Sam Adams started out as a homebrew, so it only makes sense for the company to have an annual contest for homebrewers and see what’s out there. The 2013 Longshot six-pack (cuz Sam Adams picked the beers last year) includes two each of three beers from amateur beer makers -- American Stout, Grätzer, and Pineapple IPA.
American Stout – No light gets through this cola-colored pour with a light tan head. The aroma is chocolate and coffee, maybe a little licorice. The dark chocolate and coffee flavors are there too with an herbal chicory pushing through. It’s a very malty stout with that soy sauce/umami thing going on. Not a thick mouthfeel, and a surprisingly clean bitter finish. I’m not a big fan of malty stouts, but American Stour does a good job of being what it wants to be.
Grätzer – This is a Polish beer brewed with smoked wheat. It’s a pale and hazy yellow with a sharp aroma and just the faintest tease of hint of ash and smoke. In fact, it took me two or three sips before I started picking up the smoke in the aftertaste. A little sour and a little smoky - t’s an interesting revival of a beer varitety you don’t seen much anymore. Interesting, but not worth repeating.
Pineapple IPA – I’ve always through a hoppy India Pale Ale would match well with pineapple … but this isn’t it. Pineapple IPA is rusty orange in the glass, but surprisingly light on hoppy aroma with just the barest hints of malt and fruit. The flavor isn’t hoppy either, just bitterness and tinny sweetness that I assume is the pineapple. Not a good IPA and the pineapple isn’t helping. I’ve had more tropical-tasting IPAs with nothing but the right blend of hops varieties. I had high hopes, but this is the easiest one of the trio to skip.