Willy | Alpine Beer Company

52 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 169
Photo of Bitterbill
1.55/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I bought this from South Bay D & L. Thanks Joey!

This pours a slightly hazy straw gold with a good 2 finger head of foam with some nice lacing. Pretty good head retention.

The smell is of wheat, lemon, some spice, and something else that resembles Brett but kind of...wait for it...also resembles a fart. That's what my nose buds are saying, folks. Don't blame me.

The taste is very lemony. It over powers the other flavours which I note as being wheat and an earthiness. Weird tasting for the style and not something that I'd say I'm enjoying. It's light bodied and it finishes very watery. Yuck. I don't think I'll be able to finish the bottle...

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Photo of DoubleJ
1.93/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm looking for someting easy to drink tonight, and Willy promises to be the one. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

The head drops quicky to a small plot of thin whitehead on top the beer. Faded golden color, maybe sandy blonde, with a clean filtered body. Yawn. It smells like a cheap macro lager. Sweet corny adjuncts is what I'm getting, odd lemon, funny chemicals, and husky malt. I'm not impressed with the nose.

Why does this have that macro lager corny taste to it? I can't really make out the wheat used in this beer. There's a light floral note, which is nice, but that oversweet yellow corn aftertaste with oddball chemical flavoring added is wipes out the potential of Willy being even a decent thirst buster. Light in the mouth, light carbonation, sort of watery...is this seriously a wheat ale?

Willy is better than some adjunct lagers. But the problem is that Willy is a wheat ale, not an adjunct lager. Better luck next time!

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Photo of dmsohyea
2.03/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On-tap at the Alpine brewpub.

A - light, straw yellow and very clear. No head or lacing to be seen.

S - Getting a good bit of skunk on the nose. Not enjoying the smell of this one at all. Some faint honey, wheat and orange notes come through under the skunk.

T - Tastes worse than it smells. A little lemon and orange but the yeast is overpowering to all other flavors. And the yeast tastes bad to me. You may like it if you're bit into whitbeers, but this one isn't to my liking.

M - Extremely watery and carbonated. Think Corona.

O - Not a beer I'll be sampling again. It hurts me to crush Alpine like this, but I couldn't finish 4 oz of this beer.

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Photo of snpub540
2.45/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a very fizzy pale yellow hue into my pint glass. Had a one finger white head that turned into fizzy bubbles fast. Not a bit of lacing.

Can't really say much about the smell. Grainy, slightly bready, and that's about it.

Taste was pretty much like a generic American lager. Really had not a lot going on.

Mouthfeel was very thin. Not a fan of this one at all.

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Photo of errantnight
2.48/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

#2 in my quest to try The Other Alpine Beers Which Are Not Pure Hoppiness... and equally, if not more, disappointing than the last.

Pours a pale, slightly hazy straw with minimal head and no lacing.

Smell is initially a bit musty and tangy, amidst a grainy corn character.

Tastes... like a bad mix between a mediocre pilsner and an American Wheat. Which makes it out to be worse than it sounds... it's kinda neutral and non-terrible, pretty much what one would expect from an American Wheat of no particular distinction. Flavor is a bit muddled by a cooked corn note, particularly early, but it's pretty clean, medium to light bodied, crisp, largely inoffensive. The corn is just a bit much, and it ultimately intrudes on the grain and wheat characters, which are also pretty straightforward. No hop character to speak of except as part of an appropriate balance.

I'd expect a beer of this caliber from a "nothing-special" local brewpub, or as a reasonable home-brew... not from a brewery capable of so much more. Don't bother.

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Photo of regspeir
2.5/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Disclaimer - I doubt this will ever be I style I could love, even though this brewery makes some of the world's most wonderful beers. Got this in a trade with hamilton23 (thank you!). 22 oz bottle into a wizen glass. This beer poured a light yellow with a tiny white head which disappeared almost immediately. There was almost no lacing to speak of. The nose was wheat, yeast, and some lemon zest but very faint. Taste was similar, i.e. wheat, yeast and a tiny lemon tinge. There was little carbonation and the mouthfeel was very light. While not displeasing, this is the most forgettable beer from a great brewery. I have had 9 Alpine beers and this is the ONLY one I would pass on, if offered.

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Photo of kevanb
2.52/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bomber into an Alpine Pint glass.

