Willimantic Brewing Co., Millenium IPA

Grade: C
Willimantic Brewing Co.

Reviewed live from the Willimantic Brewing Co. free wifi service! Beer and free wifi? What more could you ask for?

Arrives cloudy with no head, but that's typical of a brewpub. Color is a golden straw, with tinges of orange. Aroma is almost nil, some slight spice and sweet malt notes coming through. The mouthfeel is medium, just enough to hold the carbonation in place. Spice, pepper, and pine are the hop characters in the flavor. A slight off-flavor of detergent and plastic lingers in the background (could simply be a soapy glass). There is a slight sweetness to the malt, those who have brewed beer before would characterize it as unfermented sweet wort (what beer is called before the fermentation process). There are bread elements along with some toast to
lend to the malt profile. The hops are bitter here, but certainly not overly so. There is a good firm bittering, but it's held in check by the sweetness of the malts. The hops used are not the normal citrus types found in most American IPAs, but are of the more spicy, noble variety.

Willimantic Brewing Company is known for IPAs, and they push the envelope of the style to it's limit. The owner/brewer Dave Wollner explores many different approaches to the style, and like all experiments, not all come out perfect. This latest rendition of his IPA falls a little short, seeming to suffer from an excess of sweetness. The best part about Willimantic Brewing Company, however is the fact that almost every other week, a new beer comes out. Most often, it's a beer that has never been done before, or is an exciting experiment. The fun of going to Willimantic Brewing Company is the variety and trying new things. Do those new things always hit the mark? No, but that's alright. You know that in another week another strange, wonderful, and challenging beer is on the way. It's what keeps me coming back, even after a slightly negative experience.

Other beers of note for the evening included their Festive Ale, a double IPA made with hops that were grown literally on the brewery building. It was a higher alcohol brew, but had none of the hot, fusal alcohol notes. Overall it was extremely balanced, and a favorite of mine. The winner for the evening was a beer that was made kind of haphazardly, with remnants of ingredients left over from other beers. The I'm Not Sure ale, made with over 8 different malts was outstanding. Malty, bready, toasty, and dry, with plenty of flavor. It was very similar to a Scottish ale, and I'll be sad to see it go. Hopefully Dave wrote down what went into this beer, because I'd love to see it again.