I love summer beer. And I think Sam Adams brews some pretty decent beer. Yeah, maybe they’re getting a little too big to comfortably fit into the “craft beer” category, but they do try to keep things interesting. So I was excited when I saw a Sam Adams Summer Styles Sampler pack for just over $12, featuring two bottles each of six flavors. Here’s the breakdown:
Cherry Wheat is brewed with Michigan cherries and honey. Being Wisconsin born, I kind of wish they had sourced their cherries from the other side of the lake, but at least they’re keeping it in the region.
The beer has a nice fruity flavor, with a very distinct cherry taste, and isn’t quite as sweet as I was fearing, despite the honey. I was expecting something way too sweet, but it finds a nice balance of fruit, wheat, and malt. I do kind of wish the beer had a little more tartness from the cherries. The beer weighs in at 5.3% ABV, along with 23 IBUs.
This is a pretty drinkable beer, but I think I’d reach for it alongside dessert, or maybe a bowl of fruit. Or drink it in place of dessert and fruit, which, truthfully, is more my style.
The Belgian Session is the lightweight of the sampler, at 4.3% ABV and 16 IBUs. The beer has the distinct flavor of the Belgian yeast strain, sort of floral and lactic and viscous. It’s a hard flavor to describe, but if you’ve ever had a strong Belgian, you know what I’m talking about. But the flavor isn’t overwhelming here.
The brew has a mild citrus and spice, with a bit of fruitiness, and goes down pretty easily. Out of all the beers in the box, though, this is the one beer that you want to drink while it’s really cold. The flavor gets pretty cloying when it warms up.
Sam Adams’ Kolsch-style offering is pretty light with some decent carbonation. The beer is a little bitter, with a leafy, tobacco-like flavor. It provides a little bit of spice in the back of the throat, with a hint of pepper. The beer offers a 5% ABV with a low 15 IBUs. The Kolsch has a nice aftertaste, but is a little sweeter with a bit less citrus flavor than some other beers in the style.
Noble Pils decides to follow the advice that more of a good thing makes something better. Instead of just one type of Noble hops, it goes for five. Despite the array of hops, they don’t overdo it, and the beer weighs in at only 34 IBUs. The result is a very well-balanced hop profile, with a hint of piney flavor. The hops are pretty restrained, though the beer is on the edge of pushing into pale lager territory.
At 4.9% ABV, this is a fairly sessionable brew. The finish starts out pretty clean, but the grassy hops aftertaste builds pretty quickly.
The sampler pack is rounded out by their Summer Ale (which we’ve already reviewed) and the flagship Boston Lager.
Overall, this is a pretty interesting mix, and I’ll be grabbing some more to get me through the summer. I suggest you do the same.