Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: From Boston, this year's LongShots Shots

JIM BEAUREGARD April 24. 2013 2:36AM

It seems only fitting we should begin this week with Boston: The Boston Beer Company, a.k.a. Sam Adams, has announced its Samuel Adams LongShot Variety Pack.

Each year, Sam Adams recognizes talented home brewers through the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest. It's been running 16 years now, and why not? Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams, made his first batch of Sam Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen in 1984.

This years' winners are Connecticut's Zack Adams for his Magnificent Seven, California's James Schirmer for his Beerflower Wheat, and a home brewer who works at Sam Adams, Dave Anderson, author of Strawberry Lager.

The three beers are available in a six-pack, pretty much everywhere, prices ranging from $9-$11. So here goes:

James Schirmer's Beerflower Wheat. Huge head, just off-white, golden-amber and cloudy beer, hoppy nose with hints of wheat and citrus, dry palate, with medium bitterness, well integrated components (5.8% alcohol by volume), light carbonation, medium body, a light, flavorful character of citrus, bread hints, some floral notes. Ready for summer.

Zack Adams' Magnificent Seven. The "Seven" refers to the use of seven American hops in the brew. Tan head, large and lasting, frothy at the top, solid amber color, 8.8% abv, hoppy nose, but not without malt, and the dry palate is where the rich malt comes through: grain, cereal, and from the hops, resinous flavors. Medium body, surprisingly light given the power of the flavor profile. Intense and interesting. Malt lovers take note.

Dave Anderson's Strawberry Lager. Also a wheat beer, this time brewed with fresh strawberries. Gold with some depth for he color, white head, the strawberry is right there, up front on the nose. But that's not all there is to it. The palate has a citrus background, malty notes that add some sweetness, though well in balance, medium alcohol (5.5%) that's well integrated. If you're a fruit beer fan this is well worth a try. Oh, Dave is not one of their brewers, by the way. He works in packaging operations. You never know where talent is lurking.

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Taste of the Nation Manchester is next Wednesday (see information below under wine events) and so I wanted one more shot at some of the good things you'll be able to sample there while you contribute to ending childhood hunger right here in New Hampshire. These are all from the Golden State:

Joel Gott 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay, St. Helena, Napa County, Calif., 13.8% abv. I do like it when they tell you right up front if a Chard is oaked or not. It makes the buying easier. Clear golden, medium intensity hue, medium intensity nose, dry palate, rich citrus aromas, followed by flavors of white fruit, , apples, pear, some tropical fruit flavors, and more acidity than is often typical for this varietal. 87 points.

Joel Gott 2010 Alakai "California Red Wine," 14.4% abv. This is a Rhone style wine, 77% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Petit Syrah. Medium intensity red, with dark fruit notes on the nose. A very dry palate of dark fruits, very ripe raspberry, hints of red cherry, blackberry, and black cherry. Dark and intense, with good acidity, medium tannin, medium alcohol, medium body and a long finish that holds the fruit to the end. This is a flavorful red that can also be a very good food wine, with beef dishes. 85 points.

Michael David Winery 2011 Seven Heavenly Chardonnay, Lodi, Calif., 14.5% abv. Michael David has been sending some very good wine out into the world for some time now; this is a golden Chardonnay, medium hue, light citrus nose, light body, medium-minus acidity, and a citrus/white fruit palate. Summer again. 85 points.

Joseph Carr, Josh 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, Calif., 14.1% abv. Purple, opaque dark core, clean nose with some herbal notes rising right away, the black fruit behind it. The palate reflects that mix of herbal notes blackcurrant leaf, hints of mint), and the fruit, blackcurrant, blackberry. In the style of a South American Cabernet. 86 points.

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Wine Event: The Lake Sunapee Country Club will host a special five-course "Tour of France" wine dinner with wine pairings on Tuesday, April 30, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will be open to the public with continuous serving the entire evening.

The wines include a Zinck Vins d'Alsace Pinot Blanc 2011, a Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc 2012, a Gouleyant Cahors Malbec 2011, a Chateau Beauchene Premeier Terroir Cotes du Rhone 2009, and a Vin du Pistolet Vins d'Alsace 2007.

The cost is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations at 526-6040 ext 260. (A note from your wine writer: the Vin du Pistolet alone makes this a worthwhile trip).

Contact local wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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