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
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 330
Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Atwater puts out some decent beers...this is no exception. The Grand Circus is a nive IPA. Pours an orange clear copper color with 1/4 finger head that is lacing. The smell has mostly bitter hops with slight citrus. The taste follows suite....very bitter towards the end that eventually zings hints of Grapefruit. The mouthfeel is mdeium to light body with good carbonation. Overall its good.

 392 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, light gold in color, with a moderate head of bone-white foam.
Aroma-Herbal, grassy hops.
Taste-Toasted malt, herbal hop leaf bitterness up front that hangs on and lingers to the finish.
Decent flavor for what could be described as a "sessionable" IPA at 4.2ABV. A bit unbalanced towards the bitter side of things, this beer cries out for a food pairing. Maybe a blue-cheese burger or just a good hunk of aged cheddar.

 479 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.28/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber from the can, with a huge head of off-white foaminess. Lace is thin but attractive.

Nose is as malty as it is hopped-up. Unusual for an IPA.

Taste is mild -- actually more in line with a basic pale ale. The finish here has a bit of a citrus hop character with some acidity. As an IPA, this seems fairly weak. As a pale ale, passable if unmemorable.

 371 characters

Photo of TheSarge
4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in the can, so to speak, and poured it into a standard pint glass.

Produces a good two finger thick foam crown, and the body is hazy and copper color.

The aroma is caramel up front, a little mineral esque, lemons, and dry white toast.

In the taste, I detect hints of lemon, and caramel, with a little spruce.

Feels light in body, a bit thirst quenching (I just ran 4 miles), and wetting to the palate. Not bad for a lower ABV'd IPA. Quite sessionable.

 464 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Yay cans, tasty crack cans...

Anyways, pours a huge pasty white fluffy head of more than 2 fingers, fades semi slowly with nice lacing, over hazy sediment yeast chunk filled orange colored, its really full of sediment.

Nose has some hops, but not much. Candy hops, a bit fruity and hint earthy grassy, slightest touch of citrus but more like citrus candy.

Taste comes fairly bland as well, slight touch of a malty sweetness, but then some hops, candy hops, hint of grassy hops and citrus, bit fruity, and fairly light overall. Finish is drier a decent bitterness, a lot more bitterness than actual hop flavor with no malts to really balance and lack of nice distinct hop flavors.

Mouth is med to lighter bodied, decent carb at least.

Overall meh, not really much going for it except a fairly cheap IPA in a can, cause everyone loves it in the can.

 854 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 NuclearDolphin
3.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pint Glass, never had a 12oz can of IPA before!

Appearance - Bright Orange with some mild haze. Head is pretty fluffy at around 3 fingers width and has some good retention. Lacing is abundant and pretty sticky on the sides!

Smell - Piney Hops with some malts and a slight caramel scent to it. There's also a yeasty sort of smell to it as well, but it's fairly subtle

Taste - Very yeasty and bready with some barley and malts to back it up. There are some citrusy hops but they take a back seat to the yeasts and malty flavors.

Mouthfeel - It's very light in terms of body for an IPA and the carbonation feels just right. It feels refreshing to drink and it's an easy drinker

Overall - It's flavor is nothing special in terms of being an IPA, mainly because the hops are more on par with the yeast and barley flavors. However, it's easy to drink and perfect and refreshing for a hot summer day or tailgating.

 926 characters

Photo of yamar68
3.3/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a honey gold with a finger and a half of fizzy white dissipating head. Soft citrus on the nose with subtle sweet bread to back it. Taste is surprisingly unique. Bitter grapefruit without much hop presence from the earthy end. Nice wet refreshing slick feel to finish and a lingering bitter citrus. Carbonation is moderate to low but a decent body. Overall a decent IPA for its price point. This is sort of one of those beers that can get dusty on the shelves in MN and there’s no canning date so I’d like to try a guaranteed-fresh can. Regardless, perfectly drinkable.

 578 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 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 SickGnar
3.23/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark golden / light copper, slight touch of haze, quite a few bubbles rising to a large off-white head composed of large bubbles. It falls fast, but keeps a ring and leaves some alright lacing.

S: Sweet bread base malt with hints of cracker and caramel. Faint hint of slightly fruity citrus hops. Light scent, especially for an IPA with regard to the hops.

T: Way more crackery malts than nose – total soda crackers. Hints of sweetness, caramel, and a doughy / bready somewhat yeasty note. Sweetness grows just a touch as consumed. Hops are more pronounced as well. Bitterness isn’t huge, but quite firm relative to the tame (thin) malts. Not much hop character up front – just some herbal / leafy hints. Hop impression is mostly on the backend – resin / herbal with a bit of rind & a hint of pine. Finish is resin with some rind.

M: Medium-light body at most, more light really. CO2 is reasonably balanced. Touch of texture from hop tannins and it is firmly hop drying (partly from being so thin).

D: A session IPA? Wouldn’t that be a Pale? It is balanced to hops, but mostly from there being not much malts. Without any real malt richness (caramelly in particular), I have a hard time viewing this as an IPA. That said, it is a reasonably tasty and drinkable beer.

 1,283 characters

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Muted golden color, mostly clear.

Smells like an average IPA, though a bit grainy. Floral hops and breadlike aromas are present with hints of citrus and spices.

Good balance in the flavor. Solid amounts of floral hops. Grainy bread and sweet caramel. There is a pine flavor present that I'm not too fond of. Small amounts citrus peel leaving a pleasant aftertaste.

Crisp carbonation leaves a light feel. Easy to drink.

Not bad, but they could have definitely taken this one further.

 486 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

Photo of smcolw
3.73/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lumpy head with some webby lace. Rocky settlement. Cloudy, pale amber color.

Clean pale malt smell with a shallow level of hop--slightly off from the IPA expectation.

