Last week, I attended a preview for Oatmeal Porter, Widmer Brothers’ latest Series 924 release. Oatmeal Porter was added to the 924 lineup as a rotating release available through May, when it will be replaced by Marionberry Hibiscus Gose. Nelson Imperial IPA and Pitch Black IPA remain in the 924 lineup.
Widmer has positioned Series 924 as high-end, but approachable beers. 924 brews are sold in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, but are priced similarly to Widmer’s year-round and seasonal 6-packs. So from a marketing perspective, Widmer must offer something unique to charge a premium for this series.
Nelson Imperial IPA (previously known as Deadlift) is an 8.6% ABV brew made with Nelson Sauvin hops imported from New Zealand. Known for its tropical fruit flavors, Nelson Sauvin is expensive—hence the price premium. Pitch Black IPA was one of the first year-round Black IPAs on the market when it was first launched. Since then, the Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale has grown in popularity and many breweries now produce a year-round offering of the style. While Widmer’s Pitch Black IPA is a great beer, the market will ultimately determine if its price premium is still justified. But I digress…
Oatmeal Porter was added to provide balance to 924’s current hoppy offerings. Its uniqueness comes from custom-toasted oats (henceforth known as “Bro-Oats”). Oats are typically added to stouts to add texture and body. This is the first time I’ve seen oats used in a porter. It’s a nice beer and I’ll write up a full profile after I’ve had a chance to sample a bottle at home.
I’m a big fan of Widmer’s Rotator IPA series and am glad to see them adding a rotating element into Series 924. Just recently, Elysian launched their own rotating Manic IPA line. I expect we’ll see more breweries following Widmer’s lead. Have you tried any of Widmer’s Series 924 beers?