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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tuesday Tasting: Samuel Adams Brewer Patriot Collection

Tuesday tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we sample the Samuel Adams Brewer Patriot Collection.

I've been lucky enough to have a beer with Jim Koch a couple of times during my drinks travels. My Brother-in-Law, Darrin Pikarsky once called him the Jimi Hendrix of brewing. That's a pretty good analogy. Like Hendrix, you might not fancy everything that Koch does, but you have to appreciate the creativity. Without the Boston Beer Co. the world would have never experienced Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, Triple Bock, Millennium or Utopias.

In that same spirit of never being dull, Boston Beer released the Samuel Adams Brewer Patriot Collection a couple of months back. I was happy to come across a four pack recently and sat down over the holiday weekend with my Daughter, Brittany Wirth, to try them out. We found some to our liking, others were not. It was clear to us that Koch and his brewers wanted to try these recipes out, but realized the flavor combinations would make them marginal commercial brews. While not everyone of the brews was to our taste, I applaud Boston Beer for its willingness to be creative and expand the world's understanding of what beer can be. It was also a bit of a history lesson regarding what Revolutionary War-era brewers could have used for ingredients.

George Washington Porter: The dark, unfiltered brew is slightly cloudy and has a slightly toasted nose. The brewers used molasses and licorice in the recipe, so the hops are balanced with sweet tones. There was a slight hint of cocoa in the aftertaste that told me I could have had a couple more of these brews.

James Madison Dark Wheat Ale: The package mentions "hand smoked barley" and rye in the recipe. There is a slight smoke flavor, but it could have used more. The wheat in the recipe is apparent through citrus tones in the beer. We gave this beer a split decision and thought it just missed the mark in a couple of areas.

Traditional Ginger Honey Ale: This brew was a sunshine gold color and offered a thick rocky head. The lemon peel and honey came through with crisp hints of ginger. At 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, this would be a perfect beer to enjoy with Asian dishes. We both felt this could be the breakout beer of the four pack, perhaps a great summer seasonal on draught.

1790 Root Beer Brew: At 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, this is not for the kids. We may have come to this one a bit wrong headed because we enjoy gourmet root beers, but this beer was our least favorite of the four pack. It was slightly darker than an amber ale and had a range of herbs and spices in the flavor profile. Vanilla mixed with wintergreen, sassafras root, licorice and honey. I even thought I might detect cloves. Overall, it had a slightly medicinal quality to it that was not that appealing.


Wörtwurst said...

This four pack was my first bad experience with Samuel Adams beers. It was a good idea history and variety wise but I think they could have dug deeper for something more enjoyable than that putrid Root Beer Brew and the marginal Ginger Beer.

Jeff Alworth said...

I had hoped for an experience like you described, but feared one like Wortwurst had. Maybe good I passed.

Rick Lyke said...

I always follow the credo "Don't Fear the Beer." Not all of the beers in this collection are for everyone. In fact, some may not find a single one to their liking. I think the fact Jim Koch and crew are willing to take a few risks is worth plunking down $7.89 for the four pack.