• Alexi Front
  • A snifter of American Muscle

Maybe for you double IPAs are to craft beer what Chuck Norris jokes are to the Internet—weird macho nonsense that was only halfway entertaining to begin with and has definitely overstayed its welcome. (“There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but it was changed because nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives,” for instance. Or “Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.”) In that case you’ll probably want to skip this week’s column, because Local Option Bierwerker‘s American Muscle double IPA is the kind of beer that can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves. Its alcohol content is a burly 12.5 percent, and in the words of the Option’s Alexi Front, it’s meant to be balanced but “obnoxious.”

American Muscle isn’t the first Bierwerker beer I’ve reviewed—you may remember my posts on Voku Hila (a maibock) and La Petite Mort (a modified weizenbock aged in bourbon barrels). But it’s by far the most aggressive. This is the third batch, and the first to be brewed at Dark Horse‘s facilities in Marshall, Michigan; the first two, both brewed at Against the Grain in Louisville, arrived in spring and fall 2012. It’s made with four American hops and an all-malt mash—that is, Bierwerker brewer Noah Hopkins decided to shoot for 12.5 percent alcohol without leaning on any of the fermentable syrups or adjuncts sometimes used to boost the strength of a beer. In the Local Option’s words, it’s “built like houses used to be built.”

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.