand clearly that no lager, not even a highly hopped “pale” lager, has anything to do with India, whatsoever. And IPA for that matter, has strong hops to mask the crappy beer, not as a culinary delight for connoisseurs. It was intended to be cheap and barely drinkable for the British occupying forces in India, and soldiers, as we all know, will drink anything not clearly labeled “Poison”.

Today, the reverse is true. People are making pale ales with actually good beer malts, and not fermenting it in dark rat-infested cargo holds where the constant pitching and rolling ruins the beer. So there’s no need for all that hoppiness today. Now, it’s just tasty.

The name of this one, “Hopside Down” is just as absurd. It’s not an IPA brewed upside down, it’s just a lager brewed like a normal lager, with the fermentation happening at the bottom of the chamber. The only difference with this lager is they jammed a bunch of hops in there. It’s a hoppy lager, that’s all it is. Nothing “India” about this at all, other than in the feeble minds of marketing idiots.

Just so you know.

Now on to the beer. As it happens, i prefer lagers and i like IPA’s because of the strong hops, so this one is right up my pants leg. The goofy popularity of IPA’s has led many micros to make hoppy lagers, and although i roll my eyes at their stupidity when they try to call one an “IPL,” the fact is that this type of beer was made for me.

Plenty of fun info on the bottom of the carton, where you can only read it AFTER you’ve bought it, heheh. There’s a nice drawing of their brewery, and they note that it’s “under the Fremont Bridge” so we can only assume that the Widmer Brothers are trolls. Hey, i don’t care if they live under a bridge and eat nanny goats. I don’t have a goat. And i don’t judge lifestyles, only beers. Could be orcs for all i care, just keep the hopped-up lagers coming!

From the carton, this’s got Pale and Caramel malts, they used Cascade and Alchemy hop varieties, and there’s a number for “apparent extract” which i have no idea about. But, what i do know about is the IBU’s which are at a healthy 65, and the alk which is at a swarthy 6.7%. And there’s another number, “Color,” which is apparently measured in something called an “SRM” whatever that is, and this beer has eight of those.

It is pale for a lager, nicely golden-yellow, has a good smell to it, and the taste is not as crisp as a real IPA, but rounder and sweeter in the mouth, almost something you can bite into, which is what i like about lagers in general. Hops are pretty nice but seem lighter than that 65 IBU rating would suggest. That’s the inherent problem with hopping a lager way up high: there’s more solid beer body which just absorbs the bitterness. With an ale, the body is so slight that the hops are swimming around on their own, unfettered and free to attack.

So it’s a tougher balance when you try to hop up a lager. These Oregonians have pulled it off nicely. Mixing in pale malts leaves some hops on the loose and yet the mass of the beer is pleasingly hearty. Like i said, this kind of frankenbeer is just right for me, and i love this example muchly. It’s nearly buttery, so velvet smooth and richly flavored. I recommend this for human consumption. In moderation, naturally, with that 6.7% alk lurking inside.

At $9 for a sixer, this is one of them crafties which is worth the premium, and have no trouble awarding it an 8.5 rating. Just wish they’d stop calling it an IPL, grow a ball and make up your own brand name for this kind of beer, wouldja? Don’t be a pantysniffer trying to coat-tail the IPA brand. Your beer is better than that. You are better than that, Widmer Brotrolls.


Hiatus, mostly result of astonishment. It’s taken this long to figure out what happened in November 2016. The Electoral College is supposed to exist for one reason only: to put a very important decision in the hands of people who are more involved in the political process than your average snapstagram feeder.

The fear of the Founders and Framers was that direct executive election could open the door to a huckster concentrating on only a few of the 13 original States: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Thus the will of the majority of the States could be subverted. So they designed the Electoral College, to crutch on the fact that every state has 2 Senators, and thus at least 3 members of Congress, so 3 Electoral votes.

The theory behind this says that natural cultural variations between the Various States would lessen the chance that the whole republic could be duped by one faction at the same time. And the founders tried to reinforce this regional approach to the republic by giving tiny Delaware and Rhode Island equal representation. That was a good solution 230 years ago. But now the Electoral College has proved its worth, and technology has caught up to the goal of counting every citizen’s vote quickly, nationally rather than regionally. 230 years ago, things moved as fast as a horse.

The last gulp of the Reagan Republican Inversion from north to south finally took place in 2010, with a Tea Party midterm just as Census results came in. A Gerrymander here, reduce polling stations there, and now you have a Red Wall. But now it’s a Wall built on controlling local politics to manipulate voting patterns, not on the somewhat more natural political theories, like tailoring the local message to the local demographics.

The Red Wall couldn’t stand against African-American turnout in 2012, on a key-state level, but golldurned if it didn’t entrench a wider base in statehouses and state mansions. The Blue Wall had been built by Big Labor, but that’s inexorably hollowed out by the Rust Belt over the decades. So we’ve got this now. 20 months in, and it’s a verified circus.

The problem isn’t nutty conspiracy theories becoming public policy, it’s the ADHD in the middle. Buoyed by a decades-long procession of listeners, after some decades of frustration about never being taken seriously. The most-recent F2F with a person becomes the current truth, but it only lasts until another agreeable person drops by to talk. After a while, supplicants keen onto the fact that sensationalizing brings results. Root of all nepotism is paranoia, sometimes a difficult combination with Oh look, there’s a spider monkey riding a sheep, haw!

Look, if you want to make America a better place, volunteer time to projects that educate African-American women. That’s really the bottom line. Women hold the power in African-American families now, and the smarter they are, the better they can wield that power. But if your vision is broader, then the best thing you can do for the whole of humanity, is to work for educating women in Africa itself.

The whole complement of African-descended women has been ill-served by humankind as a whole, starting with stealing their men for a few centuries, on to colonial repression, then on through another century of laws designed to keep African families unstable whether in Africa or abroad.

Actually, there are already people doing that work, and more would like to, they just don’t have the money to put everyone to work who wants to work, for the education of women in Africa. If you got a job or a family or a caregiver situation that prevents you from going to Africa and helping to educate women, you can still give money to people who are doing that work.

In a broad sense, education of women in sub-Saharan Africa is the fulcrum upon which rests the future history of the 2000’s century. Yes, the military history is shaping up to be Asia versus Europe and the Americas, again, but that will be decided by the resources of Africa if it’s a cold war, or by the geography of Africa if it’s a hot war.

One thing to consider: if you fight a war for small reasons, then even if you win your war, your world is the same small place. The only way to make your own world larger is to line up behind a larger reason. Educating African women, whether diasporated or not, is the second-last step in lifting all of humanity up the next rung.