Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: Sam Adams' spring offerings

BY JIM BEAUREGARD April 02. 2013 5:27PM

SPRING IS OFFICIALLY here and the snow is finally melting.You know what that means - Sam Adams has new selections for spring.

The Boston Marathon is this month and that means Sam Adams has released its 26.2 Brew of 2013, made to commemorate the 117th running in Boston.

Fun fact: Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams, released his first batch of beer on Marathon/Patriot's Day.

The 26.2 Brew is a Gose (Goz-eh) style at 4.5% ABV. Gose is an old style of beer from the German city of Leipzig (workplace of JS Bach, among others), an unfiltered beer made from wheat, typically a cloudy yellow color, and the flavor profile can contain hops, spice and specifically, coriander. It was out of favor for some time, but is slowly making a comeback.

The 26.2 Brew is yellow-gold, cloudy, slightly off-white head, hoppy nose with spice up front, malt in the background, coriander on the palate, hops, some flavorful background spice, and wheat along the base, refreshing without being too sharp. A very nice blend.

For a complete list of bars and restaurants that will be serving Sam Adams 26.2 Brew during the season, go to blog.samadams.com.

The next set of beers is part of the Sam Adams IPA Hopology Variety Pack, in stores now, retailing for $16.99-$19.99. They all fall under the broad IPA heading but there's a quite a bit of variety within the style.

Sam Adams Whitewater IPA, 5.8% ABV, American and Australian hops, for a distinct wheat malt , gold and cloudy under a frothy white head. Grapefruit is what comes through first on the palate, but the wheat walks with it all the way through a long, hoppy finish. Staying power on the palate.

Sam Adams Grumpy Monk Belgian IPA, 6.5% ABV, which Sam describes as a reinvention of the "traditional Belgian ales brewed by monks" (though I hope they didn't all look as grumpy as the guy on the label).

Six different hops varieties went into the bottle, and Belgian yeast. Gold to amber beer under a huge tan head, mostly creamy, lasting. The nose is a harmonious blend of hops and malt, and the palate is a smoother presentation of hops and maltiness, mellow, compared to the lively, Whitewater above. Spice along the way, though the bitterness is what plays out most consistently.

Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA (6% ABV). five hops from latitude 48, natch, ideal hops growing territory. Careful, the head will overflow unless it's a slow pour. Bright amber color, off white head, creamy, hops and spice on the nose. There's a bright hoppiness, and bitterness, insistent and enduring, making it a good summer beer to perk you up on a hot evening. Spicy foods come to mind right away.

Sam Adams Tasman Red, Red IPA, 7% ABV. A red IPA, darker than its predecessors, amber with dark red hues, a range of citrus flavors move forward on the nose, with grapefruit on the palate, but darker fruits as well. Depth, harmony and a long finish.

Sam Adams Third Voyage Double IPA, 8% ABV. Third voyage is a reference to Capt. James Cook, whose third voyage brought him, for the first time, from England to Peter Jackson land (New Zealand), and to the Pacific Northwest.

The beer incorporates hops from all three of these regions (Cascade, Simcoe, Zeus, and Summer Saaz, if you want to know). Amber-gold hue, very deep and bright at the same time, good carbonation, white frothy head, light hoppy nose, but a rich malty palate of bread, bitterness and zest. The DVD just came out - try it with "The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey"..

And I've saved the darkest for last. Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA, 7.6% ABV. Porter's cone under the broad heading of English Ales, which in the 1700s were intense and dark, and shipped from England across the North Sea (hence the Baltic name). It's usually dark brown in color, and they traditionally run from 7% to 10% ABV. The Sam Adams comes in at the lower end of that range, but matches the traditional dark brown color, and sits under a huge light brown head. Of all the beers, this is the malt one - the nose is rich in malt, the body is full, and filled with flavors of bread, molasses, toasted and nutty notes that stay and stay. Grab them quickly while we still have a few cool nights left.

Taste of the Nation: New Hampshire's hottest chefs, restaurants, and mixologists will gather for Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, the premier culinary benefit of the year. Taste of the Nation Manchester raises critical funds needed to support Share Our Strength's efforts to end childhood hunger in New Hampshire and across the nation.

This year's event is May 1 at The Radisson Hotel Center of New Hampshire, 700 Elm St., Manchester, from 6 to 9 p.m. with a VIP reception at 5 p.m.

Food Network and Cooking Channel star and New York Times best-selling cookbook author Melissa d'Arabian will attend the event as a special guest.

Tickets for Taste of the Nation are $75 for general admission and $100 for VIP and can be purchased at tasteofthenation.org/manchester.

Look for reviews of some of the wines that will be served at the event in the coming weeks.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.


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