Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sampling the Sam Adams Brewmaster's Collection

Two days ago I bought a twelve pack of the Samuel Adams "Brewmaster's Collection", in which you get a couple of bottles of the flagship Boston Lager, along with two each of five specialty brews (this collection is obviously a seasonal one, consisting entirely of dark, full-bodied brews thought especially suitable for cold weather consumption). Today I tried one of each of the five heavyweights, with these results:

Honey Porter: Typical rich porter flavor, with, as advertised, a hint of honey. This had spent several hours in the fridge, and might have been better served just slightly chilled.

Black Lager: Rich but bland; might also have benefited from less refrigeration.

Scotch Ale: According to the label, this is made with peat-roasted barley like that used to make Scotch Whisky. The smoky flavor comes through, but the hops are a bit strident.

Irish Red: Great hop/barley balance; a well-crafted ale.

Brown Ale: Fascinating counterplay of caramel and citrus. My favorite of the lot.


  1. It sounds like you bought yourself a pretty nice Christmas present.

    There's one place in the little town where I live where you can get a beer with dinner, and they recently added Sam Adams Light to their beer list. It's far and away better than any of the other stuff on the list. I guess when the competition is stuff like Bud Light and Corona, it's not a fair fight.

  2. Arch,

    I haven't tried Sam Adams Light, though I'm sure that it's more than a cut above those others you mention. I find most beers with the "light" appellation to be like making love in a canoe, i.e. fucking close to water. Which is not to say I have anything against Berliner weisse, which is delightfully close to Champagne.

  3. If there's one good thing about living in the Northeast, there's the beer. Yeah, we have that Puritan tradition, but we've pretty well got it under control these days.

    Claude, I pretty much agree with you with the SA products, having had a similar experience (and almost identical conclusions). The porter did do better cool but not cold. The black lager, which I feel I should have liked, didn't gain much at room temperature.

  4. Happy New Year, Claude!

    Wishing you always...
    Walls for the wind,
    A roof for the rain
    And tea beside the fire.
    Laughter to cheer you,
    Those you love near you,
    And all that your heart may desire

  5. i like sam's "old fezziwig ale", as a christmas beer. mostly though, i consider sam adams to be a safety net: what to drink when you don't have better options. that said, i would like to try their utopias barleywine.

  6. as for the beers listed, i think i've only had the scotch ale, which was okay. but i'd take a mcewan's over it. honey porter sounds too sweet, particularly as the edge of bitterness balancing out the malt is what makes porters so damn tasty. got a soft spot for geary's london porter, but that's tough for me to find. can't go wrong with sammy smith's taddy porter; thomas hooker (aka troutbrook) imperial porter is fantastic; otter creek has a good one too. brown ales i find all too often cloying and just don't drink them anymore.

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