Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Atwater Grand Circus IPA | Atwater Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
76 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Atwater Grand Circus IPAAtwater Grand Circus IPA

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DrDoitchbig on 08-22-2011

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 330
Photo of Sir-Buddly-Longfellow
1.25/5  rDev -59.9%

Kept it in the fridge til a buddy traded so he could try it. He thought it was "ok" at best. In my opinion, it wasn't drinkable. But I have high expectations when I see an IPA label.

 182 characters

Photo of LoveOregonBeer12
1.48/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This is not an IPA, and not a good beer overall. No defining hop character for this style. Decent copper color, but the smell and taste is quite a disappointment.

 162 characters

Photo of Evan1356
1.59/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Never again...glad this is a session IPA and not a main brew. Atwater...please never do this one again, I don't know how you made a 4.2% beer so bitter and so crude that it's not even an easy drinking summer beer but you did. Would have rather drank a Budweiser...

 264 characters

Photo of razorsdescent
1.69/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

Wow, it has been a while since I have felt so compelled to write a negative review.

Firstly, if you are going to have your "IPA" weigh in at 4.2% ABV, do us all a favor and have the basic decency to label it so that people like me don't waste our time and money on a light beer that has little flavor. I was suspicious because of the low price at my local beer store, but it said IPA and was something I had never tried before, my curiosity and adventurous nature kept me from just getting a standby pack of DFH 60 Minute IPA. Woe betide my decision, this is truly a terrible beer.

This is not an IPA, this is some sort of weird session pale ale, and not a good one at that. The basic appearance is lighter than ?I expected. The head is a lovely shade of white, which kept it from losing points there. The smell is weak and faintly pine scented. The taste is an unsurprising follow up to the smell. Water with Pinesol, slightly astringent. I have tasted first try's from home brewers that are leagues ahead of this piss-water. Mouthfeel was thin and watery.

Overall this is a very poor offering. Bad enough that I will not be throwing any money at these guys in the future. I tried to rate this beer fairly and still the results are not pretty. I would rather take a PBR any day over this stuff.

Do yourself a favor and avoid this offering. There are better and smaller breweries who could use the business and which would actually provide you with a beer worth drinking.

 1,475 characters

Photo of SunDevilBeer
1.88/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Saw this on special at my local in 6-pack cans, thought I'd give it a whirl...couldn't be THAT bad, could it??? Billed as a session IPA - sounds good to me.

A - Pours not too well, small amount of head.

S - Aroma is off-putting. Very soapy, musty. This is presumably an IPA - where's the hop smell?

T - Very dirty and muddled tasting. Where the hell are the hops???? Oh there they are, a slight taste behind the diacetyl and muck. Gets worse as the beer warms up to room temperature.

M - Eh. medium body i suppose. Too distracted by the off tastes.

O - Take a guess based on my prior comments. I drank the 6-pack, but this was a pretty bad beer.

 650 characters

Photo of jjanega08
1.9/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

No freshness dating. Bottom of can dated 2421 1403 maybe...

A= Pours a deep amber color with a two finger off white head on it that holds some steady retention and lacing.

S= A little light on the hops for an IPA on the nose. There is a little grassy floral aroma reminicent of the English variety hops or some sparingly used American versions. It has a sort of sweet wort smell to it as well that actually reminds me quite a bit of unfermented wort in a mash.

T= The taste matches the smell to a tee. The grassy hop notes and an unfermented wort flavor. It may have a little bit of a wheat taste to it as well. Really nothing to write home about.

M= This is about the only thing they got right. Lightly carbonated and perfect for the style I think.

O= This reminds me of a homebrew a lot. Unfortunatly this reminds me of a few homebrews of my own that I didn't hand out because I was ashamed. This is a mess of an IPA and barely a beer judging by the unfermented flavor.

 976 characters

Photo of MIBeerGeek
2.1/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

When I first jumped into the IPA scene I thought this was a great beer. Its still decent if I was boating all day and wanted something refreshing but would probably rather drink a Shandy then force this down.

 208 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.17/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clean yellow to orange-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, mellow mix of pine and citrus hops. In the taste, mellow pine hops with a balanced malt. A small hop bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small hop in the aftertaste. More a pale ale than IPA, EH!