Pours a really bright golden straw color, no head at all. It's super transparent and looks basically like a bud, not very inviting at all. It smells better than it looks, but not much better, acidic, bit of wheat, but really smells more like a lager than a wheat ale. Again, I'm reminded of Bud here. Flavors are bland, no wheat at all, more acid and bits of lemon, not even a hint of biscuit or bread. It goes down pretty easily, I'll give it that, has a surprisingly nice body and the carbonation is a bit much, but not annoyingly so.

Verdict: Not very pleasant at all. I drain poured it, a real let down from Alpine who are pretty good at making a world class beer.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.6/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into my Hulk pint glass.

Thin bubbly white head that quickly dies down to a thing ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Extremely pale straw golden yellow in color and completely clear.

Smells almost like a light lager. Nothing really special here.

Tastes kinda like a light lager as well. Some light sweet malts. Mild hop presence on the end. Pretty unimpressive.

Mouthfeel is pretty low bodied with medium carbonation and a nice bite.

So basically this isn't a whole lot better than a light beer. It was kind of a bummer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.76/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz Bomber served right out of the fridge and poured into a Pint Glass

A – Poured a very nice and crystal clear amber color with a very nice three finger high head of fizzy and foamy white froth across the top. Very nice retention as this hung around for a good few moments before finally settling down into a thin pillow of white the reached across the entire top of the glass and started to coat the sides. Very nice carbonation as there were streams of visible bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass and racing towards the top to reinforce the foam across the top. As the contents of the glass went down there was some nice side glass lace that started to become visible and drip down the sides of the glass giving it a rather nice look for a pale lager.

S – The aroma was very musty and just chock full of malts. This had to be one of the strongest aromas of musty bread that I have ever smelled coming off a brew. To be honest it set me back a little bit as I was not expecting it to be so strong of an aroma. Some other hints inside alluded to lots of grains, and a somewhat muted, but still present smell of apricots, very clear with this smell, and not really sure where it was coming from, but it was definitely there, but suppressed by the large dose of malty bread coming through.

T – Now again I have to be honest an upfront, this was not my favorite thing in the world that I have ever tried. That being said I can proceed. The flavor seemed old to me, like, I know this seems weird, but a sweaty gym sock, if you know what I mean you can figure where it went from there, if not, it was a very musky, almost moldy type of taste with a somewhat muted but still bitter aftertaste, but not really in a good way. It did not taste “skunked” or bad really, just a style and a flavor I do not care for. There were hints of apricots again, and a ton of bread and other malts inside, but to be honest, it just was not there for me. I am not sure just what it was, but every sip seemed a little more painful then the next, so I just chugged the rest of it.

M – Very light bodied ale, with more then ample carbonation; this was definitely trying to be a light crisp refreshing sort of drink. Now had it not been for the taste, it would have pulled that off just about perfectly, as the feel was light, well carbonated, and crisp and clean. It was the flavor that really threw me off and made it quite unpleasant.

D – Now this is a loaded question. On one hand, it is low ABV, crisp, clean and well carbonated with a very light body. Now all of this would lend itself to being a very sessionable ale with loads of drinkability potential. For me though the flavor just killed it. Again it’s hard for me to describe, but it was just a musky old type of flavor that I just did not find enjoyable.

Overall I was sad that this did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I really did think this was going to be quite good and actually was going to try and get some to have as it seemed like it would be perfect to enjoy while watching a game or something, but the flavor was just not up to my tastes. It’s a shame to as I have loved everything coming out of Alpine so far, just not this one. But you know what; I try so many new things I am bound to find one I do not like. I am still glad I tried it though, different, just not my thing.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I've grown to love Alpine within the past week after visiting their brewery. Purchased at the brewery two days ago.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Poured with average vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours evenly, with no signs of flawed carbonation. Pours a thin one finger beige colour head of no real cream and poor thickness. Colour is a clear pale yellow. Looks pretty off for a wheat beer. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Stale malts and plain barley. Background hopping. Stale lemon. Pleasant fresh wheat. Vague citrus. No yeast comes through. A mild strength aroma. I don't get the "nutty" character the label describes. Maybe in the taste...

T: Yeah, a little bit. There's a nutty character there. Plus the usual suspects: wheat, malts, and barley. The nut is mainly on the open, generating a strange structural balance. It's not watery, thankfully - but it is quite simple. I like what they're going for, but it's a bit pedestrian by Alpine standards. There's nothing unique or special here. It's clean and pleasant, but offers little in the way of complexity or subtlety.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Overcarbonated. A touch thin. Loses its body in the third act, leaving an empty flavour that is a rather bland way to close it out.

