It’s July 2nd, and the thermometer hit 94 here today in Canton, Georgia. Summer has officially arrived, and one of my favorite things to do at the end of a long, hot day is sit out on my patio under the shade of my gazebo. Did I mention sipping a cold beer was part of that routine? It is, of course, and each winter I save a number of holiday seasonal brews to celebrate Christmas in July.
It is, of course, purely psychological, but there’s just something about pulling on a holiday beer in the heat of a summer I find appealing. It’s almost like they bottled up a bit of winter in each of these special brews, and popping the cap releases that cooling gust of wintry bluster. Scientifically speaking, it’s also fun to see how holiday brews have fared with 7 or 8 months of aging on them.
Tonight I’m enjoying a bottle of Samuel Adams Juniper IPA, newly released in 2013 as part of the Samuel Adams Winter Favorites 2013 sampler 12-pack. This included, along with two bottles of Juniper IPA, a few bottles each of the following:Samuel Adams Boston Lager Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Samuel Adams Winter Lager Samuel Adams White Christmas Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock
Samuel Adams Juniper IPA is spiced with juniper berries, often used before the introduction of hops in brewing about a 1000 years or so ago. Juniper berries are used to make gin, and you will get some piney gin-like flavors here. They are also similar in flavor profile to the piney flavors some varieties of hops impart to beer.
From the neck label:
For this special release, we wanted to brew a flavorful winter IPA that captured the aroma of the season. This brought us to juniper berries, which add a slightly sweet, piney character. Complemented by citrus notes from American hops, this balanced IPA will brighten the holidays. Cheers!
Ingredients from the website:
HOP VARIETIES: Columbus and Ahtanum American hops
MALT VARIETIES: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend and honey malt
YEAST STRAIN: Top-fermenting Ale
SPECIAL INGREDIENTS: Juniper berries
Samuel Adams Juniper IPA is not all that strong as IPAs go at just 5.8% alcohol by volume. The beer has 50 IBUs and my bottle is notched best by February, 2014. Obviously I am drinking it well past that. I’ve kept it refrigerated and it has held up quite nicely. I paid $14.99 for the 12-pack.
Samuel Adams Juniper IPA pours to a beautifully translucent orange amber color with a thick rocky head formation and a spicy fragrant nose of tangy hops and pungent juniper. A thick layer of Brussels lacing is present. Taking a sip, I get a bit of chewy caramel malt at first laced with a bit of buttery character. The hops add some citrusy grapefruit, though a bit less than when I enjoyed this young. The juniper still packs a piney Christmas tree punch in flavor and aroma, and that is for me how the beer ends.
Held up very nicely, and still finishes with a long dry hop bitterness lingering. A tasty effort, 4 stars.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.