Samuel Smith's India Ale (Not Sam Adams! Get it right!) - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Samuel Smith’s India Ale (Not Sam Adams! Get it right!)

7/10

Ladies and Gentlemen, summer is upon us. After some gentle weather, the summer solstice kicked us off to some brutally hot weather. So I’m assuming you will all expect some sort of summer beer to be drank and enjoyed, then written about half heartedly so that you all can enjoy it (or something). Well not today mister.

For me, all beers are a year round event. If I’m outside at 2 o’clock and for some reason its acceptable to drink, I’ll pick something lighter. But once that sun goes down and I pull up a bar stool all bets are off. Pour me that one over there! Yeah, the one that has the consistency of cake batter and tastes like pine cones! I need it for my belly!

Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant, but some days you crave a certain beer, no matter the weather outside (Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking if I’m pregnant?). The point is, you can’t beat a good beer, and sometimes, even the weather has no say in the matter.

I plan on taking the same approach to these reviews as I always have. Picking a beer at random. The season of beer drinking has no deadline (unless its a seasonal beer … then the seasons are the deadline …). So thats why I’m going back to an old classic. And you know its classy, because it has gold foil on the lid.

This old lady is called Samuel Smith’s India Ale brewed by Samuel Smith Old Brewery. Lets get down to the basics.

The Basics

Type of Beer: India Pale Ale (a.k.a. IPA)

ABV: 5.0 percent

Color: Deep Copper

First let us drop into my favorite part, which is the history. Let me pretend I’m actually telling this story. OK, the IPA, or India Pale Ale … where do you think it originated? If you said India, then you’re wrong. If you said England, then give yourself a pat on the back. It seems a lot of beers have their roots locked in the ol’ motherland of England, and considering how little I saw the sun when I visited there, I can understand their desire to drink.

Now, like all other beers with the letters PA (Pale ale, not Pennsylvania …) in them, the IPA is a decedent of the traditional pale ale, with some modifications. It was more heavily hopped and then shipped to India, for the British troops during their occupation. The British knew how to do it right. Troops far from home? Keep the beer coming and they’ll be fine.

One of the things that is on every Samuel Smith bottle is a statement about their water supply, which is from a well that was “sunk” in 1758, and I don’t know what it is about this water, but I love it. All of their beers have this taste that I can’t even explain, and I love it. To me, thats what makes a lot of beer companies great. You have a tradition that makes your beer unique, and great, why change it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

But besides the water, what does this beer offer? To be honest it’s a really mild IPA. When you sip an IPA you get a pretty decent slap in the mouth from the hops, but not here. It actually tastes really malt driven, which is peculiar and unexpected. Now it’s not a bad beer, just a break from the norm considering its an IPA.

It has a nice smooth feel to it, and with the less hoppy taste it certainly would be a good intro into IPA’s if you’re a newbie. But don’t think “Oooh, I like IPA’s” after tasting this one, cause its far off from its brothers.

I give this girl a 7/10, not saying its a sub par beer, but rather saying its just not IPA enough for me. It’s good, but not what I would expect.

Samuel Smith’s makes some great beers. They have some wonderful stouts and I recommend you try them all. Don’t let this summertime beach weather suck you into drinking Blue Moon, Miller, Coors or whatever other unsatisfying beers you may “enjoy”. Stay adventurous.

Stay safe, and Drink responsibly. Brew dude Out.

Got any beer suggestions? Email me at BaltimoreBrewDude@gmail.com


About the author

Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner, the 'Beer Dude' has known to taste and make some of the finest beers in Charm City. He figures he has made more beer than he drank or is that vice versa. He doesn't remember. If you catch him at a nearby Baltimore establishment drinking a beer, he reminds us sternly, it's solely for research purposes. He doesn't jot down notes. In fact, he highly recommends not drinking and writing because it interferes with the tasting. As always, he brings along a designated note-taker who also multi-tasks by driving him home. Drink and write responsibly and never at the same time is his motto. If you would like him to test out your establishment's home brew, just pretend you're at the O's game, and yell, "Beer man." He'll hear you. Contact the author.
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