In marketing, many times companies have been on the edge of false advertising…this is not one of them. When the bottle tells the drinker that this is an intense hop experience, that is exactly what it means. More about that in a minute.
In terms of appearance, there was a nice foam white head on this beer. There was also plenty of head retention and some lacing. The Pilsner was golden with a tough of Amber, which is not typical of most Pilsners. Normally Pilsner are very blond and pale. All in all, the beer looked very nice in the glass.
When taking in the beer’s aromas I noted that the alcohol was obvious. There was obviously a prevalent (and nice) hop aroma on the nose. I also noted hints of sweet malt and a powdery (powdered sugar?) touch. Also notable were the winish qualities of the aroma.
When I tasted the brew, I found the hop bitterness to be at the forefront. This was not unbalanced, in that the warmth of the alcohol along with the long grainy and malty finish completed the beer. In addition to the other qualities I noted, there was a citrus (grapefruit) hint in the beer. I even caught a very slight sulphurish glimpse of flavor in the beer. There was a very long and dry finish to the beer. I found the beer to be refreshing and a nice change of pace to the typically watery Pilsner that many of us have grown to tolerate.
I do want to make a side note about this beer. Many other hops could have been chosen for this beer; there are many hops that have higher alpha (i.e., bittering/acid) levels than Hallertau hops. Part of the uniqueness of this beer is its use of Hallertau hops to create the bitterness and unique flavors. Sure it takes more of these hops to acheive the desired bitterness, but Sam Adams seemed to think that it was worth it. Maybe you’ll agree.