So, let me start this off with saying I'm not a huge Sam Adam's fan. I feel that they've lost a lot of the "crafting" in their beers as they've grown larger, and more popular. That being said, Sam's Boston Lager was one of the first craft brews to get me into beer. To this day, I still feel like their lager is excellent, and well deserving of it's flagship status.
Since my early days of drinking craft beers, I have evolved into quite the "hop head", and I love growing, smelling, and tasting all varieties of hops. It's mostly the gardener in me that has spawned this hop-monster is you will. Due to my complete love of hops (hence the name of this blog) I can be quite picky when it comes to IPA's and Pale Ales in general. I have my favorites, and they tend to serve as a barometer to which all other IPA's are judged. So, let that be known when reading this review.
Apperance: A dark amber, slight mahogany in color. A bit darker than most IPA's that I am accustomed to. A nice 1-2 finger thick creamy white head surfaces at the top of the glass.
Nose/Aroma: Not nearly as strong a scent as many other American IPA's, especially the westcoast varieties that spearheaded the style. Very earthy, grassy notes on the nose. Very faint pine notes.
Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium body, very drinkable beer. Definitely a good introduction to IPA's if you're not used to the flavor/scents of hops. Well balanced malt/sweetness and hop flavors, much more like a British style IPA than an American one. A lot of grassy notes, with more prevalent pine and pineapple notes than there were on the nose.
Overall: A well balanced IPA. For newcomers to the style, this is your beer. It's quite drinkable, and the hop aromas and bitterness isn't overwhelming at all whatsoever. Definitely a great beer to drink with a group of friends while watching the Sunday Football game.
Pairings: I suggest pairing this beer with anything that has a kick to it; Buffalo wings, Mexican food, Thai food, Indian food would all be great pairings.