Tasting Notes: Sam Adams Summer Styles 2010

6 05 2010

[Vimeo 11480354]

Yesterday, we posted the newest Thinking Persons Beer Video Episode where we reviewed the 2010 Sam Adams Summer Styles. Below are our tasting notes.

First we look at Sam Adams Light
Rate Beer Score: 20 Points (46 for style)

This is a surprising Light beer. The website says they spent two years and everything they knew about beer to make a truly great light beer; not just a watered down Boston Lager. I think they hit the nail right on the head. As far as light beers go, this one is very tasty. The folks at Ratebeer.com give it only a twenty (out of 100). I think that is a deflated score mostly because the type of people who would go out of their ways to score a beer just would not like any beer labeled “light” no matter who made it. A subdued maltiness is still present with a fair amount of hops. Very tasty and hardly a waste in this pack.

Appearance: Bright marmalade with white head. Large carbonation bubbles.

Aroma: Bread crust and biscuit. Hoppy middle with earthy mint. Faint amount of yeast leads to a slight metalic note.

Taste: Light and crisp. Faint malt with medium hop note. Spicy lager yeast leads to a clean, crisp, back end.

Mouthfeel: Soft and light. Watery and clean. Slight astringency.

Next, we have Sam Adams Boston Lager-
Ratebeer Score: 76 Points (98 for style)

Sam Adams Boston Lager is a classic. Quite possibly every American’s first craft beer. An American twist on the Vienna lager, it is malty with good solid hops. The Boston Brewing Company credits itself as the “savior of the Hallertauer.” I would have to do more research to see why they say that. If it was true, the beer drinking world owes a debt of gratitude to Jim Koch and the good folks at Sam Adams. The Boston Lager is an easy “go-to” beer for any picnic, bbq or party.

Appearance: Dark Orange Marmalade. Tall white head which dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Very clean and well balanced. Nothing stands out. Nice malt balanced with hallertauer earthiness.

Taste: Slight bready maltiness is balanced by a hoppy, dry back end.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a very clean finish. Crisp and dry with strong carbonation.

Number three in the lineup is Sam Adams Pale Ale-
Rate Beer Score: 43 Points (47 for style)

The label says this is an American-style pale ale. I think it is more like a bold British-style pale ale. Nice, sweet bready malts are balanced with a good snoutful of British hops like Fuggles and East Kent Goldings. A very quaffable and enjoyable pale ale. It won’t threaten a new comer. But it won’t bore a fan of American pales. This may just become a new go-to for me. I would agree with a 47 for style from Ratebeer.com. But I think it deserves a few more points from the peanut gallery.

Appearance: Burnt amber with creamy white head. Nice lacing. Sparkling due to large carbonation bubbles.

Aroma: Bready malt with earthy, rich hops. Apple blossom esters.

Taste: A strong malt back bone helps support the earthy and citrusy British hops. A slight fruitiness sneaks itself in.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation remains, helping clean the palate. Clean and dry.

Latitude 48 IPA-
Rate Beer Score: 58 Points (24 for style)

I pretty much bought the box for this beer. Boy was it a disappointment. The idea was great, bring together hops from all the greatest hop growing regions (Germany, England, and the Pacific North West) to make a kicking IPA. But somewhere between conception and execution (the name of my early-1990’s metal band, BTW) some one lost their nerve. This beer lands flat. There is virtually no hop nose to speak of and the bitterness is lacking. This beer is lack luster at best and bland at worst. Plus, I was picking up a slight umami, cheesy note on the back end that makes me question how fresh of hops they could have been.

Appearance: Dull copper with gold highlights. Bright white head with good lacing.

Aroma: Slight salty, umami seaweed and faint ammonia/cat piss. Both hops and malt are surprisingly absent for something called an “IPA.”

Taste: Slight bitterness on the back end. But taste overall reflects aroma.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp. Very little carbonation.

We quickly move on to the Blackberry Witbier-
Rate Beer Score: 38 Points (63 for Style)

This beer stopped me in my tracks. Just seeing it on the box made me rethink this entire series all together. But I really wanted to try that IPA (Joke’s on me, I guess). People often order this at work. And the moment I open the bottle, I am overpowered by sickingly sweet blackberry. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against fruit in my beer on principle. I really like Belgian witts and fruit lambics. I dig the Dogfish head Aprihop and the Magic Hat #9. And the New Glaris Cherry Stout is an ultimate game changer, in my book. There are plenty of fruit flavored beers I love and cherish. This one is not one of them, though. I cannot count how many nearly full empty bottles of this witbier that I have taken away from tables. But let me get to this point. I do not like this beer.

Appearance: Hazy yellow/orange with an off white head. Head is thick but dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Monotonous blackberry. Artificial blackberry. Smells chemically, like cough syrup.

Taste: See Aroma above.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Surprisingly not cloying with a clean end.

We end on a high note with Sam Adams Summer Ale-
Rate Beer Score: 46 Points (83 for Style)

This is a pretty standard Belgian-style witt. It has the orange peel. It has the coriander. It also has Grains of Paradise; an African spice used in some wheat beers. It adds a lovely spicy quality to the beer that is otherwise very creamy and smooth. This beer would be very refreshing for a hot summer day when one wants something light and spicy. An excellent introduction into the world of wheat beers that knocks the socks off of some other wheat beers brewed by larger breweries.

Appearance: Golden and bright. Surprisingly clear for a wheat ale. Strong head dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Malty with a spicy top note of citrus and Grains of Paradise.

Taste: A refreshing wheat maltiness with a slight bready sweetness. Citrus peel and Grains of Paradise help make the wheat more complex.

Mouthfeel: Silky, wheaty and smooth. With a sparkly back end.

That is all for the Sam Adams Summer Styles. There are some hits and some misses. It is worth taking to a party or cookout because it is cheap and there are a lot of things in there for different people. But if just buying for yourself and a loved one, you can move on to something a little bit more interesting; like next month’s video blog: Flying Dog Variety Pack!

Photo Credit: adamr.stone CC

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