 296 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
2.28/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I picked up The Atwater Holiday Party Pack last week at Meijers for $12.99. Grand Circus IPA is one of Atwater's newest beers, they claim that this beer is a session IPA, so lets see how it goes. It was marked October 2011, it's fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label doesn't look too great, its just the plain standard Atwater label that is dark green. It poured a hazy amber golden color with a fingers worth of white head that died down to a ring with a bubbly lump in the middle.

S- First come the malts which have a medium amount of sweetness to them and impart a lightly toasted grain aroma along with a slight bit of caramel. Next come the hops which are a little light and mainly citrus with some earthyness in the background.

T- The taste is pretty light and lackluster. It starts off with those lightly toasted malts that have a really noticeable grainy and bready flavor and a light amount of sweetness. Next comes the hops which are pretty light and plain, there's a slight bit of citrus hops but it is mainly the earthy hops that show up and give this beer a cardboard like flavor. The finish has a surprising medium amount of bitterness with a grainy bread aftertaste that stayed in my mouth.

M- Crisp, light bodied, and it had a lighter amount of carbonation but it still felt fizzy.

Overall I didn't like this beer. When I saw that the brewers billed this as a session IPA, I figured it would be something along the lines of The Wanderer from North Peak, but instead this beer was real light on the hops and was no where near what I think a good session IPA should be like. This beer doesn't have good drinkability, it doesn't have enough flavor to make me want to drink more, it needs much more hop flavors to go with that medium amount of bitterness, the malt profile on the beer wasn't bad, it just needed some more hops to go with it. What I liked most about this beer the look, it looked pretty good in the glass, no complaints there. What I liked least about this beer was the flavor, just not enough hop flavor with too much bitterness, and the wet cardboard flavor wasn't too enjoyable. I would never buy this beer on it's own, but I will have to put up with it for the rest of the season since I think the rest of the holiday pack is pretty good, this beer is the biggest flaw in the Holiday pack. I don't recommend this beer to anyone, it is not what a session IPA should be like. Atwater makes some solid beers but it seems like both the newly released beer, shaman porter and grand circus have both been a disappointment and have fell flat. This was not a good session IPA, I'll be sticking to the wanderer when in the mood for this style. I think Awater needs to go back to the drawing board on this beer especially when it says India Pale Ale right on the bottle.

 2,830 characters

Photo of neophilus
2.28/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Atwater, Brewed in Detroit. I guess Detroit moved to Latrobe, PA.

Pours a golden yellow color, nice foamy white head on top.

Barely any aroma present, a bit of grassy, pine hop aroma finished off with a bit of malt.

Some bitterness up front downplays any malt flavor. Rough, vegetal hop flavor is present. Not very pleasant, mostly seems to be an aftereffect of the hop bitterness.

Thin, watery body with a rough edge.

Not a very good IPA. Too thin, hops flavor mostly comes from the bitterness, not a lot of citrus of pine aroma or flavor to spice this up. The only thing that makes this an IPA is the dryness from the hop bittering and the lack of malt flavor.

 668 characters

Photo of CHickman
2.32/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours hazy gold in color with a huge foamy / cloudy 2 finger white head that faded slowly and barely moved, leaving a foamy layer on top and great foamy lacing with rings as it went down.

Smells of malt, grains, caramel, husk, grass or hay, light citrus hops, crackers and herbs or earthy tones; the aroma was pretty lame overall and it took an effort to get smells out of this nose.

Tastes like malt, roasted grains, light caramel, light citrus hops, cardboard, grass, biscuit and some funk which I'll assume is from yeast. Not even close to an IPA flavor, so this misses the mark on either the ingredients or the classification. This flavor would be weak even for a pale ale and too grainy as well.

Mouthfeel is zesty and crisp with high fizzy carbonation, a very light body and a slightly bitter finish that is clean and dry.

A light overall feel, this beer is easy to pound, just not very tasty. A decent beer that's a failure as an IPA, but OK is you are looking for a beer that's just above a macro brew. It looked good out of the bottle, then the smell disappointed, then the flavor disappointed, so I think they need to try a new formula if the goal was to make this an IPA.

