Samuel Adams Juniper IPA

I'll admit that the blueberries on the label give me pause. But I've had some spectacular Sam Adams beers in the recent past, and I really know that they can make some more wonderful beers with ingredients I wouldn't typically associate with good beer. I have hope. And hope is a dangerous thing.

The color is a dark gold with red twinges. The head is thick and extra sticky. I mean, really sticky. The thickness of the bubbles on the side of the glass now that the head has started to dissipate is the same as the bubbles across the top. It's downright odd. The aroma is not particularly fruity, so the blueberries on the label may be a red herring. The smell is mostly hops with a bit of grain.

First sip is generally good. It hits with a good, hoppy taste with a bit of bread, but it's not too bitter. That start is really, really good. Then, the finish is rough. It's kind of citrus, and then it hits with a whole heap of bitter. It overwhelms everything else and is literally leaving a bad taste in your mouth. It could very well be good in a big swig. In fact, I'm going to find out.

Tip-in is mild, with a bready grain accompanying the simple hops. Right in the middle, the carbonation and the hops send a tingle through the whole mouth. It carries an even deeper grain and a high note of hops and bitter twinge through the taste. And then the finish starts to hit. It's the same bitterness from the hops that I tasted in the sip, but it's certainly more tolerable.

The overall effect of the drink is mixed. It has some good hoppy notes, but the bitterness just ins't handled by the malt. It's a shame, but I'll have to rate it overall as slightly worse than average. It gets points for effort, and it might be better as it warms, but it's not the best beverage out of Sam's that I've had.



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