Monday, December 29, 2008

The Three Days of Sam Adams' Christmas: Days Two and Three

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!

1 comment:

TwoBusy said...

Agreed on the Winter Lager & Cream Stout (urgh) -- tremendously disappointing. Yeah, back in the day Sam Adams was at the forefront of the craft beer revolution... but it's been a long, long time since I've had one of their beers and thought it was legitimately well-crafted.