Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale

Wowza!-Canmain 4_5

Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale

Pale Ale / Deschutes Low / 4%

100 calories, 4g of carbs, 4% ABV and a crisp, light finish, this full-flavored yet crushable, citrusy hazy pale ale will make you say Wowza!

I’m not breaking any news when I tell you that smart companies in all kinds of different industries are putting out health-conscious options to attract those who are trying to take better care of their bodies. The craft beer industry is no exception. I’m not sure if it’s particularly easy to lower the calorie count and alcohol content of pale ales or if breweries are simply trying to take a proven commodity and create a healthier version. But many of the low-cal beer options on the market appear to be hazy IPAs, with varying levels of success.

So it should come as no surprise that one of the largest “craft” breweries in the country wants to get in on the fun. Deschutes Brewing, out of Bend, Oregon, is perhaps most famous for their flagship Fresh Squeezed IPA, so they know a thing or two about crafting a juicy pale ale. Enter Wowza!, their lo-cal hazy pale ale that comes in at just 4.0 percent alcohol by volume and exactly 100 calories per 12-ounce can.

I’m a fan of Deschutes as a brewery, and like most craft beer drinker these days, I am also a fan of hazys. As someone who is also quite aware of my personal health, it would seem this brew was designed specifically for me. But I admittedly have found mixed results with these types of offerings. Keeping something tasty while limiting calories and alcohol can be tricky. Let’s dive in and come up with a Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale review.

Is Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale Good?

The can of Wowza! has an interesting label, with a white backdrop and a panel full of wavy, almost psychedelic lines. As with all beers of this kind that I’ve seen, the nutritional information is prominently displayed on the front. It is clearly being marketed based on its healthier characteristics.

The back of the can has some additional information but nothing overly remarkable. “Embrace the impossible” seems like a bit of an overstatement. The cans are conditioned to maintain freshness longer, and the beer has some citrus elements. I like accumulating all the info that I can going in, so I can accurately evaluate how well the brew lives up to its intentions.

In a pint glass, Wowza! appears a bit brighter golden in color than I would have guessed. There is a generous amount of opaque haze but not much fluffy head to speak of and only a small amount of noticeable carbonation.

The dominant scent on the nose is piney hops, with some definite citrus notes underlying, potentially pineapple and grapefruit. There isn’t much malty sweetness present, but I do sense some. It’s a full aromas, which is always nice to find when you have concern that things might be toned down too far. I also get little bits of bread and earth, but the pine is what truly comes through.

The appearance and aroma are promising. And while that is all well and good, we know that flavor is what really matters and the only thing that can answer the question, “Is Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale good?”

Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale Review

As I mentioned before, when diving into one of these low-calorie brews one thing I’m wary of is the possibility that the flavor profile may be watered down or subdued simply from the removal of important elements. That is decidedly different, however, than something being refreshingly light, which Wowza! is.

I’m all for strong, experimental flavors in my beer, but the real key is always balance, and this beer seems very balanced to me. That pine hoppiness is absolutely present but far from overpowering. Just as on the nose, there is a hint of caramel malt underneath that hoppiness. And the citrus comes through at a really nice level, pineapple being the predominent element there.

The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and the body is slightly lighter than average. For me personally, that leads to visions of downing a few of these on a sunny spring day, be it at a cookout or by the side of a pool. The lowered alcohol content is somewhat apparent in the lack of bite that this beer has, but it doesn’t take much away because the flavor is still there.

I’m not sure I would use the word crisp to describe the finish, but there is no real lingering hoppiness, just a quick fade that prepares you for the next sip. Overall, the flavor profile just strikes that nice balance. Varied but not terribly complex. Smooth but not lacking. Hoppy but not overwhelmingly so.

Despite being another low-calorie pale ale, I definitely found some characteristics in this beer that are new to me. We’ll see how all of those elements factor into my final Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale rating.

Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale Rating

It’s almost impossible for me to take in this brew and not compare it in each category to every other low-abv, low-calorie pale ale. They all have a bit of citrus. They all have at least a bit of haze. Most of them are dominated by the hop profile. But, in my opinion, this one has the most balanced body.

That being said, I’m not sure if I can give it a full 5-star rating. I think that it could benefit from a bit more crispness on the tongue. I think some people might be turned off by the subdued bitterness, as there is typically a “more is better” mindset around hazy pale ales. And while all of the flavors are pleasant and come through at good levels, it could stand to add another element or two in order to fill out its profile.

For the most part, Wowza! met the expectations that I had for it, while not fulfilling any of the concerns that I had going in. Still, it could use a small nudge to take it over the top. As it stands, I am compelled to end this Deschutes Wowza! Hazy Pale Ale review by awarding it 4 out of 5 stars. You could do a lot worse than this drinkable option when you want something flavorful that won’t sit too heavy in the stomach.


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