NOTE: The Atwater website lists this as a Pale Ale unlike the bottles and cardboard 6 pack holder which lists this as an India Pale Ale, so maybe the brewery realizes that this should be a Pale Ale and not an IPA. The ABV listed is 5.5%.

 1,428 characters

Photo of gordavidson
2.47/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a hazy straw yellow liquid with a few streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The white head is thin and rather generic looking. As a whole, this looks like a macro lager with some haze to it.

S- Pears, apple juice, steamed vegetables, and a bit of citrus rind. Not very good.

T- Apples and pears along with some orange rind. There is a vegetable aspect to it that definitely detracts from the overall experience.

M- The carbonation has a bit of a bite to it, but there is some lingering astringency and not much bitterness. Odd.

O- For an IPA, this is not all that great.

 601 characters

Photo of warnerry
2.53/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle notched August 2011

A - Pours a slightly hazy straw with one finger of white head. Head doesn't have great retention, but does eave some nice lacing.

S - Faint tea-like aroma with some sweet malt.

T - Kind of an odd taste of corn, a bit of sweet malt, faint hops and tea. Not very flavorful, but not offensive.

M - Very light, watery mouthfeel. Finish has some bitterness. Pretty underwhelming.

O - Considering the available options for sessionable IPAs, this is pretty underwhelming.

 496 characters

Photo of SerialHiker
2.54/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice golden color, tons of bubbles along the glass and dancing inside…not too much head to speak of, but there is a little canvassing the top layer…(3/5)

Smell: Orange citrus and floral hops, very light and refreshing…grainy and grassy…sweet malts…mild smelling...(2.75/5)

Taste: Nice citrus hops flavor with a malt backbone…grainy throughout, floral tones offset and balance...it’s not extravagant in any direction…some bitter after tones, but not too bad…(2.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light but very bitter…bitter without the hoppy feel…it finishes bitter…(2/5)

Overall: It’s got okay flavor, but the bitterness isn’t balanced well enough to make it something special…this beer is looking for flavor with low alcohol and it definitely accomplished one of these…I’d work on the pale malts and maybe give it a bit more “hmmmff”…(2.5/5)

 880 characters

Photo of jsprain1
2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Golden-amber, with a tinge of orange. Thick white head lasts fairly poorly.
S- A fair bit of sweet malt. A bit doughy with a piney bitterness.
T- This doesn't really have much flavor to it. It's lightly sweet up front, with noncommittal hop bitterness. Just a touch of orange character in the finish.
M- This comes across watery. I know it's only 4.2% but it's light and low carbonated.
O- This one didn't work for me. It's like a couple hop leaves dissolved in water. Meh, it's drinkable but not interesting.

 512 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
2.66/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

Another offering thanks to Trent!

It pours a clear copper with a 2 finger head of foam.

I'm getting a lot of caramel malt in the nose with no noticeable bitterness.

Very buttery taste up front and throughout. Some butterscotch as well as a rather unpleasant "bitterness" that totally ruins it, not that the buttery flavour was all too exciting.

Light bodied, nice carbonation, so no complaints there.

Wow, this is bad but I'm always glad to give a beer a try.

 465 characters

Photo of horshack7
2.73/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Brassy in color with some copper hues an off white with a frothy texture one inch high.

Aroma: Musty, grapefruit and some piney notes. Apricot, orange, lemon zest. Malts lend a light biscuit dryness in the nose.

Taste: Citrus notes are light with lemon and grassy notes. Grapefruit notes are there but are masked a little bit by the malts. A rather crisp mouthfeel with a fairly dry finish.

Notes: It's halfway decent but certainly not dreadful and still drinkable. Cheers.

 488 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

That's a pretty dull label for such an allegedly badass tent-enclosed spectacle... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear auburn-bronze topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises flowers, light grass, white bread, and a twinge of orange peel. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a healthy dose of dust and must, making everything just come out tasting dirty and funky. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly watery feel. Overall, this was a pretty sad IPA, one that just tasted off despite its freshness. Boo this.

 619 characters

Photo of CodyNeely
2.75/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into pint glass. No issue until the actual tasting came. Tasted almost like it had been watered down. I wasn't even a huge fan of the aftertaste which was almost skunky. I was disappointed because I've had other Atwater brews that I've enjoyed.