Dr: Pedestrian. Alpine does far better. This is one to skip if you're getting Alpine. I wouldn't get it again. Something of a disappointment. Overpriced. Drinkable but meh. Low alcohol.


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Photo of mactrail
2.88/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Light yellow in color with a slight foam that drops off fairly rapidly. Carbonation on the tongue is pleasant, however, for a while. Slightly sweet at first sip. Flavors are thin. Body is light. A little bit of orange peel flavor. Hopping is "mild and gentle," as they say on the label. Aroma is faintly malty and cardboardy. Drinkable, but it's more like a lager gone slightly off.

Ends with a metallic taste on the lips and some earthy, dirty hops. Certainly the classic flavor profile for the American wheat category, which is turning out to be one of my least favorites. A 22 oz bottle from the Olive Tree in OB.

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Photo of beerloverinmanila
2.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light golden in appearance.
Medium head. Lemony aroma.
Clean and crisp, very little bitterness, very easy to drink. The wheat is not that dominant though.

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Photo of FosterJM
2.95/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

520th review on BA
Draft to pint
@Alpine Beer Pub

App- This was almost water clear with some yellow food coloring. No head just a thin layer of bubbles.

Smell- Very very light. A base of wheat with a little bit of peel or zest on the nose

Taste- Taste follows the nose. Its a run of the mill APWA but doesnt bring a whole lot to the table. Glad I had this on tap vs bottle.

Mouth- Light bodied and high carbed. Left just a watery wheat taste.

Drink- It was okay, just a base beer to appease the masses with something light. No real flavors behind it.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Alpine

A: Pale golden color with a thin tan head. Looks very lager-ish.

S: Toasted malt and sweet wheat aroma with a little mustiness to it. A little sweeter than I'd expect.

T: Lots of cereal and buttery yeast throughout. A hint of wheat, but there's a huge sweetness throughout that makes it a little hard to get through. Not really a fan.

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Photo of Sixofsigmas
3.01/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a slightly and I mean slightly muddled pale yellow. It's almost clear, but not quite.

Smell is wheat-ish...some sort of faint citrus...lemon most likely

Taste is strangely not overly dominated by wheat. Very mild and indifferent. You can taste that it's a beer lol.

The mouth is bubbly and pleasing.

This beer is very drinkable, but as others have mentioned, it's a summer brew best encountered at the beach or on a hot day.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.06/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a weizen glass. No dating info but Milt picked this up at the brewery and shipped it so it's fresh. Was a slightly hazy pale yellow color with massive carb streams. It had a good sized white head that settled into a constant small foam cap. Quick sliding lace with some sticking.

The aroma was very weak. Lemon, wheat and not much else. Alpine usually has such good aromas but this one is way off the mark. The taste followed the aroma. Weak with lemon and wheat. The whole thing seems to be dumbed down to just be easy to put down without much consideration on the aroma or taste. It probably has a home but I'm way down the road from this one. Mouthfeel was light and a little watery.

Overall, a miss from an outstanding brewery. Just didn't have anything there to grab onto. Not available here - got shipped as an extra to fill out the box full of Ned's. Rotation - one is enough as they have more more excellent beers to have when out west. [N;N]

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Photo of rallison
3.06/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Slightly hazy light golden color with mostly no head.

S: Citrusy with a slight toasted character. There is also a touch of diacetyl as well, unfortunately.

T: Relatively light flavor with citrusy hops and a decent touch of toasted malts. Diacetyl is slightly present in a sweet, buttery presence. Decent, but nothing special.

M: Decent. Lighter body with medium carbonation.

D: Decent. It's easy enough to drink, but the flavor does get a bit boring.

Overall, meh. Nothing really drew me back to this. It's ok, but I really don't see buying this again. Maybe, without the diacetyl. But, as is, it is flawed and a bit too simple.

Edit: Man, the diacetyl is getting annoying.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.08/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tulip glass.

A: Pours clear pale with a quarter finger of white foam which quickly fizzles out, leaving a ring of large bubbles.

S: Briefly I get some lemon, reminding me of a chardonnay, and then some malt. The smell is pretty faint.

T: Basically just malt with some sweetness. After awhile the sweetness kind of wears you down. Decently long finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Kind of flabby.

