Thursday, September 20, 2007

Samuel Smith's India Ale

Beer: Samuel Smith's India Ale
Brewery Location: Tadcaster, North Yorkshire England
Style: English IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 5.0%

I have enjoyed most of Samuel Smith's offerings, but I have actually never had the India Ale before.

1. For my non-beer geek friends an IPA got it's name from when England ruled over India. In the 1700's they sent hundreds of thousands of men to India, and those men wanted beer. The long trip from England to India via a wooden ship made the regular style ales and porters pretty nasty by the time they arrived. By adding more hops and malt to the brew it really upped the alcohol content and made it possible to transport the beer all the way to India. It was a huge hit with the men in India and also a huge hit with the locals in England.

From what I've read and in my travels to England, IPA's don't seem to be as popular as I would have thought from the country that spawned it, but the IPA style has found a great home in America.

I liked that Samuel Smith's uses brown bottles. I am not sure why, but so many English beers tend to come in clear bottles. It's hit or miss with them, but I have never had a bad or "skunked" beer from Samuel Smith. I like drinking out of a 20 oz imperial pint glass and this beer is exactly enough for a full imperial pint.

It pours a an amber hue with a small white head that dissipated very quickly and left minimal lacing on the glass. I could get a good smell of the floral hops and malt as I am pouring. The same smell dominates at rest. I didn't expect for this beer to smell this way, and I guess I was expecting something like American IPA's. The dominant flavor is of biscuity malt and English hops and mineral water. The end of the beer as it warmed tasted more bitter, but still not what I was expecting. This really isn't much more bitter than a regular English session bitter. It is easy drinking with light carbination and a great overall mouth feel.

This is a good offering from Samuel Smith's. I think I am more used to American hops and American IPA bitterness and so it didn't live up to what I wanted, but overall it's very satisfying and I would drink it again. This would pair well with fish and chips.

3.75 Pints out of 5

1 comment:

CorrND said...

I prefer Imperial Pint glasses too. Pouring a 12oz bottle into one allows ample space for head to develop while still leaving some space to smell.

Plus, having a little extra space in case of an overly agressive pour or an overly carbonated beer is definitely a good thing!