Each week, The Daily Meal shares a craft beer for the week. This week we're going all hops, with new offerings from Samuel Adams
By "beer of the week," we clearly meant "beers of the week," thanks to the new Samuel Adams IPA Hopolgy Variety Pack. While we're noted fans of the IPA brews, what made the Hopology pack an interesting batch to try was the sheer, well, variety of the pack. While you'll find your standard hoppy characteristics in the Hopology pack, you'll find some surprises there, too.
The beers included in the Samuel Adams IPA Hopology Variety Pack: the White Water IPA (a white IPA), the Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk (a Belgian IPA), Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA (a straight IPA), Samuel Adams Tasman Red (a red IPA), the Samuel Adams Dark Depths (a Baltic IPA), and the Samuel Adams Third Voyage (a double IPA). And with it, we tried the newest spring offerings from Samuel Adams, the Double Agent IPL (an India Pale Lager), and the Samuel Adams White Lantern (a white ale).
So what were the hits and misses of the pack? The Grumpy Monk and the Latitude 48 were the immediate hits with our staffers. The Grumpy Monk (which is available exclusively in the Hopology pack) was the most drinkable of the bunch; for the IPA haters in the bunch, it was easily the favorite. One said it made her crave a hot dog with mustard -- we assume it was because of the combination of a citrusy hop character combined wth the spice and fruit from the Belgian ale yeast. As Belgian ales are easy to drink, it would make sense that the Grumpy Monk was the IPA favorite. But the Latitude 48 IPA was a favorite with everyone, especially the opinionated IPA fans. It hit the right notes of bitter (thanks to five different hops) but still went down easily; it was a bitter beer that left your mouth dry -- in the right way. In one staffer's words, it was the beer that you would crave after mowing lawns and sweating in the sun all day -- a refreshing beer that wasn't a typical Bud Light. We'll take it, minus the mowing lawns.
The other favorite was one not found in the Hopology pack, the Double Agent IPL. It certainly wouldn't fit your typical craving for an IPA, but that doesn't mean it didn't hit the hops spot. It was easy to drink, much like a traditional Samuel Adams lager, but with spicy and citrus notes from the West Coast hops.
The others? The Whitewater IPA didn't stand out much compared to the Grumpy Monk and the Latitude 48 IPA, but it certainly wasn't a bad brew, either. And it certainly fared better than the tasman Red, the Dark Depths, and the Third Voyage Double IPA. the Third Voyage brew was just a bit too earthy for our taste, and the Tasman Red and the Dark Depths were just ... bizarre. A Baltic porter is certainly not the first beer style we'd reimagine as an IPA, and while a red IPA isn't that uncommon (take Saranac Red IPA or the Green Flash Hop Head Red), it was the roasted malts and coffee flavors that threw us off the Red. And the one we'd definitely skip? The White Lantern. We don't hate white ales, but the added coriander and wheat malt threw us.
The Hopology Pack may be a mixed bag, but we'd certainly pick one up for the Grumpy Monk additions alone. The newest venture into hops territory by Samuel Adams may be slightly bittersweet, but we're certainly interested in trying more IPAs from the craft brewer.