O: Pretty mediocre, and the sweetness limits its drinkability. I'm amazed at how mediocre Alpine's regular rotation is given that it's one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of tpd975
3.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another day another new beer at Downtown Johnny Brown's San Diego.

A: Pours a somewhat cloudy lemon yellow hue. Foamy white head with good retention. No lace.

S: Rather muted. Very light wheat aroma, not much else.

T: Um, wheat, once again very muted. Expected so much more out of a wheat ale from Alpine.... Come on guys where's the hops? You know hops use at least a touch of them.

M: Light and refreshing.

D: My wife liked it, which true to form means I don't.

I will forget Alpine makes this one and concentrate on the dozen or so other beers that are out of this world good.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a moderately translucent gold. Head is mild with good retention, good thick lace.

S: Lemony citrus and wheat malt, bland.

T: Definite direct wheaty pasta flavour initially. Meyer lemon and almonds as well, mild sweetness. Hop character is very light, just a mild noble type hit at the very end just in case you forgot this beer was made in San Diego County.

M: Crisp and refreshing, off-dry finish. Light bodied for sure, but rather a big beer in this category.

D: Prerry standard APWA though with a little more oomph. Would make a solid summertime selection, but not really memorable.

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Photo of Sandalwood
3.16/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a golden yellow color with a smell white head with a lot of carbonation. The odor is grassy, herbal, spicy, citrus, lemon, apricot, orange, slight passion fruit. The taste is refreshing, light, lemon, spices, clove, coriander, fruity, slight bread like, not bitter.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.18/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 9.11.12.

A - Pours a clear, light yellow with a fizzy white head that is gone quickly.

S - Nutty and sweet. Very light.

T - Nutty and a touch of sweet carmel. Very pilsner-like finish.

D - Good carbonation with very light body.

O - Light and crisp, nice nutty and carmel flavors.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.2/5  rDev -1.8%

Poured from the bottle into a wheat ale glass.

Thin head, off white, and very fleeting, barely makes a finger off the pour. Settles to a very thin puck, but gives a thin slightly hazy barely golden lemon body. Lots of carbonation, but barely keepin a two milimeter collar alive. Beer looks a little dead on arrival.

Aroma is not particularly impressive. Slightly dough malts but an off sense of rancid grain a bit. Manages a husky quality but there's an off sensation that almost borders vegetative character. Some decent quality and faint sweetness and chew hiding, but totally buried. Very borderline could go either way.

Palate mentions to show up. A surprising splash of lemon citrus and density, but an extremely fleeting palate. All the flavor is in the aftertaste. Bakery white bread finish and dough. Surprisingly very wet texture, with a flattened soda like carbonation. Warmth brings a bit more controlled flavor and drinkability, as the chewy character seems to build.

There's a good beer in here screaming to show up, but it just doesn't get out. Much better APWAs out there, and unfortunate bit of underwhelming brew from Alpine. Still drinkable.

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Photo of hophead247
3.2/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty hazy orange gold, with a medium pearly white head. The aroma was mostly of orange citrus, some tartness, with hints of sweet wheat notes. The flavor was mostly citric, lots of that orange peel, mild wheat flavors, and a touch of candy sugar. Not really your typical wheat flavors, seems more like a Belgian ale or saison to me. Not really complex or interesting at all, just fruity and a bit bland. Wasnt impressed here.

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Photo of nickd717
3.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from K&L Redwood City. I was so excited to see Alpine there that I just had to buy this one.

All right, time to Free Willy, or as iTunes' idiotic censorship algorithm puts it, Free W***y. Willy comes out of the bottle looking the color of, well, something that came out of a willy: pee. If not for the fact that it had better head retention than the infamous yellow liquid, I would be a little wary of drinking this. The beer is crystal clear and I don't see much to differentiate it from, say, Budweiser.

The aroma is wheaty, grainy, and subtle. Just a little citrus, without much real hop presence.

The flavor is also very simple. Wheaty and grainy with sweet pale malt and lemon. Very mildly sweet and not very bitter - not much of anything really. This is subtle as all hell.

Very smooth on the mouthfeel. Goes down almost like air. Fairly dry mouthfeel with a body on the lighter side.

Overall, well, I guess it's decent for what it is. Session beer? HELL NO! Not a session beer! There are British people who would kill me for claiming that, being >4.000% ABV. It is sessionable, or successionable, though.

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Willy from Alpine Beer Company
3.26 out of 5 based on 169 ratings.
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