Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sam Adams Spring Variety Pack

It’s hard to watch TV without seeing a commercial for the new Sam Adams Alpine Spring brew.  Based on the description in the commercial old Sammy is opening up the Munich Helles style (German Light Lager) by going bigger with malt and hops.  This roused some excitement in my most inner beer geek.  A hoppy Helles seemed interesting, kind of like a lager version of an IPA.  At least that’s what I envisioned.  This brew also stirred some interest in my non-beer geek friends drawing inquiry from them.  I felt like a bit of a failure for not having tasted this brew yet but I feel this review should help me redeem myself.  Along with the Alpine Spring two other new brews are in the sampler, Mighty Oak Ale and Whitewater IPA. 

Alpine Spring

Without further adieu here is Sam Adams new brew.  I popped open the bottle and immediately got a whiff of what seemed like booze.  The brewed poured very seductively with a beautiful hazy body and a large three fingered head.  The nose was erupting with lemon aroma.  Is their lemon in this?  Don’t remember hearing about that.  There is a good sweetness up front with smooth biscuit character.  You start to get a bit of a tart character about mid palate and then here comes the lemons.  A sweet lemon character takes over and dominates the brew.  There is a slight bitterness in the finish but does not linger in the aftertaste.  The biscuit character does come back in the aftertaste complimenting the lemons.  I find this brew very summer shandy-esque meaning it is predominately sweet with a tart lemon character accompanying it.  This is definitely not what I was expecting from this brew.  I expected some deeper grainy/bread character and some additional bitterness.  The lemon character came completely out of left field and threw this brew out of “style” in my opinion.  I checked the Sam Adams website and they do not mention anything about adding lemon to this brew.  They must have got some super fresh hops to get that profound of a lemon character.  This would make a good summer brew to enjoy after mowing the grass which ruins the whole “spring” beer Sam Adams was going for.

Might Oak Ale

This brew poured a golden red color with a giant head protruding out of the top of the glass.  The nose is fairly uneventful with some faint straw/grass aromas barely coming through.  The sweetness is the star of the show initially with an almost cinnamon character coming through.  The oak starts poking through in the middle and pairs very nicely with the sweetness.  As the brew warms the cinnamon character begins to morph into a light vanilla note.  The oak remains all the way to the finish and lingers slightly.  The sweet vanilla and oak characters blend wonderfully in this brew making it a real treat. 

Whitewater IPA

The Whitewater poured with a hazy straw colored body and a one fingered head.  The nose is packed with big clean citrus notes dominated by pale grapefruit character.  There is no real sweetness on the start of this one, just a plunge into the citrus hop flavor.  The citrus character is mostly a pale almost sour grapefruit note.  The bitterness is apparent but is not overwhelming, lingering slightly on the finish.  Overall this brew is refreshing and enjoyable.  As with a lot of Sam Adams brews the Whitewater has a very clean well-balanced character.  This is a quality brew but is a one-note song with minimal complexity.

The other brews in this sampler are Boston Lager, Irish Red, and Black Lager.  I will review the Irish Red shortly.  I've previously reviewed the Black Lager and it is one of FatCat's Epic Brews.  Check out the Epic Brew link at the top of the page.  This is a solid sampler at a decent price.  If your looking for something to do at home this weekend grab this 12 pack and start sampling.


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