Willy | Alpine Beer Company

52 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Willy, named after my brother-in-law’s childhood nickname, is crisp and light-bodied, with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. The hopping is mild and gentle. It’s perfect for times when you crave a beer utterly refreshing and low in alcohol. A true thirst quencher everyone enjoys.

1.047 OG

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2003

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 169
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light golden color with a nice white head. The aroma is of a little wheat sweetness and some caramel-type flavors. The taste is quite similar, with a sweet graininess. A little bit of citrus there as well. The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium with moderate levels of carbonation. Drinkability is quite good here. Alpine has the reputation of brewing great hoppy beers, but I was quite impressed with nearly everything else they did as well.

 456 characters

Photo of MattSlem
4.09/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My friend and stopped at Alpine on the way to Arizona. We tasted about 8 Alpine beers and for some reason, this was unanimously our favorite. It was such a balanced beer, it blew our collective minds.

 202 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.08/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a strange orange/yellow with white head that fades quickly and doesnt leave much lacing.

Smell is very faint and all I can pick up is slight biscut.

Now for the taste. At first sip it almost tastes like your drinking nothing, but the out of no where...WOW. Amazing malt comes through to kick you in the throat. I could see why this beer would be given a C+ average here on BA but I think its a great beer. Its very sessionable and the malt kick is very tasty.

 468 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.07/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Draught @ Alpine Brewery
The beer pours a limpid gold, the head smallish and bright white, creamy texture and the lace a thin sheet to cover the glass. Nose is sweet with a slight hint of fresh ground wheat grain; clean and fresh, start is sweet, the grain profile pleasing and the top light to the palate. Finish is leanly acidic, the hops mild and gentle, clean to the palate, oh how I will yearn for this beer after a long and hot day here in the desert.

 458 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden-yellow with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet wheat with some with some citrus hop, lemon, and a touch of malt.

T - Starts off with sweet wheat flavor with some lemon zest and a touch of citrus hops. Through the middle, some light nutty malts come through with a bit more citrus hop. The finish is a mix of sweet wheat, bit of malt, and lemon.

M - Light bodied with moderate lively carbonation. Smooth with a lightly sweet and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice light wheat beer that does not sacrifice too much on flavor. There is a nice balance of wheat and citrus flavors while still staying very crisp.

 731 characters

Photo of sleazo
4/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alpine willy wheat golden clear pour. Minimal head. Crisp wheat odor. Taste is crisp. Nice wheat flavour comes through witha grasslike finish to it. Aftertaste is very smooth. Some of the grain comes through as it warms. Medium body with a perfect level of carbonation for the style. This would be great on a hot summer day. A winner from alpine yet again. Special at porters pub. Too bad its winter. D very high good session brew.

 431 characters

Photo of 100floods
3.95/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What better wat to spend a warm January day off in San Francisco than pop open a brew?

Willy pours a crystal clear pale yellow. You can see a decent a mount of carbonation, but no head.

Sweet, malty, even grassy aroma. Big wheat malt aromas. Some juicy yeast notes, too. Reminds me of summer.

Very crisp and refreshing. Nice balance of sweetness and wheat flavors with a hop finish for bite. The sweet notes remind me of honey and something close to the less citrus aspects of an orange. The medium body helps the flavors move along, but without missing anything. The low carbonation isn't the worst thing in the world. I think I'd be missing a lot of the flavors if this were a straight up wheat ale. The malt start and the hoppy finish provide a good balance and not a collision. Perfect summer beer, or just a great beer to wind down with, without getting to suacy.

 871 characters

Photo of Mic-Lee
3.77/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden color. No lacing, about two fingers of foamy loose head. Smells lightly of sweet malt. Flavors of hazlenuts, with delicate, faint floral hops in the background. Extremely light, drinkable and refreshing. Medium to low carbonation. Light mouthfeel with a touch of creaminess.

Overall: Another delicious brew from Alpine. This beer is very refreshing and sessionable in a major way. It has a great balance of richness and lightness from the floral hops and creamy nuttiness. Growler worthy.

 503 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Some times you find a beer that may not be immensely complex or for that matter it may never win an award, but it delivers a very satisfying and delicious experience. This is one of those beers. The body holds a clean honey complexion while the nose and flavor mirror that. Fresh wheat malt, honey sweetness, a touch of bran or barley and a soft perfumey flower petal meet the nose and palate. The feel is very clean and easy and though it drinks like water it is never watery. Perfect for hot weather or to be a simple sessionable ale.

