Tasting Notes: A Sneak Peek at Samuel Adams New England IPA

Photo Credit: Mashing In

For this week’s edition of Tasting Notes, we somehow stumble upon the opportunity to preview the soon-to-be widely released New England IPA from Samuel Adams (Boston, Massachusetts).

Since Samuel Adams is truly synonymous with the region of New England, it only makes sense for them to get in on craft beer’s recent IPA haze craze by brewing their own New England IPA.  Staying true to the more classic representations of the style (think Heady Topper from The Alchemist), the Samuel Adams New England IPA showcases an “opaque, hazy appearance”, a fruity hop presence with minimal bitterness, and a “juicy, luscious mouthfeel.”

Please, do not be confused by the blank sample cans we received. Packaging is in place (see promo image at the top of this post, credit: Samuel Adams), and this new Year-Round offering is currently experiencing a gradual rollout in Boston and select cities/states.  New England IPA will eventually see nationwide distribution after the New Year with availability in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft.

That should just about cover all of the background information on Samuel Adams New England IPA, so let’s get into some Tasting Notes to see what this new brew is all about.

Tasting Notes for New England IPA from Samuel Adams

Appearance – This brew is a sunburst orange in color that has some darker amber tones residing within the center of the pour.  When held to direct light, the oranges and yellows brighten at the edges while that amber core actually holds and deepens.  The beer has a good amount of haze to it, and a steady carbonation level can just barely be seen coursing within.  The pour built a lush two fingers of eggshell white foam.  Retention is pretty fantastic, falling ever so slowly to a creamy, lasting finger that sheets the glass with wide sweeping patterns of lace.

Aroma –   Very nice here with intensely juicy citrus and tropical fruit notes filling the air.  We are talking about massive amounts of pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine and passionfruit.  These fruity tones dominate the profile, but a bit of grassy and earthy character can be found underneath.

Taste – The flavor nearly mirrors the nose as an ample tropical fruit presence bursts with notes of passionfruit, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, papaya and berry.  A faint pine and earthy quality does eventually move in alongside a guava-like note that is further supported by a trace of non-descript malt sweetness.  This thing is basically a liquid fruit bowl.

Mouthfeel – Residing a touch on the heavier side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this beer is creamy and smooth in texture.  It dries out quickly, causing any hint of hop bitterness to dissipate immediately.  Its 6.8% ABV is not at all noticeable, keeping the experience refreshing and easy drinking.  The aftertaste leaves behind faint traces of pineapple and sweet citrus.

Final Thoughts – In a craft beer world gone hazy, this New England IPA from Samuel Adams certainly holds its own.  The mouthfeel is right, bitterness is minimal, the aromatics and flavors are juicy as hell, and it is definitely pretty to look at it.  By definition, this is absolutely a NE-style IPA/Hazy IPA and should be taken seriously as such.  Like all Samuel Adams beers, this offering benefits from a respected lineage that unquestionably puts quality at the forefront. That being the case, New England IPA gets some serious bonus points when you consider the fact that is about to become the most solid, consistent and easily attainable Hazy IPA on the market.  Seriously, keep an eye out for this one when it makes its full nationwide release at the start of 2018. Prost!



The 2017 Vintage of Samuel Adams Utopias has Arrived

utopiasdetail--en--d9106a3e-f7e0-4f94-b950-cab7b3c930f8_editedThe Boston Beer Company/Samuel Adams (Boston, Massachusetts) has officially announced the 10th release of the highly-coveted Samuel Adams Utopias.

Widely known as “the craft beer community’s most renowned and sought-after extreme barrel-aged beer”, Samuel Adams Utopias has returned for a 2017 vintage.  Defiant of any style classification, this unique, 28% ABV brew begins with “a special blend of two-row pale malt combined with Munich and Caramel 60 malts that impart a rich, ruby color.”  To balance the sweetness from those malts, the beer then receives three varieties of German Noble hops: Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, and Tettnang Tettnanger.  Once the brewing is complete, Utopias then undergoes a proprietary fermentation process with “several yeast strains . . .  including one typically reserved for champagne and a “ninja yeast,” created for its ability to survive and continue fermenting in an environment that has such a high alcohol level.”

To complete this labor-intensive offering, “a portion of this freshly brewed beer is then aged in hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery while the rest is aged in a variety of barrels including Bourbon, White Carcavelos, and Ruby Port.”  This year’s vintage was also given an added twist by being the first Utopias to see “Aquavit barrels, a Scandinavian spirit with distinct flavor from spices and herbs, primarily caraway or dill.”  After carefully aging the beer, the brewers at Samuel Adams created “the final 2017 blend by sampling and blending barrel-aged beer including 24-year-old Triple Bock and 17-year-old Millennium, as well as previous Utopias vintages, Kosmic Mother Funk, and a variety of barrel-aged blends.”  With the blend finalized, a portion of 2017 Utopias was finished in “Moscat barrels, a wine known for its slightly smoky character.”  When all is said and done, a sip of Utopias “is reminiscent of a rich vintage Port, old Cognac, or fine Sherry with notes of dark fruit, subtle sweetness, and a deep rich malty smoothness.”

