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Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

Where Spotted: Whole Foods, 1440 P St. NW

Price: $10.99/4-pack

Under the Macroscope:

Samuel Adams is in a precarious position for Beer Drinkers (that is, those geeky enough for capital letters). It’s not quite a Budweiser-sized behemoth, but it enjoys a market presence (and ad dollars) far larger than the revered microbreweries. Also, it makes light beer. Sam Adams’ craftier attempts, such as its Octoberfest and Summer Ale, are best used as training beers to convert new drinkers. They’re a step in the right direction.

Not More of the Sam:

With the Hallertau Imperial Pilsner, Adams is using its powers for good. With an ABV approaching 9 percent, candy-sweet malts and orange zest fill out a strong body while the Hallertau hops—a prized German variety that’s increasingly hard to find due to low yield and a couple years of crappy weather—balance the equation with medium bitterness. The sum of these parts is a malt liquor of the gods, a heady beer ideal for a slow, appreciative, split-and-sip. Brand snobs, avert your gaze; this beer is a toast to the big guys.

Seen an interesting quaff lately? E-mail beerspotter@washingtoncitypaper.com