In between “West Coast Style” and “6.5% Alc/Vol” on the bottom left hand side of the Samuel Adams Rebel IPA label are the words “Brewed For The Revolution”. When Boston Beer Company says “Revolution”, I can only assume that they mean the Craft Beer Revolution and not one of those OTHER revolutions (it’s not like I have to carry a musket or wear a Revolutionary War era soldier’s uniform in order to drink this beer). Or perhaps the word “Revolution” represents an East Coast / West Coast IPA rivalry much like the “East Coast / West Coast” Hip-Hop rivalry from the mid 1990′s. Is Boston Beer Company trying to start a war with West Coast brewers by brewing a beer that can compete with them directly? According to an article from NJ.com, Lagunitas seems to think that they are (click here to read the article). All I can say to this is “Whatever!”. What matters most to me is what’s inside the bottle and whether or not it’s any good.
Before we get to my review, here is a YouTube video from Samuel Adams that tells us more about their Rebel IPA:
And now for my impressions of this beer…
- Appearance: Crystal clear, pale orange color with a thick and fluffy off white head that leaves oodles of sticky lacing behind as it dissipates.
- Aroma: Citrus and tropical fruit scented hops, i.e. orange zest and mango, along with a bit of resinous pine and a hint of honey scented malts.
- Taste: Medium carbonation that has a slightly fizzy quality. Starts off with slow with some sweet honey notes followed immediately by those fruity hop notes that I picked up in the nose. At mid-palate, the bitterness intensifies a bit but never overwhelms thanks to the lightly sweet malt. The finish is slightly astringent with a lingering yet soothing bitterness.
- ABV: 6.5%
There are SOOOOO MANY solid West Coast IPAs on the market which makes it really tough to come to a final verdict about the Samuel Adams Rebel IPA. I like the smell, I like the taste, but does it have enough going on to steal me away from beers like Ballast Point Sculpin or even Green Flash West Coast IPA? While Rebel IPA isn’t one of those two gold standard beers, it’s still pretty good and well worth giving a try. Overall, a solid IPA but lacking in enough distinctiveness to make me want to go out of my way for it, though I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if it were offered to me.