“My original idea for Utopias was to push the boundaries of craft beer by brewing an extreme beer that was unlike anything any brewer had conceived. We’ve continued to stretch the boundaries in brewing with the release of our tenth vintage and I’m proud to present to drinkers this lunatic fringe of extreme beer worthy of the Utopias name.”

– Jim Koch, Samuel Adams Founder & Brewer 

With “only 68 wooden casks of Utopias created in 2017″, that means there are “roughly 13,000 bottles” of 2017 Utopias available for nationwide distribution.  You can track down this incredibly rare Limited Release “at select specialty beer and liquor stores for a suggested retail price of $199 per bottle” (price may vary by location).  Happy hunting and good luck out there, folks.  Prost!

Vital Information for Samuel Adams Utopias (2017) from Samuel Adams

Release – Limited, 2017 vintage release late-October 2017
Style – N/A
ABV – 28%
IBUs – 25
Malts – Samuel Adams Two-Row Pale Malt blend, Caramel 60 & Munich
Hops – Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittelfrueh & Tettnang Tettnanger
Added Ingredients – Maple syrup
Aging Process – Portions of the beer are aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon casks along with a variety of barrels including Bourbon, White Carcavelos, Ruby Port, Aquavit & Moscat
Blending Process – The final blend is comprised of the various barrels of aged Utopias base beer and other barrel-aged beer “including 24-year-old Triple Bock and 17-year-old Millennium, as well as previous Utopias vintages, Kosmic Mother Funk, and a variety of barrel-aged blends”
Availability – 24 oz. bottle 
Beer Finder – http://www.samueladams.com/find-a-sam

Samuel Adams Expands Rebel Lineup with Addition of Rebel Juiced IPA

unnamed-1Samuel Adams/The Boston Beer Company (Boston, Massachusetts) recently announced that Rebel Juiced IPA is the latest offering to join the brewery’s Rebel IPA series.

Samuel Adams is continuing to step up their IPA game with Rebel Juiced IPA arriving as the newest addition to the Rebel Family, a growing series of India Pale Ales that has the brewery experimenting with various new and exciting hop varietals.  Loaded with “juicy, citrusy” Mandarina and Mosaic hops, Rebel Juiced IPA is then dosed with an “extra shot of mango juice” to create a tropical IPA experience sure to please any hop head out there.

Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA is classified as a year-round offering.  Although it is currently only available on draft, 12 oz. bottles are expected to roll out at the start of 2017.  Look for this one to be pouring at craft beer-friendly establishments in Alabama, Florida, and throughout the nationwide distribution footprint of Samuel Adams. Prost!

Vital Information for Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA from Samuel Adams/The Boston Beer Company

Release – Year-round
Style – India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.2%
IBUs – 55
Hops – Zeus, Mosaic & Mandarina
Malts – Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend
Special Ingredients – Mango juice
Availability – Currently available on draft only.  6-packs of 12 oz. bottles to come in 2017
Beer Finder (a.k.a. Find A Sam) – http://www.samueladams.com/find-a-sam

Samuel Adams OctoberFest makes annual return

ofestsaOne of the more popular beers of the season has officially returned to shelves and taps with the release of OctoberFest from Samuel Adams/The Boston Beer Company (Boston, Massachusetts).

It does not seem like Oktoberfest season begins in the American beer community until Samuel Adams OctoberFest turns up at your favorite bar or beer retailer.   The reach of this award-winning and respected offering now extends beyond the U.S. as it has received the honor of being “the only American Octoberfest style beer poured in Munich during the 2016 Oktoberfest celebration.”  First brewed in 1989, this long-standing seasonal offering welcomes fall with a deep malt experience producing caramel, toffee, roasty and bready notes.  A light Bavarian hop character and medium body provides support for this malt complexity and rounds off this Märzen-style Lager with a clean, smooth finish.

“Each year we look forward to brewing OctoberFest and toasting the 200-plus-year-old German tradition of Oktoberfest,” said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams. “The return of OctoberFest symbolizes the return of fall and Oktoberfest celebrations across the country, and we look forward to hoisting thousands of steins this season.”

Samuel Adams OctoberFest is officially available nationwide now and will hang around through the month of October.  Look for this offering to be available on draft and in the following packaging options: 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles for a suggested retail price of $7.99 to $9.99; 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and Sam Cans for a suggested retail price of $14.99 to $17.99; and 16 oz. single cans for a suggested retail price of $1.99 to $2.49.  You can also find OctoberFest in Fall Variety 12-packs (suggested retail price of $14.99 to $17.99) and 24-packs (suggested retail price of $22.99 to $24.99) alongside Boston Lager, Hoppy Red, Toasted Caramel Bock, Bonfire Blonde and Maple Ale. Pick one of these many options to enjoy Samuel Adams OctoberFest in 2016 and get into the spirit of Fest Season in proper fashion.  Prost!

Vital Information for Samuel Adams OctoberFest from The Boston Beer Company

Availability – Seasonal, available now through October
ABV – 5.3%
IBUs – 16
Hops – Tettnang Tettnanger, Hallertau Mittelfrueh
Malts – Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Munich-10, Samuel Adams Octoberfest malt, and Caramel 60
Yeast – Bottom-fermenting Lager
Packaging – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and cans, 16 oz. single cans, and on draft. Also available in the Fall Variety 12-packs and 24-packs of 12 oz. bottles.
Distribution – Nationwide