Samuel Smith India Ale: A Taste of Old Empire

Posted in Eat & Drink
Mon, May 11 - 8:00 am EST | 2 years ago by
Comments: 0
Be Sociable, Share!
    • Tweet
    Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

    The Beer in Review - Samuel Smith India Ale

    Well, this looks to be a right proud thing. Copperish color, fluffy white head, decent enough carbonation and just a hint of the old imperial colonial gusto, this Samuel Smith’s India Ale is something rather pukka. Not outright calling itself an India Pale Ale, the brewers of this ale offer up something rather unique in terms of such. Sweeter than one may be used to in a Yank style IPA and lower in bitterness and hop, this smoother, almost fruity fermentation offers up a slightly malty bit of business with a generally clean mouthfeel. At 5.0% abv, it’s not likely to get one “rat arsed” on its own in a single sitting, but is good enough to justify going for a second, third or however many pints you can justify throwing back, when out and about or simply at home.

    Awarded the gold medal in 1896, this work of Yorkshire’s oldest brewery is yet another example of British pride in respect to their brewing and global footprint. While American beer drinkers may be quite familiar with the IPA style right now, few generally know of its English origins, or the manner in which its creation came to be. In the early 18th century, pale ales were typically lightly hopped producing the easier and smoother flavors of the conventional English pales. However later in the century, upon the urging of the East India Trading Company, brewers began experimenting with hoppier recipes, mainly intended for export to the Indian colonies.

    Due to hops’ own inherent qualities as a preservative, this made sense as shipping around the globe took considerably longer prior to the advent of air travel. It came then as something of a pleasant surprise when these bitterer, more hop-rich brews grew in popularity due to their notable punch and aroma. While darker, heavier brews such as porters were known to ship well, the distinct flavor, combined with the relative lightness of the IPA were welcomed with open arms, especially in the hotter climates of many British colonies, such as India.

    Sipping on this rather sweet English style IPA, one immediately notes the fruity, malty tones prior to the bitter hoppiness typically associated with American or Canadian styles. Partially due to the variety of hops used – with English hops often having a more subtle, earthy nature compared to the more piney American styles – and partially due to the processes of hopping and brewing involved, the Samuel Smith India Ale provides a brilliant example of the differences between British and “colonial” varieties.

    The third in the Samuel Smith line which I have had the privilege of sampling thus far (the Imperial Stout review will be forthcoming) I remain impressed with the old and traditional stylings and the rich, balanced flavors they have managed to present throughout their different brews. Sipping on this dynamic and frankly elegant ale, it becomes clear that, much as many breweries in the US are beginning to adopt, this has been brewed in what is a proud tradition and one which clearly has stood the test of time on above all else, unadulterated merit.

    Nicholas Goroff is a beer lover, writer, actor, ex-political professional and devoted anti-ideologue. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.

    Read more beer reviews from Goroff by clicking through the gallery below.


    Innis & Gunn Original

    The general impression of this oak-aged brew is one of curious contradiction.

    A Big Bottle of WTF

    Why would someone create a lemon donut-flavored beer?

    Samuel Smith Tadcaster Oatmeal Stout

    You might be surprised how much you like this oatmeal stout.

    Braggot Rights

    The beer offers a pleasant sort of strangeness.

    Samuel Adams Double Bock

    In malt, we find a profound form of flavor. In gravity, naturally we find a pleasure. In the Samuel Adams Double Bock we find both these characteristics in fine balance.

    Shipyard Imperial Pilsner

    This brew is a surprising summer sipper that you should enjoy this season.

    Brooklyn Black Ops

    Inky and opaque, the Brooklyn Black Ops is a brew of profound and exotic luxury.

    Oh What A Pig’s Ear This Is

    This dark brown beer has an unusual name, but how does it taste?

    It's No Sweat, Right?

    The jalapeno flavor in Throwback Spicy Bohemian is more intense than you might expect.

    Living Up to Its Rep

    Stoneface IPA stands out from the pack.

    It's All About Gravity

    Check out Parabola -- an annual imperial stout from Firestone.

    Founders Centennial IPA

    If you are looking for an honest, flavorful beer, give Founders Centennial IPA a try.

    Three-Eyed Raven

    This dark saison is the latest offering from Ommergang's Game of Thrones series.

    Milly's Oatmeal Stout

    Though likely a difficult brew to obtain for those outside of New Hampshire or New England, Milly’s Oatmeal Stout is certainly a beer worth seeking out.

    Sixpoint Abigale Abbey Style Ale

    The packaging is unique, but how does the Sixpoint Abigale taste?

    Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

    A great beer occasionally does come from a can. Read the review of Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.

    Devastatingly Dank

    No, you don't have to be stoned to enjoy Stone's Enjoy By 04.20.15 IPA.

    Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve (2013)

    Find out if the bourbon barrel aged Old Stock Ale is worth the $25-a-bottle price tag.
    Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

    Be Sociable, Share!
      • Tweet

      Related Posts