Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Alpine Willy Vanilly Review

Name: Alpine Willy Vanilly
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.5%

Every once in a while, I'll stumble across a beer of a certain style with a specific type of ingredient that makes me say: Huh? In this case, it's Willy Vanilly from the Alpine Beer Company; A brewery that I have neglected to cover since they entered our market last year around the same time I moved back to Minneapolis.

Taking it's name from the ill-fated R&B group Milli Vanilli, this is a wheat ale that is brewed with vanilla. I mean, I get it: Both of supposed to be lighter in terms of overall flavor and body but that seems like just an odd combo; Kind of like that offering from Green Flash that I wasn't a fan of it.

Appearance - Mildly hazy pale yellow color with no visible carbonation. There's also nothing really in terms of head retention or lacing.

Aroma - Malted wheat & pilsner malts with some light vanilla sweetness, and some mild skunkiness. I'll be honest, the skunk aspect of the nose doesn't exactly give me a favorable first impression.

Taste - Thankfully that skunk aroma isn't present in the flavor, which is roughly the same as the nose. You've got some malted wheat & pilsner maltiness upfront, followed in the middle by some moderate vanilla sweetness, which lingers until the end of the palate and some light floral hops and more malted wheat in the back. Aftertaste is a mix of light vanilla and malted wheat.

I don't know how but it works and it does so quite well. Will it be off-putting to some of the uninitiated? Yes, and the skunk aroma (at least in the bottle I had) definitely gives it a not-so-great first impression but those who are looking for a beer slightly off the beaten path will find something to like about Willy Vanilly.

Alpine Willy Vanilly - 8.5/10

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