74. Samuel Adams

Posted: October 14, 2010 in International beer, Lager
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Samuel Adams

Company info:
The Boston Beer Company
Boston, U.S.A

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 355 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$5.99

Label info: ‘Samuel Adams is handcrafted in single batches with extraordinary care and attention to detail. Following my great-great grandfather’s recipe, we use only classic ingredients: hand-selected Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger hops, two-row summer barley and pure water. No other American lager matches this robust and complex taste. Cheers! Jim Koch’

What the label really means: I’m pleased to read that this beer is un-like any other American lager as let’s face it, American lagers are dubious in the hands of the mass market. The dreaded Budweiser is unfortunately what many people think of when they think of U.S beers. Samuel Adams is clearly trying to distinguish itself and stand above the beers that surround it.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I’d really like to learn more about the man, Samuel Adams. We see on the label a small depiction of him dressed in colonial clothes, holding aloft a great pint of frothy beer. He has a smile on his face that hints of honesty and integrity and beside him the words ‘Brewer’ and ‘Patriot’ appear in an unassuming manner. Without knowing much about Samuel, I like to think of him as an early beer pioneer in the U.S much like James Squire was in Australia. Imagine the dinner conversation those two blokes would have had as they compared beers.
The overall design of the label is quite pleasing to the eye. I have stated often how much I dislike the use of the colour blue on beer labels. But here, bordered by a red and silver outline, it seems to work. The blue sinks into the bottle while the name ‘Samuel Adam’ jumps out from the blue depths. It’s a regal red that below the beer name displays the ‘Boston Lager’ title. It looks classy and yet un-pretentious. I dig.

I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.

AROMA: On first sniff I catch traces of Scotch whiskey. Doth my nostrilitis betrayeth me? On closer inspection there are strong traces of malty goodness, almost toffee like but certainly flavoursome.

Taste: GLASS – I feel I have unwittingly chosen a beer very similar to last week’s beer, Newcastle Brown Ale. I’m getting similar tasting notes of warm, toasted, toffee-like flavours. But Samuel Adams seems somehow more inviting as though it’s a gentler, more refined Newcastle Brown. It’s another rich, meaty, full flavoured beer without being overtly heavy. There are enjoyable notes of toasted malty goodness and a pervasive bitterness that lingers long in the mouth.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, Samuel Adams tastes a little softer but maintains an enjoyable heartiness. All the flavours are there and it loses nothing. In fact I think I enjoy it a little more from the bottle. This is helped by the fact that it’s a 355ml bottle that fits nicely in the hand…it’s just good to hold…unlike the pouncy 330ml beers that seem to be flooding our market as though that volume is the norm.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: While drinking this beer I kept thinking of steak. But I also feel a carefully marinated meat dish would also suffice, preferably barbecued with slight burnt bits.

Best season to appreciate: I suggest Samuel Adams is more of a sit by the fire kind of beer. Definitely a Winter warmer.

All-nighter beer? Many years ago, this was my all-night beer of choice. I remember doing night after night on this sucker and while I remember no ill side effects I have a feeling it could create a bad wake up call. Probably not for everyone but dammitt I’m willing to give my old friend a good…for old time’s sake of course.

NEXT WEEK: Stone & Wood Draught Ale

  1. Ben0 says:

    Too right about your comment regarding the size of beer bottles Maso.

    I am so sick of finding more and more of my favourite beers and breweries (i’m looking at you Cascade) dropping the size of their bottles and having the gall to keep their prices up! What a joke

    It’s nice to be back


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      It’s a rort of the highest order, there’s no denying that.

      BenO I was going to say ‘welcome back’ but you’ve beat me to the punch.
      Always value your input, pal.


      • H.A. Chamberlain Esq. says:

        To give Cascade credit where credits due, they returned to 375ml once all us drinkers started jumping up and down about it.

        Sam Adams is quite a good drop, especially considering they sell it at a fantastic steak place I frequent in Penrith, with beautiful S.A. beer glasses. Easily the pick of the mainstream brews on sale over here, even though S.A. wasnt really meant to be as big as it is.

        In saying that, Miller Chill is a pretty good beer in a nearly freeze it and knock it back in January sort of way.


  2. Hell-Cat, another fine review except I miss reading the word from the wife commentary, when can we expect her to return? I do agree with Skamps about the label, I think you have overlooked the basic aesthetics of this label, for me it’s the silver edging that kills it…


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Hi francesbelleparker,

      The word from the wife section was removed when the wife was found to be taking more than her three prescribed sips. She may return if she can behave.

      Mason Hell-Cat


  3. Skamps says:

    This is a lovely beer indeed, and although I always feel a bit embarrassed to be drinking an American beer in public, for some reason this one I’m not so ashamed! On a similar note, I was shocked to see the amount of Budweiser that is consumed in England by locals – I’m like, what the heck, you guys have some of the best beers in the world and you are drinking American beer?!
    I’m also not convinced by the label of this one Hell-Cat. I agree with you on some brewer’s overuse of ‘gold’ on labels being a bit tacky, but I’m getting a bit tired of the whole ‘jargonised’ ingredients list. I mean two-row summer barley?! I’ve grown barley and I’m still confused at what this actually means. This long winded sentence could have just read – hops, barley and water!
    Anyhow, this is a great beer and one that I think has more potential than it currently does in lifting the international profile of American beer.


    • BargeDave says:

      I’ve no idea about 2-row barley but I do like it when brewers spell out what strains of hops they’ve used. Although I haven’t home-brewed in a while it’s always good to get hints about what hop flavours are your favourites so you can ensure these go into your home-brew.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Skamps be very careful in judging all American beers by the standard of Budweiser. It’s the equivalent of an English person saying Australia has bad beers based on their experience with Fosters. Budweiser is a mass produced, mass marketed, sold globally beer that they flog for cheap and infiltrate any market available. In England I bet it’s dirt cheap and hell, I’d probably drink it here if I was out for an all-nighter with limited funds and a desire to get blotto.

      America actually has an amazing amount of micro breweries that do very nicely in the shadow of the beer giants. Producing some great beers they are a force to be reckoned with. Apart from Samuel Adams, here are some other U.S beers that I heartily recommend to help change your perceptions:
      – Rogue’s ‘Dead Guy Ale’
      – Anchor Steam Beer
      – Magic Hat’s ‘#9’ (previously reviewed)
      – Long Trail Ale
      – Kona’s ‘Fire Rock Pale Ale’

      U.S readers/consumers, help me out here! What else can be recommended?

      Interesting comment about the two-row barley. I assumed it was a horticultural term that you’d be familiar with.


  4. BargeDave says:

    It’s a fine brew. I think the sweetness in the flavour comes from the hops rather than the malt, which is I think the difference between this and Newkie Brown. It’s quite a unique flavour and as such I rate it highly.


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