Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Some fine summer pairings from Sam

By JIM BEAUREGARD | May 23. 2017 8:49PM

With summer weather perhaps a bit closer than when we visited last week, let’s pick up where we left off and continue exploring the contents of Sam Adams’ American Summer Variety Pack.

Samuel Adams Berliner Weisse, 4.8% alcohol by volume, 15 International Bitterness Units. Brewed this year for the first time, it’s pale golden in the glass with a frothy, average-sized white head. The nose is bright and cheerful. It’s mostly hops. This is a wheat beer and so carries that type of a profile. On the palate, it is dry, with low bitterness, medium acidity and good carbonation.

It is fairly light bodied, and the flavor profile is hops, with a noticeable tartness, and an overall strong citrus profile. The brewery recommends pairing with salads, especially with lemon vinaigrette dressing, and soft cheeses. No argument there.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale, 5.3% ABV, 7 IBUs. An American wheat ale first brewed in the mid-1990s, it’s won a number of awards over the years. It is wheat based with wheat malt. Ingredients also include African pepper and grains of paradise. It has a very light nose that reveals some of the wheat.

A little deeper gold than the one above, and a bit hazy. The palate is also dry, with flavors of lemon peel and citrus along with wheat, and a medium length finish. It is bright from start to finish. Sam Adams recommends pairing this ale with stuff from the grill like grilled corn on the cob and desserts like key lime pie. You get the idea.

Samuel Adams Golden Hour Helles Lager. 5% ABV, 20 IBUs. At this point a bit of spice enters the picture. The beer is brewed with Saaz and Tettnang Tettnanger Noble hops, and Sam Adams Two-Row pale malt blend and Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner malt. This too is a bright golden beer with a little bit of haze and a fairly small white head. Good carbonation. It has a bright citrus nose with a little bit of malt lurking behind it.

The palate is also dry, with both hops and malt evident, mildly bitter, with good acidity, low alcohol and fairly light body. The flavors include citrus, lemon, and some lime, a little bit of a spice profile and some malt, again in the background. Recommended food pairings include sweet dishes, herb-roasted chicken and a good old-fashioned bacon cheeseburger. I second that.

Last on today’s list is the Samuel Adams Porch Rocker, 4.5% ABV, 8 IBUs. It’s built on a German style called Radler, which entails a mix of lager and a German style lemonade — in other words, a drink for summer. The hops are noble, Hallertau Mittelfrüh if you’d like to know.

A bit of history on this one: The style was created in Germany in the 1920s for a bunch of cyclists passing through town in Bavaria. The innkeeper who made it mixed some lemon soda with the beer to lighten it up and make it last longer. It came to be called Radlermass, “cyclist’s liter” (Rad is the German word for wheel) which also tells you the size glass it was poured into to quench thirsty cyclists. Golden/straw in color with an average sized frothy white head. The lemon jumps out at you, giving it a very strong citrus profile. The palate is dry but rich, with medium acidity, and high-intensity flavor of citrus including lemon and some hints of lime — very refreshing. The next time you ride in the Tour de France, make sure you bring a six-pack of this along for good measure. The recommended pairings include things on the grill like grilled chicken, shrimp and other seafood. It will also blend well with salads with lemon-based dressings.

So that brings our Sams of Summer review to a close. All of them will blend well with hanging out by the grill and in the backyard.

You can reach local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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