Ah, the holidays, when one's hopes tend to be shattered by the inability of others to give worthy gifts. Fortunately, my fam hooked me up with some lovely stuff; I fulfilled a years-old dream to go to a Christmas Day Lakers game, and I got a kickass new coffee maker, a stainless steel monster by Cuisinart that should keep me in a jittery state for years to come. The flip side: Sam Adams failed on most counts.
As the 23rd drew to a close, Beth and I decided to uncap a bottle of the Sam Adams Cream Stout and Holiday Porter. The Cream Stout was awful; the "cream" taste was there, but it was overpowered by a horrific twist on the coffee flavor touted on the bottle's label. Yes, it tasted like coffee - coffee that's been sitting in the pot for a day. The finish was sour and stale. The Holiday Porter fared a little better; much more drinkable than the Cream Stout, it was decent, with a mellow chocolate scent and taste, and a slight hint of honey at the finish. Still, nothing about the Holiday Porter was special - one expects a little bit of holiday magic from a holiday release, and the Holiday Porter was good, but not great.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a blur, thanks in no small part to the drinking. I was lucky enough to score a bottle of Samichlaus for Christmas Eve. Wow. Too good. It's like Beer Crack. It's a good argument against the "I wish everyday was Christmas" sentiment, in that we'd a have a ton of Samichlaus addicts on our hands. When we got home on the 26th, Beth and I split a bottle of Adams' Limited Edition Chocolate Bock. This was a winner. Made with Swiss chocolate, it delivered on the taste; lightly hopped, with a rich, malty flavor. It was like Yoohoo for grownups.
Finally, I should mention Adams' Winter Lager. Eh, actually, it's not worth a mention. It's surprisingly lifeless, failing to deliver on the spiciness promised on the bottle. The flavors in general were underwhelming; I'd have liked to have tasted a bit more citrus, or cinnamon, or anything, really. Again, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable, and the Winter Lager is further proof that Samuel Adams is no longer a "microbrewery"; there's something artificial and manufactured about this particular beer.
So while we're still in holiday mode - there's a couple more days left in The Season - I'm gonna venture out and see what other festive beers I can find. Have a safe and happy New Year! Prost!