It’s hard to believe I’m nearly 50 beers in and this is the first Sam Adams to make an appearance. I’ll admit that I was curious about the “48.” It apparently refers to the 48th parallel north, a latitudinal region Sam Adams calls the “hop belt.” Knowing this, I fully expect my trivia team, Suck it Trebek, to fail again miserably tomorrow.
STYLE: American IPA
LOOK: Poured into the new Sam Adams glass I picked up last year at the original brewery. I still generally prefer to sip from my Belgian tulips and goblets, though I do think there is a place in the cabinet for this.
The color, well, it’s sorta like Sam Adams Boston Lager. Maybe a little lighter? I got a nice fluffy head that’s since worked its way down. Thicker than I expected, the retention is nice.
NOSE: Chewy and rubbery and a hint of grapefruit and malt, though the former dominate. No, it’s definitely not hop forward.
MOUTH: Not my favorite Sam Adams, not my favorite IPA. It straddles the line, really, between “average” and “not likely to try it again.” I’m not one of those in-your-face hop slaves. I’ll often go to my local craft purveyor and ask what IPAs are available. Increasingly, someone who should know better will lean in to ask “do you like it really really hoppy?” – as if the question were rhetorical. I don’t think I’ve struck the proper curt to friendly balance in these situations, probably the result of a personality disorder best defined by misanthropy. Anyway, the point is this beer could use a few more hops. Or different hops or stronger hops. It has a real pleasant maltiness I’ve come to expect from Sam Adams. Tinge of sweetness, but balanced in this respect. The fruit and floral notes I’m craving are masked, I believe, by the gummy blech that follows the nose. Car tire, tree bark, and sap – they set the stage, dominate all three acts, and close the show down.
Beeradvocate Rating: 84
ratebeer Rating: 83
Hayward Abbey Rating: 74