Samuel Adams’s Jim Koch Picks a Dream 6-Pack of Craft Beer

Jim Koch, Samuel Adams founder and brewer, picks his dream six-pack based on the brewers behind the beers.

Jamie Bogner Aug 31, 2015 - 8 min read

Samuel Adams’s Jim Koch Picks a Dream 6-Pack of Craft Beer Primary Image

There are many beers I admire for their technical aspects, their quality and flavor, and because of the great memories I have of enjoying them with friends who love craft beer. However, I picked the six brews for my dream six-pack based upon my experiences with the people behind the beers. I believe good people make good beer, and as a brewer, when I taste these beers, I can’t separate the beer from the brewer.

Allagash White

Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine

In the 1990s, Rob Tod was learning to use a jackhammer to install drains in the brewery he was building. He went on to become one of the first brewers to introduce drinkers to Belgian-style brews when he released Allagash White. At the time, drinkers were beginning to explore craft beer, but they were pretty unfamiliar with Belgian styles. Around 2000, Rob continued to pay homage to Belgian styles by introducing cork-and-cage Belgian-style beers that were bottle conditioned, which was unheard of in the States. Can you imagine, monks had been brewing these great beers for centuries, and Rob was the guy who introduced some of the best Belgian beer styles to American drinkers? When I drink Allagash’s iconic Belgian white ale, I can’t help think of Rob as the guy who wanted to share his love of brewing and drinking Belgian beers. Today, we not only have a craft-beer culture that is educated about beer, but there are beer bars dedicated to Belgian styles.

World Wide Stout

Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, Delaware


When I drink World Wide Stout, a dark, roasty, and complex stout, I think of how well this beer ages, the complexity it shows over time, and how this beer mirrors the finest qualities of someone I’m happy to call my good friend and drinking buddy, Sam Calagione. Sam and I have known each other a long time, and his creativity and passion for brewing great beers is unparalleled. Who thinks of working with a molecular archaeologist to re-create an ancient Chinese brew? Sam does! Who thinks it’s a good idea to chew some corn, spit it into the mash, and keg it for everyone to enjoy? Sam does! He was the first American brewer with whom I brewed a collaboration beer (called Savor Flowers) that was released for SAVOR in Washington, D.C. We brainstormed this beer together old school—by writing letters, licking envelopes, and waiting for the U.S. Mail to bring a reply. When I drink World Wide Stout, I think of Sam and all the ideas he has for making great beer and for elevating the craft-beer industry.

Ipswich Ale

Ipswich Ale Brewery, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Ipswich Ale Brewery is a small brewery that has been around for more than twenty years—longer than most craft brewers in New England! Rob Martin, the current president of Ipswich, started out as an employee of the original owners. He did everything: he brewed the beer, bottled and kegged it, drove the delivery truck, and did just about anything he was asked to do, all for the love of beer. Now he’s planting barley for his brews and has his own tractor to harvest it. I learned to drive a Farmall Cub when I was six, and I’m hoping I can take Rob’s tractor for a spin around his brewery’s farm. Over the past twenty years that I’ve gotten to know Rob and his brews, I’ve seen the great pride he has for making great beers and supporting other craft brewers in Massachusetts as the leader of our state’s brewers guild. It’s tradition when you drink with another brewer to order one of his or her brews. Whenever Rob and I get together, I drink an Ipswich Ale, an unfiltered English-style pale ale. I know I’m not only getting a fresh, quality beer but I am also toasting to a great Massachusetts brewer who’s passionate about supporting our local craft-beer industry.

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Blood & Honey American Ale

Revolver Brewing, Granbury, Texas

Unless you live in Texas, chances are you haven’t heard of Revolver Brewing, their Blood & Honey American Ale, or Brewer Grant Wood. Before he founded Revolver, Grant was a brewer at Sam Adams (and a few other breweries), and we worked closely together to develop many brews, including some of the extreme beer recipes we experimented with in the early 1990s. I know Grant not only has a passion for brewing a great, drinkable beer such as Blood & Honey, but his genius for conceptualizing a wacky recipe and then determining how it can be brewed is exceptional. So, when I find myself in Texas drinking a Blood & Honey, I think not only is the beer I’m drinking a damn good one, but the brewer who made it is someone I’ve learned from, I respect, and I’m happy for the leap he took to open his own brewery.

Victory Lager

Victory Brewing, Downingtown, Pennsylvania

As a sixth generation brewer from a German family, I have a lot of heart for well-crafted, traditional German beers such as Victory Brewing’s Lager. When I drink a Victory Lager, I think of Bill Covaleski’s accomplishments—working hard to become a brewer alongside his best friend and open his own brewpub—and the many times we’ve shared a lager or two with other brewers in Pennsylvania. His brewery has grown slowly and steadily for many years, and he’s continued to add new, well-crafted brews. His success, which helps grow the Pennsylvania craft-beer scene, continues as Victory Lager launches to states outside of Pennsylvania this year.

Brooklyn Lager

Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York

It’s probably no surprise that I love a good lager. And to me, Brooklyn Lager is a great example of the style, brewed by my longtime friend and founder of Brooklyn Brewery, Steve Hindy. Many people don’t know that Steve left his position as a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press to follow his passion for brewing craft beer. He pursued this passion in 1988 when starting a brewery in New York was an act of bravery. When I drink Brooklyn Lager, I think of how the brewery’s flagship beer helped to create the craft-beer movement we know today. It’s because of Steve and his brewery’s perseverance and vision for brewing and selling great craft lagers that beers such as Brooklyn Lager and Boston Lager have a place at the table today. So, when I drink a Brooklyn Lager, I think of how far our world has come and of the great brewers, such as Steve and Garrett Oliver [Brooklyn’s brewmaster], who have led us to experience the great craft beers we drink today in bars and restaurants across the country.

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].