 536 characters

Photo of seanbhudson
3.64/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw/golden color with a large white head. Very little lacing.
Light floral straw/wheat with a hint of sweet caramel.
Light sweet grain and hint of spiciness (like rye) at the end.
Light bodied beer that has a nice mouthfeel. Not dry or watery but finishes a bit crisp. Light fizzy carbonation.
Very easy drinking but not enough flavor to get excited about. Would be good on a hot summer day.

 487 characters

Photo of seaoflament
3.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light yellow with minimal amount of foam. Smells of sweet wheat malt, cherry, lemons, and a nutty aroma. Quite a different wheat beer that’s for sure. The taste is sweet upfront and nutty in the finish, it’s interesting. Beer is refreshing, crisp and light, would be a good one to have on a lazy hot weekend.

Yes, it's bottled now.

 348 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into SN tulip pint glass.

A: Pours a clear light golden with two fingers of fluffy bright white head that slowly faded into a thick fuzzy film that left a good network of lacing down the glass.
S: I get notes of dry wheat, chalky yeast, cracked grains and maybe a hint of spicy hops.
T: Follows the nose with crisp flavors of cracked wheat and clean yeast and grains. Light flavors all around, and nothing distracting. Finish is lightly sweet and the aftertaste has just the fainted suggestion of citrus. Not getting any hops at all.
M: Light bodied, crisp and drying mouthfeel, and light refreshing carbonation.
O: A really clean and refreshing drinking beer, but it’s pretty low on flavor. I bet a lot of BMC drinkers would like this. It’s good, but there are better versions of the style.

 811 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.57/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a growler picked up at the brewery less than a week ago. Pours a clear(unfiltered?) deep straw with a short lived half inch of head. Lacing is likewise light but present, along with a surface ring. Closer to a Kristalweizen in appearance, this beer isn't pretending to foray into the Hefeweizen arena as are many of the style.

Smells of light malt, wheat germ, wet bread dough and a drop of vanilla. I pick up an occasional tiny bit of sour lemony funk. Minor enough that I won't find it if I seek it.

Taste is smooth and crisp with definite wheat on the palate as well as a subtle and light hazelnut in the background. A light sweetness closes with some nondescript fruit flavors. Mouth feel is good as the beer has a light yet decent structure in the finish and a good carbonation. This, along with the light ABV make it quite drinkable, yet not extreme for the style.

A nice non pretentious and subtle ale that likely gets frequented during those hot summer months in Alpine.

 1,012 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Type: 22-oz. glass
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA glass
From: Alpine Beer Company Pub
Price: $4.79
Purchased: Nov. 12, 2014
Consumed: Nov. 16, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a golden, pale, clear color with one finger of off-white, grayish head that dissipated pretty quickly. Slow moving streams of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. No lacing on the sides of the glass. Minimal-to-no retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.00)

Smelled boozy lager notes up front. Got next day beer smell, sourdough bread, honey wheat, lemongrass, cereal and slight nuttiness. Got better the more I smelled it. (Smell - 3.50)

Tasted a bit better than the smell. Initially reminded me of a good summer brew. More citrusy notes than the smell. Got honey, lemon grassy notes, bready malts, some Citra hops, floral hops and the bottom of cereal milk. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, crisp finish. Rather refreshing. (Feel - 3.25)

This was an OK beer for the style. Not something I’d pick out normally, but crisp and refreshing. Great summer brew. (Overall - 3.50)

3.55 | 81 | B

 1,116 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright sunshine yellow with lemonade colored trim. A little haziness would add character, but so far the beer is perfectly clear. The sponge-like crown is polished ivory in color and has an appealing texture. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though lace will be abundant.

The nose is next to absent (note: warming opens things up just enough for an average score to be granted). That isn't surprising since untoasted wheat and untoasted barley are the only ingredients capable of contributing. A severe shortage of hops (only 4 IBUs) and the use of a non-estery ale yeast strain guarantee olfactory blandness.

Speaking of bland.... that's a perfect word to describe the flavor profile. I'm sure that Alpine was going for something relatively light and easily drinkable, but at some point beer needs to engage the taste buds if a brewery has any plans to sell to craft beer lovers.

Forget hop flavor and hop bitterness because neither one is present. Willy is pretty much a 'showcase' for malted wheat. Each sip delivers nothing more than sweetish cereal grains that taste remarkably fresh and vibrant. That last characteristic is what pushed the flavor score above average. Actually, the sweetness and a vanilla bean quality make it taste more like a cream ale than a pale wheat.

I'm aware that the styles are different, but Willy is what Budweiser and Miller High Life would taste like in a perfect world. I take back the word 'bland' (at least with regard to the flavor). The beer is extremely simple, but it's also pretty good if one has the right mindset. Just don't pair it with food, because what flavor exists would then disappear completely.

