I poured a 16oz can into the official Samuel Adams glass. It was canned on 3/12/14 and cost $2.49 ($0.16 per ounce).
Appearance: Clear golden, lager-like appearance with plenty of visible
carbonation. Pours to a large, white, foamy head which retains and laces
Smell: Light hop notes of flowers and citrus-flavored candy.
Taste: It’s amazing that America’s biggest craft brewery took this long
to introduce an IPA into its perennial offerings. True, Samuel Adams has
released one-off IPAs over the years, but never have they gone this far
with their marketing. Calling the beer “Rebel IPA” and packaging it in a
can using a design that looks an awful lot like a BrewDog label is
quite bold for them. And while the beer itself is perfectly fine, it is
in no way rebellious or game-changing. Quite the opposite, actually –
it’s right there in the middle of the bell curve.
Since “West Coast Style” is clearly marked on the can, this beer must
then be compared to those of that region. It bears some resemblance to
them, but only slightly. Instead of being citrusy and juicy, it’s more
flower-like with a surprisingly sweet taste to its hoppiness. There’s
definite candy taste to it, as well, especially of the sucker variety.
There’s no dank character and certainly no pine or resin. In fact, it’s
got only average bitterness – which is fine, though I’d prefer more. It
claims to be a balanced brew, but the hops are clearly the star here.
There’s a strong malt base to it than you’d get from a Stone brew, but I
would not describe it as a malty IPA per se. Overall, it’s a decent IPA
and it would be a good “starter IPA” considering the brewery’s
audience, but it cannot really compare to a true West Coast IPA.
Drinkability: I was surprised with the ease I was able to throw back
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA. The mouthfeel is rather calm, slightly thick,
and has a smooth texture. It should be crisper and should crackle across
the tongue. It doesn’t take full advantage of its 6.5% ABV weight, and
drinks and feels more like a standard pale ale.