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Diving into the Sam Adams Beers Of Summer

Michael Donato, July 29, 2013 -   

It’s summertime, which means summer ales in the beer world. Summer Ales, as Matt Murphy tries to break down, can be of many different styles which makes it hard for some to tell if they like the ‘super style’ classified as Summer Ale. Fruitier and lighter beers are more common in the summer when the heat tends to have us shying away from something too heavy.

As they do for many different seasons, Samuel Adams has a specialty case of brews for the summer called the Beers of Summer variety pack. Last weekend was the baby shower for my cousin who’s having twins and the male half of the family was hanging out at the pool at my uncle’s drinking beer. The Red Sox fan in the family showed up with this pack from the Boston brewery, and due to lack of fridge space we needed to dive right in.

Beer

Style

Rating

ABV

wOBAR

BAR

Samuel Adams Belgian Session

Belgian Pale Ale

3.22

4.25

-0.2259

-1.43192

Samuel Adams Blueberry Hill Lager

Fruit Beer

3.17

5.5

-0.1381

-0.78

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Vienna Lager

3.53

4.9

0.060535

0.472425

Samuel Adams Little White Rye

Witbier

3.21

5.3

-0.25274

-1.35132

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

Radler

3.56

4.5

0.123

1.4

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

American Pale Wheat Ale

3.52

5.3

0.175171

1.389232

Blueberry Hill does poorly here, and it’s the only one I didn’t actually get to try. Fruit beers can be good if done well, but it sounds like this one isn’t.

The Summer Ale has the second highest BAR rating and Samuel Adams has been making it for a while now so they must have the recipe down pretty well. It’s a wheat beer brewed with grains of paradise, which invokes images of lounging on a hammock somewhere overlooking an exotic beach and sipping beer with not a care in the world.

The Belgian Session was tasty, if mostly non-offensive. I drank that one while in the pool. It’s nothing special really; it hits all the baseline features of a belgian ale but doesn’t really excel in any of them. At 4.25 ABV it’s a perfectly acceptable pool beer.

The Porch Rocker is a Radler. Radlers are pretty different from regular beer styles, and it’s important to know that going in, but it’s lighter style seems to have resulted in a more positive rating. Real Radlers are by definition a session beverage, traditionally made by mixing beer and carbonated soda or lemonade. Oktoberfest is famous for only serving one beer in each tent, but in many of them you can order Radlers as well. Sam Adams Porch Rocker is a poor imitation of those historic beers, but it’s a refreshingly tasty beer nonetheless. It has the highest rating in this variety pack, although it’s 4.5 ABV is a bit higher than you’d typically expect in a half-lemonade beverage. It has a nice crisp lemonade taste mixed in with the lager kick that’s mildly sweet. This is one of those beers that you could drink all day while outside at a picnic.

Little White Rye didn’t get rated so well, and while i didn’t think it was bad, it wasn’t particularly memorable. By the time I finished it I’d already forgotten what it tasted like. It feels like it was relying on the rye for additional witbier spice, but it wasn’t overly flavorful.

There’s not much to say about Sam Adams Boston Lager that you don’t already know. It’s one of the older craft beers in America and is a good alternative to the typical adjunct lagers offered in most places. It’s included in every Samuel Adams variety pack, and while I never specifically seek it out, I never mind drinking those two that are included.

Nothing in this variety pack stands out especially well. Most of these beers are pretty drinkable, and they all hit on the Summer Ale super style well enough that they’d all be a perfectly suitable beer to have at any summer gathering for a wide variety of beer drinkers. That’s probably the best reason to buy them, but the best three beers in here are also sold separately so you might just want to pick the one you like best and show up with a case of that.

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