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.

7 comments:

  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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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