Interesting pineapple hop flavor, some pepper and grapefruit. Starts with a brief, neutral malt. Good bitterness swallow with a long aftertaste of pepper. Unremarkable body with a carbonation that is as expected.

 381 characters

Photo of greenengineer
3.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can in my Peoples Pint Pied pIPA pint glass

A - Pale gold, a little cloudy. Big head disappears quickly, but lacing stays around
S - light hop smell, a little citrus. Maybe some spice, or is that the chili cooking on the stove? Not much there.
T - Crisp bitterness, not much malt.
M - very light, goes down smooth. Nothing big or heavy.
O - drinkable IPA, not a disaster, not my favorite either. I do like the can.

 424 characters

Photo of tone77
3.7/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the legend woodychandler for yet another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a orange/brownish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops and citrus. Taste is a good balance of hops and malts, not overpowering, slightly bitter with some mild citrus notes. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

 339 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 woodychandler
3.01/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Many, many thanks to Another6Pack for sending me a CAN Care package recently! I noticed that I had one of his Wants and he sent me a four-pack of some really nifty CANs. I CAN always review a new CAN in support of The CANquest (TM) ...

From the CAN: "We drink all we [CAN] and then sell the rest."; "Our 'Session' India Pale Ale"; "Kick back, relax and enjoy a cold craft beer in your city's 'Grand Circus Park'."; "Beer is good."; plus an underlay of the map of downtown Detroit.

Too bad about the allusion to a Detroit park - I thought that it referred to my classroom.

The Crack was as loud in the deafening silence of my kitchen as any in recent memory. I decided to go with a heavy-handed Glug into a Sam. Adams Perfect Pint glass just to see if I could get a cascade to result. CAN I get an "Amen, brother!" from the CANstituency? I was soon looking at two-plus fingers of rocky, eggshell-white head that was fading as quickly as red ink in the sunlight. Bye! The beer was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity and I suddenly wished for a serving of French Fries. Did the color remind me of cooking oil? Or perhaps of golden fries themselves? Either way, one should never hold back anything that comes to mind in doing a review. I personally dig the stream-of-consciousness rave that seems to be the trademark of my reviews. Now, where was I before I got lorded over by some western distraction ...? Oh yes, color. In the meantime, the head had fallen to the point that I could get my nose in there to root for truffles without the fear of foam in my sinuses. I was a trained Locker Leader (firefighter) in the Navy and one time, in extinguishing an oil fire, I did get some of the AFFF in my mask. Speaking of oil, did I mention that I am hungry for French Fries? The nose was pretty weak for an AIPA. Hoppy? Sure, but not enough to qualify as an AIPA. I have to go with El Tigre from Calgary in that this would be a passable ESB and a below-par AIPA. The nose could not seem to allow the malt to get out of the way of the tea-like hops. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium and the taste was of minty hops on a chewing gum scale. This was my second go-'round tonight with an AIPA with a substandard hops presence. Grrr. Finish was as boring as one of those ponderous documentaries on PBS on Sunday afternoon in which some British talking head goes on and on about the merits of French Fries. Hell, they're not even French! They are originally les pommes frites from Belgium and I still want some. I want them more than I want another of this beer. I CAN only hope that this review helps you in your personal quest for better beer.

 2,642 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 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 glassbrass440
3.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Some light earthy hops and sweet corn in the nose. A touch of caramel. Shaving cream foam sits on top of a crystal clear light amber sea of beer. The head lingers for a long time, lifted by the constant bubbles from beneath.

Taste is light with little hop flavor. I get mostly bready malts and some undefined fruitiness. Bitterness is a bit overpowering with no flavor backbone. Seems to be bitter for the sake of being bitter. Light bodied and goes down smooth.

Overall it’s not that great of an IPA if you are looking for complexity and powerful flavors, but it would be good session beer for watching a ballgame or having a drink with "the guys". This paired well with the spicy burrito I had for dinner. Something to complement the food without getting in the way.

 774 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 GRPunk
3.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle, notched S 11, poured into a nonic pint.

A- 1/2-finger, white head drops to a thin film and leaves some really good sticky spots on the glass. Cloudy, golden body.

S- Good balance for an IPA. At first, I got a big dose of spicy and citrus hops with a solid malt backbone. Mostly sugary and a little bready. This could be going somewhere. Aroma actually seems to meellow later on.

T- More balance. Hops come off as mostly herbal/medicinal with a touch of citrus and a little aspirin. Malt side is a touch grainy. Later on the the citrus component really steps up and starts to overwhelm just a bit. In the end, it's almost too balanced for an IPA.

M- Lightly carbonated with a full body. A little grainy with a light hop tingle.

O- Great aroma at first had me thinking this would be a big winner. So-so flavor really brings it down. It's a little rough around the edges. Awash in great MI-IPAs, this doesn't stand out, but is perfectly drinkable.

 957 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 biboergosum
3.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can. Procured in Detroit, and with downtown Motown maps on the label, but the can indicates that this is brewed in Latrobe, PA.

This beer pours a clear medium copper amber hue, with a teeming amount of thin foamy cobwebbed head, which leaves some chunky bands of rainforest lace around the glass as it sinks away. It smells of strong biscuity malts, some tart breadiness, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is crackery, biscuity malt, quite dry, like something you'd want to dip in soup. There's some leafy, herbal hops adding to the bitter side of things. The carbonation is moderate, and unobtrusive, the body near medium weight, and a little too clingy and clammy to proclaim as smooth. It finishes malty, but not sweet, the dryness abetted by some lingering herbal hops.

No way, no how should this be labeled as an IPA, of any sort. Now tell me ESB, and we can talk, mostly about how to make this bitter a whole lot better.

 934 characters

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!