Rough Draught: Everybody in Boston is a good sport … about winning wars

Christopher Bedford Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Last Friday, The Daily Caller peered into the future, predicted doom and dutifully began pre-gaming.

Well, it’s been a whole week and the worst thing that has happened is Donna Summer died. Which is really sad, but honestly we didn’t even know she was still alive. So, having proven that our third eye is hazy and our grasp of celebrity heart beats is shaky, we’re going back to what we know: beer. Fortunately, we only finished half of the Samuel Adams’ IPA Hop-ology Variety 12-Pack last week, so we have enough ale to keep our pale asses busy.

So, what we have here is a variety pack of six different IPAs — that source of delicious, hoppy goodness that no weekend (or weekday) is complete without.

Now, we were thinking about explaining the history of IPAs again (India pale ales — they were a favorite of British troops serving in hot colonies) and making jokes about how Boston used to make a habit out of vandalizing British shit and lynching the British IRS, but really the motivation behind this 12-pack of hoppy beers — from New England, a hop head Mecca — is the folks up in Boston are just really good sports when they win a war. Sure, they hold a few parades; host a few militantly anti-British bars; and even dress up like farmers so all the young kids can see how they whooped British ass again and again, every year, over and over forever and ever; but when it comes to lifting — and crushing — a pint of the beer of the vanquished, they don’t spike the football. They just do it well.

Samuel Adams’ Latitute 48 IPA

Let’s start with the basics. If there’s one thing we do as soon as we get off the plane at Logan Airport, after we’ve crushed a festive-colored frosted donut (don’t judge), it’s find a pint of IPA, some little neck clams and a few oysters. Why? Because New England does it best. Yes, there are some incredible IPAs out at the top of the West Coast and, of course, in England, but one thing we count on in New England is that every single damn brewery makes a damn fine, classic India pale ale. And though they often get a little weird in their old age, Boston Beer Company is no exception, presenting for your raw bar-crushing enjoyment the Latitute 48 IPA.

Made with hops from the home of the best hops — right around the 48th parallel — this beer continues the American tradition of having wonderfully appropriate names for our beers.

With a light tan head over a golden brown body, the first whiff you get of this ale is the classic you’ve come to expect: hops. Piney hops. Like, “you just got off the airplane and you need some damn hops” hops. And with a pine-like, bitter taste with hints of lemony citrus on the side of the tongue, the taste is right up there too.

Now, in an earlier column, we confessed that we had hopped off the Sam wagon a few years back. Let us tell you, this is one of the beers that had us sprinting to jump back on. At 6 percent alcohol and 60 IBUs, it also isn’t difficult to swig on (all damn night). So enjoy a few of these with the guys and maybe pick up a 6-pack to go with your Hop-ology set, because on the next page, shit is gonna get weird.

Samuel Adams’ White Water IPA

So we promised that this is where shit gets weird. But it is also where beer gets good, so never fear. Now say what you will about the European beers, but there’s one fact of nature that, like gravity, they simply cannot escape: Europeans are pussies (stay tuned for future Europe facts from Rough Draught). Therefore, they do not mess with their beer. Except for the Belgians. But with the exception of Hieronymus Bosch, they’re still pussies.

Americans, on the other hand, mess with their beer. Take Boston Beer Company, for instance. What did they do? They took a Belgian wheat ale and combined it with an IPA, of course. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s similar to what they did with last week’s Grump Monk, but it’s a little less exotic. All in all, it comes together fantastic.

With a thick white head and a lovely, hazy blonde body (not dissimilar to the the hazy blonde one Daily Caller beer researcher met last night), the White Water starts off looking like a very solid wheat beer.

The nose doesn’t throw that off either, though it is a bit sharper than your average bear with a sharp citrus orange smell.

It’s in the mouth that this wheat really starts to misbehave [queue uncharacteristic Daily Caller self-restraint]. White Water IPA is just that — an IPA. And it lets the drinker know it, with a super bitter, minerally hop attack and a wonderful sour grapefruit finish

Clocking in 5.8 percent ABV and 60 IBUs, the White Water is another brew you can enjoy in large quantities. We would suck a few down with some briny clams and a bucket of fries.

Samuel Adams' Grumpy Monk Belgian IPA, Third Voyage Double IPA, Whitewater IPA, Latitude 48 IPA, Dark Depth Baltic IPA and Tasman Red Red IPA.

Samuel Adams’ Tasman Red

Now for the real deal. Our favorite of the pack (and it’s a damn good 12-pack).

The Tasman Red is a strange IPA. Again at 60 IBUs and a nice 6.5 percent ABV, it hold a well-trod Boston Beer Company ground, but goes somewhere we had never seen an IPA go — the land of chocolate.

With a light brown head, the first thing we noticed with a shockingly red body and a chocolate nose. Excited? So were we. So we dug in.

Unlike a lot of IPAs TheDC has polished off, this sucker tastes like it smells: Chocolate and toffee goodness. Not obnoxious chocolate in any way, but there. And with a significantly more mellow bitterness than the rest of the 12-pack playing out the whole way through. The hops in the Tasman Red keeps you satisfied, but don’t overwhelm, before fading with hints of caramel on the side of the mouth.

This one isn’t for chugging. Enjoy it after your raw bar feast with a mild cigar.

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