Chillwave is a seasonal American double IPA from Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio. This brew had a former life as an ale called Alchemy Hour, but the name was changed to Chillwave in 2013 after a trademark dispute. I had not previously tried any brews from GLBC, but heard the positive chatter going around, both about Chillwave and many other beers from Great Lakes Brewing.
Chillwave is a beer crafted for the adventurer and risk taker. The name pays homage to the Great Lakes surfers (we have those??) who brave the most severe weather conditions to catch a curl.
Chillwave pours thick with a gleaming red-orange color filling the glass. A perfect head of tiny bubbles rests on top. Hoppy, resiny, and citrus aromas signal the deluge of flavor to come.
This is an ale with layers of aroma vying for attention. But, we’re here for taste and that taste does not disappoint. Chillwave has essences of toasty tropics meeting whispers of a wind-blown evergreen forest complemented by sweet malt. Connoisseurs will notice the distinctive hop profiles from Mosaic and Nugget hops, while newbies will will just say wow, this beer is freakin’ tasty.
Chillwave has a heavier-bodied, rich mouth-feel with moderate carbonation that coats the tongue with a nice balance of honey malt and hops. You can tell this is a potent beer at 9.4% ABV, but the balance of sweet and bitter mask much of the alcohol and make for a very smooth drinking experience.
Ripe for the Picking
Fresh as a fruit stand on a summer’s day, the elaborate flavors continue to please, sip after sip, while Chillwave artfully coats my glass with lacing patterns resembling the receding waters after waves crash on a chilled Great lakes shoreline.
A bit of foam tops the glass throughout, breathing orange, mango, and lemon into every taste and the aromas continue to tantalize to the very end. Tropical at first, with pine cone resin on the fade, you’ll want to make sure and take a good sniff before every swig.
Chillwave is a beer that’s torn between the tropics and the forest green. Every time I raise the glass the complex bouquet of pine-fruit fills my nostrils. I can see why they call it Chillwave.
I look forward to more of this excellent beer! And you should run to your local purveyor and get some, too. Chillwave has a shelf-life of 90 days so should be tasty through May. Check the “best by” date on the bottle to be sure that it’s a fresh batch. Cheers!