I’m a big fan of an app called @Untappd. A friend of my mine, Sparkey Ballard, got really into Foursquare for a while. I loved the app and checking-in but he took the gamification of it to a whole different level. Learning what badges existed and what it took to get them, and planning out his day around stops to earn a badge. I just sort of checked-in and if I earned a badge, great. Once his app addiction couldn’t be fueled on Foursquare any longer, he ventured off into other apps and started his quest to conquer @Untappd.
After moving to the east coast with my wife and experiencing amazing bars like Mead Hall, The Gaff, The Yard House – Dedham and the Union Street Bar and Grill, I started exploring the world of craft beer and beer in general. I’m not an expert by any definition, but I am a fan. It’s a fun thing my wife and I can do together and @Untappd gives it a digital and social aspect that feeds my inner geek with digital cred and badges.
We came across a Samuel Adams Summer Sampler pack at our favorite spirits store, Mr. K’s, and decided to give it a try. Here’s our review of each of the Summer Selections.
First, the Samuel Adams Blueberry Hill. Samuel Adams describes this brew as: “This crisp, unfiltered lager is aged on blueberries for a pleasant blueberry aroma and taste. To take this fruity character in a new direction, we brewed with Tettnang Tettnanger Noble hops for an added subtle citrus note – a delicious blend of flavors with a smooth lager finish.”
I found this one a surprise. It wasn’t overly fruity and was really enjoyable and refreshing. It’s definitely one I’d love to have a cooler full of on a hot summer day.
Usually I do not enjoy fruity beers, but the Blueberry Hill was a nice surprise. It had a strong blueberry flavor, but was not overwhelmingly sweet.
Next, let’s talk about the Samuel Adams Summer Ale described as “Crisp and tangy with refreshing lemon peel and a hint of pepper from rare Grains of Paradise. Golden, hazy, & thirst quenching, this American wheat ale balances bright citrus, Noble hops & spice for a lively brew that’s perfect on any summer day.”
The Summer Ale was my least favorite of the collection. It didn’t taste bad but was less interesting and unique than most of the others.
I really enjoyed this brew the first time I had it on draft, on Marathon Day this year. It was great on a hot spring day, so I was sure I’d enjoy a few more through the summer. The bottle was surprisingly just as good as the draft. In my previously mentioned limited experience, the draft outshines the bottle.
That takes us to the Samuel Adams Boston Lager described as the brew that “helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-bodied brews that are robust and rich with character. Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced, complex and full-bodied original brew.”
What can you say about the brew that was a leader in the American Beer Revolution?
I had never tried this before and was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to have a stronger presence of hops, which I tend to shy away from, but as the description says it was perfectly balanced.
Next is the Porch Rocker, described as a “bright and citrusy with a fresh-squeezed lemon effervescence and a refreshing finish. Crisp & tangy, with its combination of lager & tart lemonade this unique summer quencher is our take on the Bavarian Radler, named for cyclists that originated this drink.”
I recently tried a lemonade beer and was not fond of it at all. The Porch Rocker, however, does not over do it. It is a nice refreshing drink, perfect for summer.
I’m a big fan of Lemonade and Ice Tea together. I also tried a draft recently of another lemon beer that was more of a Lemonade and Beer combo that I wasn’t a big fan of, so I was real skeptical of this brew. I was surprised that it was actually enjoyable, unlike the Lemonade Beer Mashup I had tried previously. It wasn’t overbearing at all, the flavors were balanced and made the brew crisp and light.
Onto the Belgian Session. described as “A crisp, refreshing version of a traditional Belgian beer. Fruity, slightly spicy flavors from the Belgian yeast are balanced by toffee and caramel notes from our blend of malts while the hops provide a citrus character that rounds out this enjoyable brew.”
This was my second favorite of the sample. I really enjoyed this brew. The toffee and carmel notes were subtle and made for a unique experience that I really, really enjoyed. It was the perfect compliment to my Connecticut Nub Cigar.
I tasted this beer before reading the description and picked up a lot of the flavors it described. The sweetness is prevalent, reminding me slightly of pineapple, but the malty notes balance it out.
I would say we’ve left the best for last, the Little White Rye, describe on Samuel Adams website as “Innocent yet beguiling, this hazy golden brew appears to be a classic witbier with its bright notes of orange citrus & coriander, but there’s a bit more mischief up its sleeve. Behind its sweet exterior lies an intriguing blend of white sage and rye for an earthy, spicy, and thoroughly refreshing brew.”
The first thing I thought of when tasting the Little White Rye was cardamom bread. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the flavor but the spices were a little too strong for my taste.
Best of the bunch. I’m not sure if this little guy is available on draft or in 6 or 12 packs of its own, but if it is, I’m stoked because I am a fan. Not saying my quest of beers ends here, that I’ll never love another, but I really, really, really liked this beer.
Have you tried the Samuel Adams Summer Selections? Do you enjoy tasting different brews and/or a nice cigar? Leave a comment on this blog and let us know your thoughts, your favorites or any tips or advice you have for newbie beer connoisseurs.