 258 characters

Photo of mountdew1
2.76/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a medium golden with a 3 finger frothy head that lasted about 5 minutes. A few small streams of carbonation rose from the bottom. Aroma was primarily a citrus hoppy. Initially struck me as reminding me of a cheap beer bar aroma. Taste started off sour, then switched to nothing much, before finishing with a hint of hops. Felt ok in the mouth. Coated well, just a bit of carbonation, nothing wrong. Overall kind of a meh beer. The flavor was really strange and offputting for the style and seriously detracted from anything else it had going for it.

 595 characters

Photo of DrDoitchbig
2.77/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It was rather difficult to find any information on Grand Circus but from what I gather it's supposed to be Atwater's entry into the trending "Session IPA" field.

Appearance: Grand Circus poured a somewhat pale golden color topped by about a finger's worth of bright white head. The head shrank to a cap quickly but stuck through to the end and left a few curtains of lacing here and there but nothing extraordinary.

Smell: Even though I put this one in a tulip glass the aroma is still weak. The main scent is a cracker like malt base with a dusting of herbaceous hops. This is supposed to be an IPA?

Taste: The malts control the beer and they continue to remind me of crackers. The taste is nearly identical to that of an unsalted soda cracker. The hops are thankfully stronger than in the smell but only just. The floral hops are joined by a nice grapefruit bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel: This is probably the highlight of the beer and that's usually not a good thing. Carbonation is lively but not to the point of pricking the tongue. Body is right down the line medium with a pleasant creaminess.

Overall: This is not an IPA, at least not by my definition. It's also not a bad beer. If Atwater would have simply billed it as a pale ale I probably would have rated it higher in smell and taste. The label doesn't even mention that it's a "Session IPA." For the average consumer coming into this blind looking for something comparable to Two Hearted or Crooked Tree this is going to be a huge disappointment.

 1,515 characters

Photo of Florida9
2.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Very clear yellow in color. Forms about a 1/4" of fluffy white head. No lacing.

S: Smells of toast, biscuit, and woodsy hops, but there is also butter and diacetyl.

T: Toast and biscuit malts. Mild to moderate bitterness. Dry, almost vinous, but not in a good way.

M: On the lighter side. Dry, chalky, and grainy. Appropriate carbonation.

O: A fairly weak IPA with an odd, not overly pleasant aroma. I've only had two beers from Atwater and both had been fairly unimpressive. I wonder if this brewery has the capacity to make anything worthwhile.

 557 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a 12oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick but spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains citrus, a good amount of hops and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with some very mildly sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a weak hops bitterness for the style comes in. The malt character is also thin and while there isn’t any harshness to it, there isn’t much balance either. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp but watery, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty but not very flavorful, goes down easily but only because there isn’t much to the beer, not filling at all, very mild kick, not a good representation of style, this beer simply tastes like a very watered down version of an IPA that was mediocre to begin with.

 944 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
2.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a hazy, pale, somewhat lackluster copper coloring with a foamy, low profile, sparse, white filmy head. The head starts promising, at around an inch and a half, but quickly settles out. Well balanced nose of light citrus sweetness and light, green, fresh hops aromas. Flavors are strong initially, but a bit watery overall, with a strong roasted and dry hopped flavor profile that has some char character. The hops go fairly unbalanced, with only a slight hint of the citrus that was present in the nose. Decent cling along the glass while you drink, which is one of the few redeeming qualities. The aftertaste is resiny and strongly roasted, with a drying feel that makes the finish quick and clean. A slight tang left behind on the tongue, but not much else at the end.

 833 characters

Photo of scottyg354
2.94/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been eyeing this beer for a while. Being that I never had a craft brew out of a can, today I indulged.

A: Golden. Thicker head that last for a while. Spotty lacing.

S: light hops. Some grain. Really not the most impressive nose.

T: Mellow. Some light hop notes. Bready character.

M: Crisp. Some mild fluffiness.

O: I really want to like this beer and if it was my first IPA I probably would have been in love. Unfortunately Atwater is a year to late. If I wanted a good session IPA this would be it, but for sessions there is yeungling.

 548 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Atwater Grand Circus IPA from Atwater Brewery
3.12 out of 5 based on 330 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!