A confession: I’ve long considered myself an IPA purist, one of those haughty sorts who ignores the most recent American variations of this venerable beer that dates back to Britain in the early 1800s.
One of several new brews introduced this year by Jim Koch and his busy staff, Whitewater fuses the flavors of a Belgian Witbier with those of an American IPA. It boasts 60 IBUs (international bitterness units), the same as Dogfish Head’s iconic 60-Minute IPA, and thus produces strong citrus notes. But, it adds spicy Witbier elements such as coriander, along with a subtle touch of apricots, to the mix.
The result is a long, multi-layered and pleasant tasting experience. I found the hop notes to be slightly dominant, but other reviewers have said they found the wheat elements to be the most defined.
Though the debate is ongoing on its characteristics, there is little doubt of its success. Initially one of the choices in Sam Adams’ spring mixed 12-pack, Whitewater is now available year round in a six-pack.
Buy this if: You’re a fan of IPAs and Witbiers.
Leave it on the shelf if: You’re convinced that an IPA must be a hop bomb.
Stats and Sites: $8.29 for a six-pack at Habersham Beverage; 197 calories for each 12-ounce serving; graded an 84 by beer advocate.com (based on 125 reviews); go to samueladams.com for more information.