Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: If summer comes, Sam Adams is readyBy JIM BEAUREGARD May 16. 2017 11:10PM
You know, I thought I was going to be writing this in warm weather, which would’ve been perfect for the release of the new batch of Sam Adams Summer beers. But, the temperature on my car’s thermometer appears to be stuck at 49° so we will just have to make do.
They say it could be summerlike by the time you read this; I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
In hopes that summer will arrive eventually, I want to tell you about some of this year’s warm-weather releases from Boston Beer Company. They’re part of Sam Adams’ American Summer Variety Pack and the Beers of Summer Variety Pack. Among them are Sam’s Summer Ale, Tropic of Yuzu, Berliner Weiss, Golden Hour, and Hefeweizen.
Let’s look at a few:
Sam Adams Session IPA, 40 IBUs 4.5% alcohol by volume; first brewed this year.
Everything about this says light. It is a light golden/yellow color under a good-sized white head. The nose is very hoppy and exploding with citrus. 40 IBUs is not super high, but it’s still a hefty amount; it has good bitterness, it’s dry, with good carbonation. It feels like it’s very low alcohol, which it is, it has a light body and medium to light texture with flavors of citrus, both lemon and lime, with hints of pine and resin. A very light beer for a warm summer night.
Sam Adams Tropic of Yuzu, 20 IBUs, 6.0% ABV.
The brewery calls this an “exotic brew”. Yuzu (though I’m sure you already know) is a rare, highly aromatic Japanese fruit that imparts hints of tangerine and grapefruit. In Japan, it’s often combined with both sugar and honey in tea.
This is a wheat ale with Hallertau Muttelfrüh and Spalt-Spalter noble hops along with grains of paradise and, yup, yuzu juice. It’s a golden yellow beer, with a head that is just a tiny shade off-white (you would have to hold it next to the IPA above to see the difference). The nose is pretty light, but when you take the first sip you get a load of flavor.
Dry, low bitterness, low acidity, medium level alcohol that is perfectly integrated, and medium-plus flavor intensity flavors of grains of paradise and, of course, yuzu juice.
There’s a certain sweetness, though you would not call this a sweet beer, certainly not in the ballpark of a fruit beer. The brewery recommends pairing it with sushi, cheesecake, and perhaps citrus-marinated swordfish. I think it would go well with all of them.
Sam Adams Hefeweizen, 14 IBUs, 5.4% ABV.
Sam Adams’ version of a German-style beer includes German Weiss Beer (W68) yeast, if you want to know, and it also includes noble hops. The beer is golden, bordering on yellow, under a frothy white head. The wheat comes through on the nose and in the flavors of citrus, wheat and straw, all on the lighter end of the malt profile, even more so on the palate. It’s bright and refreshing, and if you are a wheat beer fan, this one is certainly worth a try.
I think I will stop here for this week, there are some very good choices here and I would encourage you to go out and give them a try.
Plus if I wait until next week for the rest, it might actually be warmer.
You can reach local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org.