So I have been in the great North for a week and a half now and I’m pretty sure I’ve gone a few steps past native…I travel by boat whenever possible into town and frequently “forget” shoes. Tonight I had the simple pleasure of sitting out at the bonfire and watching the flames dance across the faces of my friends and family as we told stories about embarrassing moments, which those who I am close to know plenty of. We were discussing how it was supposed to be a blue moon…my friend who came up to visit had gotten a free pint glass from the liquor store from her purchase of Blue Moon…on a blue moon. As we watched the moon rise with anticipation we were not pleased when it was a beautiful, clear, white moon. “Well the craters look a little brighter…” one of my friends said, she is one to always look for the silver lining. Silver wouldn’t cut it for this group; the lining we wanted was blue. “Let’s just drink until it turns blue. I’m sure it’ll get darker as the night goes on?” my sister said uncertainly. This group doesn’t need even a reason that specific, we all thought in unison, challenge accepted. We started by passing around a few bottles of Blue Moon to taste some of what we weren’t seeing. You know that you drink a lot of different beers when Blue Moon is no longer special like it was a few months ago in college. I like the word comforting to describe beers I have become accustomed to, I think common is mean unless you are talking about Natty…I mean beer has feelings too right? Anyway, after our comforting round of Blue Moon; I pulled something with a little more bite to it out of the fire side cooler and looked menacingly around at the group, “Anyone feeling a little brave?” several eyebrows raised so I pressed on, “It’s a Michigan brew that is an American WHEAT… IPA” I tried hard to put emphasis on the wheat and cause uncertainty with the prospect of an IPA like I was telling a ghost story to a bunch of girl scout campers. I had to shoot down several stereotypical questions about it being “too hoppy?” “Isn’t it really heavy?” “Will I be able to drink more than one?” (that was my favorite). I know the suspense is killing you just like it was them so I’ll come clean…this is a fantastic beer! Part of what we girls do up here is heal from all the mud life has slung at us in the past year since our last visit. This involves a lot of medicine…beer, wine, fire whiskey…tonight it was Viscous.
Vicious is an American style Wheat which means that it is an American style Hefe Weizen, it is cloudy, with a long-lasting head, and a light medium body. There is a higher concentration of carbonation than in a plain IPA. It won’t have the banana and clove flavors of a German Weizen. The malts are a high percentage of wheat and generally the hop character is low…which is why this beer being an IPA is so great! The IPA characteristics bring about a strong roster of hops including; Cascade, Amarillo, Perle, and Willamette. North Peak tries to use Michigan malted grains, hops, and water. The website describes the beer as a dry-hopped Wheat Indian Pale Ale (IPA).
This beer has cloudiness to it that you would expect from a Hefe Weizen style beer. If I were to compare the cloudiness of this beer to as season it would be a grey sky day with no break of sunlight, in the middle of winter…in England (this is one cloudy beer). There is sediment that settles in the bottle whichever way you choose to store it, I had it from the bottle naturally if it’s from the tap it’s not an issue. The pour took a good 20 minutes…literally. The head is thick and was as tall as four fingers at one point, it is pure white. After the head settles it looked like some of the sediments rose to the top to darken some areas of the head. Its aroma is what the hops would lead you to believe, earthy, herbal, and floral with a hint of citrus. It smelled to me a lot more like an IPA than a wheat based beer. I took a nice long pull on my first sip; the first thing that came to mind was pine, but as it settles in your mouth there is definitely a note of citrus before it fades into the subtle bitterness on your tongue. The deeper I got into the beer the more subtle the bitterness became, which is not surprising considering the IBU is 66.7. I thoroughly enjoyed it and answered my friends question about being able to drink multiple by example. I would give this beer a 4 out of 5 pints and I would definitely like to drink it again in the near future.
To Pour: Give this beer a roll in the bottle on a table, leg, what have you to stir the sediments up that settle in wheat beers. Now, this beer is part IPA so you’ll have to be patient with the pour. It is a full bodied beer with long head retention. So if you’re as impatient as I am…just drink from the bottle. This style beer is traditionally served in a shaker or a tulip.
ABV: 6.7% (woohoo!)
- Cascade: Floral hop smells strongly of citrus, it is popular in American Pale Ales and IPAs
- Amarillo: Semisweet and citrusy, verging on oranges. Cascade on steroids. Its usage is flavor and aroma.
- Perle: Considered an all purpose variety as clean, green bitterness, verging on mint; somewhat spicy and floral as well. Its usage is flavor aroma and bittering.
- Willamette: The aroma is herbal, earthy and woody. Its usage is flavor and aroma.
Vicious American Wheat IPA Brewed by North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City, Michigan