Like Jesus turning water into wine, the Widmer Brothers humbly performs a miracle of their own…okay, so that’s a stretch, but it has that sort of context upon a first read after getting into the wax-sealed manifest of the latest Alchemy Ale from the Portland, Oregon brewery.
“We practice alchemy every day turning water, malt, hops and yeast into liquid gold.”
It is no lie that the latest release from Widmer showcasing their patented house hop blend is a thoroughly enjoyable amalgamation of simple ingredients. In standard Craft Brewers Alliance fashion, we were graced with a beautiful orchestrated press kit replete with not just a fresh bottle sample of the beer itself in fancy packaging, but a not quite gimmicky array of separated ingredients: purified water, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (beer yeast), pelletized Humulus Lupulus (hops), and Hodeum Vulgare (malt). This is not only important for non-brewing novices to understand the basic ingredients of Reinheitsgebot-appropo flavor components that go into making beer, but for the geek, it’s a terrific means to get a feel for the specific parts of this sessionable wonder.
Alchemy Ale is Widmer’s latest year-round addition. And here, in a very fresh format. Widmer’s packaging is stunning. Lots of Portland colors: green, gold (the Timbers Football Club Army is sure to accept this at first glance). The beer pours a burnished copper-golden hue with just the right amount of carbonation and a fluffy, pillowy, and cascading whitish head. The nose of flowery Northwest hops is the first indication to the Cascadian ale lover that this is a proper brew. Soft and crisp grains meld with the citrus, piny, and unobtrusively catty piquancy of the pellets. Not sure we’d call this magic like the branding indicates, but it certainly is artisan craftsmanship with beer at its peak, especially considering the magnanimous and somewhat corporate nature of the company pushing it. It’s apparent the folks who designed and executed this beer were inspired and focused, not losing site of their vision for a perfectly balanced craft offering. The yeastiness of the tipple lends a fruity, wet mouthfeel that is less astringent than more heavily front-hopped ales. We are pleased! Now we just need to knock back a 6’er or a 12’er of this stuff to make sure we’re right about it!
Here’s more from Widmer:
Brewery Showcases Alchemy Hops in Latest Year-Round Release
PORTLAND, Ore. – Mar. 25, 2013 –Widmer Brothers Brewing has introduced the newest addition to its year-round, core line-up: Alchemy Ale, a beer that features the brewery’s proprietary Alchemy hop blend.
The Alchemy hop blend was developed by a local hop merchant and Widmer Brothers brewers in 2006, and has become a key ingredient in every Widmer Brothers beer. Since its development, the brewing team has experimented with a variety of recipes designed to showcase the unique characteristics of the super high alpha Alchemy hop blend. After exploring several recipes, hop additions and styles, the recipe for Alchemy Ale emerged as a favorite among Widmer Brothers brewers.
Alchemy hops are a blend of choice hops from the Pacific Northwest, hand-selected by Widmer Brothers brewers each year. After the annual selection of hops, they are blended during the pelletization process which creates a unique, blended pelletized hop exclusively for Widmer Brothers Brewing. This secret blend is the backbone for all Widmer Brothers beers and the magic behind Alchemy Ale.
“Alchemy Ale is a great expression of brewing art and science,” said Joe Casey, Brewmaster. “We initially developed the Alchemy hop blend as a way to differentiate Widmer Brothers beers while managing variances in hop crops from year to year. And while the Alchemy blend contributes to all of our beers in some way, no other beer in our portfolio showcases the complexity of flavors and aromas in hop blending better than its namesake, Alchemy Ale.”
“As brewers, we practice alchemy every day,” said Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “There’s a lot of ways to combine water, malt, hops and yeast to brew a great beer. With Alchemy, we really wanted to celebrate the brewing process; turning traditional brewing ingredients into liquid gold – and we’re really happy with the result.”
Alchemy Ale is now available year-round in markets across the country on-draught, in 12- and six-packs, and in 22-ounce bottles. Alchemy Ale can be found using the Widmer Brothers beer finder: widmerbrothers.com/find-beer. Widmer Brothers will be hosting a nationwide launch party for Alchemy Ale in 10 cities on April 19. For more info about Alchemy Ale Night, please visit the Widmer Brothers Facebook page: facebook.com/WidmerBrothersBrewing.
About Alchemy Ale
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.
Proprietary Hop Blend: Alchemy hops are a blend of choice hops from the Pacific Northwest, hand-selected by our brewers each year. This secret blend is the backbone of all our beers, and the magic behind Alchemy Ale.
Malts: Pale, Caramel, Munich, Vienna Extra Special
Original Gravity: 13.8 Plato
About Widmer Brothers Brewing
What started as a dream for two ordinary brothers who just loved beer has now become a reality for two ordinary brothers who still just love beer. Kurt and Rob Widmer helped lead the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when, in their 20s, they dreamed of brewing unique interpretations of traditional beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the first American-style Hefeweizen; today, the unfiltered cloudy beer is the company’s signature brew and one of the best-selling wheat beers in the country. Based in Portland, Ore., the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including its Rotator IPA Series, Drifter Pale Ale, Pitch Black IPA, Nelson Imperial IPA, a high-end Brothers’ Reserve Series and a full four seasonal lineup. For more information about Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit www.widmerbrothers.com.
Angelo M. De Ieso II comes from the great Northeast where he spent most of his formative years in Central Maine after being born in Massachusetts. His first experience with craft brewing came from Samuel Adams, Shipyard, Geary’s, and a few other imports like Samuel Smiths and (gulp) Guinness. In 1996 he moved to the Bay Area and discovered Lagunita’s, Mendocino, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and others that changed his palate forever (there was always a few Henry Weinhards to go around, too). Since 1998, Angelo has lived and quaffed in Portland, Oregon where his friend Shane introduced him to several delicious flavors from Deschutes to Spaten, Full Sail to Hair of the Dog. In 2005, Angelo graduated from Portland State University with a degree in communication and a deeper love for craft beers. Angelo met Aaron, his partner in crime at Brewpublic, at KPSU, Portland State’s radio station, where the two were staff members and DJs. He has been an correspondent for the Portland Tribune’s Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, and from many knowledgeable people along the way. It is Angelo’s mission to bring “infotainment” and “edumation” to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact him. Prost! firstname.lastname@example.org
“Head blogger for Brewpublic, good friend of the bar, and all-around ale maniac, Angelo appears at first to be a soft-spoken, modest fella with a peculiar predilection towards Boston-area sports teams. But make no mistake, this man knows where the dead bodies are buried.” -Michael O’Connor, Bailey’s Taproom, professional beer scribe.