Review: Alchemy Ale, Widmer Brothers

Alchemy Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. — Portland, OR

  • Style:  Pale Ale
  • Bitterness:  40 IBU
  • ABV:  5.8%
  • Malts:  Pale, Caramel, Munich, Vienna Extra Special
  • Hops:  Alchemy (proprietary blend)
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description: "We practice alchemy every day turning water, malt, hops and yeast into liquid gold. Alchemy Ale melds years of experimentation and our special Alchemy hop blend, in a pure expression of brewing art and science. Join us in unlocking the mystery to the perfectly balanced, perfectly hopped ale. Alchemy Ale has a bright, distinct hop character balanced with hints of caramel and a remarkably smooth finish." — Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Alchemy Ale is replacing Drifter as Widmer's year-round Pale Ale. Alchemy is not a hop variety, but a proprietary blend that varies slightly from year to year. This blend is used in many of Widmer's beers. I shared more details about Alchemy when it was announced a few weeks ago. Now it's time to give it a taste! 
The tasting:  Deep golden in color, clear, with an off-white head that dissipates slowly. Aroma of light grapefruit and plenty of ripe tropical mango and guava. In taste, it starts with a solid layer of caramel which provides a solid malt backbone. In the middle, grapefruit hop bitterness emerges. The spectacular tropical notes from the aroma don't factor into the taste. Hop bitterness is moderate. Alcohol isn't noticeable in aroma, but a touch is present in the middle. Alchemy Ale is light to medium bodied, has a creamy mouth feel, and finishes with bread and mild grapefruit hop bitterness.

Rating: 3 star. Good.  I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.  I wish I could compare Alchemy to Drifter. Unfortunately, I haven't tasted Drifter in a long time and I never profiled it on the blog. Either way, Alchemy Ale is a nice addition to the Widmer lineup. It's nicely balanced overall, yet showcases some unique tropical hop flavors. 

What are your thoughts on Alchemy Ale?  Are you sad to see the end of Drifter?

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