Sunday, May 5, 2013

Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA review

Samuel Adams Whitewater IPAI don't usually drink a Samuel Adams beer, but when I do, I drink one that I haven't tried before. Besides their flagship beers, Samuel Adams, aka the Boston Beer Company, puts out a huge variety of one-offs and seasonals. For Spring, they put out one called Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA. It's a wheat beer brewed with apricots and spices, yet bittered like an IPA.

Whitewater IPA weighed in at 5.8% ABV and came in a 6-pack of 12oz bottles. I ended up trying this beer during a beer swap during a recent poker night at a friend's house. I was curious how a wheat IPA would taste, particularly when mixed with fruit and spices.

The label stated that in order to be enjoyed fresh, this beer should be consumed by June 2013. I had a few weeks remaining before expiration for this full review. Hoppy beers should be enjoyed right away to get the full effect of the hops. Would a beer brewed with fruit and a ton of hops go well together?

Appearance: Whitewater IPA poured cloudy with a light golden color. I saw several bits of sediment floating around in this beer. The brew build up a nice 2-finger tall bright white head that left a very clingy lacing around the edges of the glass. Being a wheat beer I could understand the cloudiness, but wondered why this beer had so much sediment in a 12oz bottle.

Aroma: For a fusion of a wheat beer and an IPA, I expected to be greeted, with a big hop nose on this beer. I got a bit of spicy hop on the nose along with some orange peel aroma, some bready malts, and a hint of apricot. The aroma didn't remind me of an IPA, but more of a wheat brew. There was some sweet malt aroma also in the nose. Not sure how long the beer had been in the bottle, but some of the hoppiness seemed to have subsided. The pine scent was slightly diminished.

Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA close-upTaste: What seemed to be missing in the aroma came back with a big push in the taste. Sam Adams put in a lot of bittering hops in this brew. While it didn't smell like an IPA, this beer sure tasted like an IPA in a big way. There was a big hop bitterness right up front and on the backside going down. This beer had the lightness of a wheat beer and the big bold flavor of an IPA. The bitterness seemed to cover some of the sweetness or the apricots. The spices were also noticeable mid-taste. The spices seemed to enhance the spicy hops as well. Still, this beer was refreshing, slightly dry on the finish and had a lot of malt flavor.

Curiously, I didn't pick up much on the apricot under later in the session. As the beer warmed a bit, the hops gave way to the malt and the rest of the ingredients.

Overall: I'd definitely call this a wheat IPA. It was boldly hopped, perhaps more with bittering hops than aroma hops. I remember a month or so ago when I first tried this that the hop aroma was bigger. I suggest consuming this a month or so earlier than what the expiration date suggests to get the best flavor. Still - this was a satisfying beer. Not the best I've tasted from Sam Adams, but bold enough for hop lovers to take notice. For those who love a lot of hop flavor in your beer and enjoy a good wheat beer, this brew will surprise you in a good way.

Disclosure: A friend of mine gave me this beer in exchange for another beer at a recent gathering of friends.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red review. (2009)
- Samuel Adams Imperial White review. (2009)
- Samuel Adams Imperial Stout review. (2009)

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