The body/mouthfeel is as it should be. It's closer to medium than light, with an impressive amount of 'hang on' and carbonation that is right on the money. Keeping ale in contact with taste buds for a fraction longer helps the flavor make a positive impression.

Willy isn't impressive beer by any means, but that doesn't mean that it isn't good beer. It's grown on me quite a bit from start to (almost) finish and is an offering that I hope Alpine continues to brew. Just think of it as Pure Hoppiness's polar opposite.

 2,176 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.52/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Light golden, pretty clear, not much head nor lace.

S - VERY light grass, wheat straw type smell. Not much else.

T - Pleasant enough flavor, matches smell pretty well.

M - Light bodied, ample carbonation, not much to balance.

D - It's hot and this is perfect right now.

 277 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this one.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a hazy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, yeasty, grassy, some spice, and caramel. The taste is malty/yeasty, some sourness, grass notes, spicy, with some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, not too bad.

 346 characters

Photo of mjl21
3.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle purchased from Hi Times. Poured into a Moonlight Brewing Company pint glass. Comes in at 4.9%. No bottling info is given.

A-Pours a clear, light colored straw yellow. It has a one finger almost white colored head that breaks out to a ring fairly quickly.

S-Not very exciting. I get the sweet white wheat malt used in the beer, some grain, and a touch of lemon.

T-It starts with some definite sweetness from the white wheat malt. There is some lemon zest that is evident in every sip and is strong on the finish. It has a grain flavor but it is not coarse or distracting. In between sips the sweetness lingers.

M-It falls on the lighter end of the medium spectrum. I found the carbonation to be a touch too light for me.

D-This is designed to be a lower abv session beer. I can see drinking this if you want to have a few on a hot day. I wouldn't pass it up if offered, but its sweetness would mean I wouldn't actively seek it out.

This is a very accessible beer for those who may not opt for Alpine's hoppy offerings.

 1,039 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber at the Alpine Frontier Liquor Store in late May.

Beer poured a straw yellow that has good clarity. Small white head remains from initial pour. Nose is non-desript, wheat malt and nothing else. Taste is wheat malt with a hint of vanilla lingering in the back. Mouthfeel is light, moderate carbonation makes it refreshing. Drinkability is pretty good, this is a nice beer for a 103 degree fall day in the desert!

 431 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My pour resulted in a finger of foamy, bone-white head with solid retention. Color was a sunshine-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a light malty sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a mild sweetness. The label mentioned "a slightly sweet, nutty flavor." I got the nuttiness on the finish, kind of pecan or almond. This was perfect following a day at Petco Park in the blazing sun.

 388 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a hazy golden yellow with a white head that recedes to a fresh collar
S-wheat malt and lemon grass some citrus and fruity peels and biscuit smells
T- watery wheat with a lemon spritzer taste some malts and bread slight hops
M- watery with medium carbonation
O- easy to drink but not very tasty

 303 characters

Photo of franksnbeans
3.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy straw color with a minimal white soapy head. Nothing much in the nose, a little grain and a hint of sweet malt. A minor nut flavor then the rest is corn like. Very minimal taste. Thin in the mouth but not crisp. Drinkable if you want something very light and flavorless.

 285 characters

Photo of lsummers
3.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a bright golden yellow. Cloudy with a thin lisp of an off white head.

Smell is fantastic, lemon with a touch of orange and some floral notes. Biscuity sweetness.

Taste is initially not as impressive as the smell. It's very refreshing and crisp but has a watered down feel. That lemony clove hit initially with some very subtle wheat malt on the backend.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Maybe too light.

Overall, I think this is a good session beer, it just has a lighter, watered down note that doesn't serve it well. I was initially hoping for a more flavorful beer based off the smell.

 595 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
3.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a Deschutes snifter glass. No bottle date present, but believe it's from late August from the trade I ran.

A: Pours a clear yellow color. Half finger bright white head. Not a lot of lacing. Low alcohol so no real feet.

S: Really malt forward. Their is some crisp hop flavor but age might have got to this one.

T: Really crisp clean wheat/pale ale. Even with some age it still has some hop bite. Not much going down here.

M: Light bodied with no real mouth coating.

O: I gotta go B- on this Alpine beer, which pains me to do. I love all their IPAs but this one falls a little below the mark.

 620 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear golden yellow with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, wheat, hay, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with wheat and grain flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that has a pretty solid wheat and grain aroma, but the flavors are a bit boring in my opinion.

 581 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Willy from Alpine Beer Company
3.26 out of 5 based on 169 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.