• 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.”