Now that we have opened up the ‘flood gates’ of beers available to talk about within the New Hampshire borders, this column will probably never run out of great beer! Even though I am partial to and proud of NH-brewed beers, I like the diversity that exists every time you decide to go look for a new beer to try here.
But there are always brewery names that are common choices due to their flavors, extent of options (more flavor styles) or shear magnitude to offer the drinking public a yet another beer to get their attention. One of these breweries is Sam Adams.
Founded in 1984, Samuel Adams (known as the Boston Beer Company), located at 30 Germania Street, in Boston, is a Massachusetts icon and one of the largest brewers in the country other than Budweiser and a few others. Their beer is literally sold all over the planet. Owner Jim Koch has a great business mind as well as knowing what he wants from well made beer. Sam tours are free and the finish is rewarding with multiple beer samples. There are other plant locations in Cincinnati, Ohio and Breinigsville, PA. Their capacity to produce many different beers, both year round and seasonals, places them at the top of their game.
As a Double IPA, RAW is a monster. Many doubles are around 7.5-9% ABV but this 10% beer in a 16 oz can will keep you content for quite a while. Sunny golden yellow with an inviting haze, this beer lets you know it has got some goodness waiting for you. White creamy head, good glass lacing and multiple citrus notes greet you. Lots of grapefruit, tangerine and piney notes, maybe even lemon peel are in your first sip. This one will take a few tries to get used to, but when you do, hop heaven awaits. With 4 different hop varieties, Sam has hit the target well with RAW. The double IPA part comes when you discover that more maltiness balances out the 100 IBU tartness making this very drinkable beer a truly brilliant winner.
I’ll tell you right now; this is a beer that changed my mind (and opinion) about Sam products. They have been known to produce taste-alike beers to be competitive with other breweries. This helps their market share and keeps them well into the game. But RAW has hit a nerve with the hop-crazy public.
BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated RAW, in 16 oz four packs, ‘Very Good’ awarding it a 87 out of 100. The Bros agree with the same rating. Followers also rated it as high as 4.7 out of 5.0, but you will need to act fast; this is a limited release offering and only available at some beer providers, so get over to Case-n-Keg in Meredith or Laconia to get your!
Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to firstname.lastname@example.org