Showing posts with label boston lager. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boston lager. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Old Friends: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

What could be a more appropriate way to mark my 1000th post on Fuggled, than to write about one of the earliest American craft beers that I remember drinking? I say 1000th post with some qualification however, as there have been 1066 posts prior to this, it's just that 67 of them were guest posts or Brewer of the Week interviews where most of the content was provided by someone else, so I am not counting them.

There was a time when Samuel Adams Boston Lager was a reliable go to beer when the place I was in had nothing better on offer, whether that be a store or a restaurant. Given the changes that having 12 month old twin sons have wrought, I hadn't drunk it in an age, we rarely go to restaurants any more, and I am brewing more of my own beer than buying stuff at the moment. Still, Boston Lager would sit on the shelves like an old flame winking seductively, and this weekend I succumbed to the temptation and bought a couple of bottles.

Pouring the two bottles into my Purkmistr half litre mug, one of my favourite glasses, it was a delightful shade of light copper or amber, with a firmish white head that lingered for a while, and no visible carbonation. Definitely still looked the part. The aroma was mainly a bready malt quality, with a bit of light toffee sweetness, balanced with grassy hops that danced merrily into floral territory as well.

Leaving behind the olfactory delights, tastewise the bready thing was there in the drinking, with a toasty edge, toast that had been schmeered with dulce de leche that is, and then there was something you hadn't noticed before, a bitterness that seemed out of place, like singed sugar, acrid, distracting, not something you remember, absence may have made the heart grow fonder.

The sugary sweetness definitely dominated here, and given the fact that I am very regular lager drinker a couple of things were missing, bitterness and the clean snap of a well lagered beer. So entirely absent were they that the beer was basically unpalatably sweet and syrupy. I don't remember Boston Lager being so entirely meh, perhaps my tastes have changed? Perhaps the beer was been "re-formulated" to make it "smoother" (brewery code for making a beer bland as all hell by ditching the bittering hops)? Whatever it was, the daliance was a disappointment, and not one I plan to repeat again any time in the near future.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Iconic Craft?

It's been one of those weeks where the best intentions get flung out of the window as a result of circumstances. Nothing drastic, just a demanding week at the day job, and so a couple of pints of an evening at home has been the ideal way to smooth away the wrinkles of the day. I'll get back on the not drinking during the week wagon next week.

Not wanting to buy in more beer I've been raiding the cellar and fridge, both of which were thankfully well stocked with my kind of beers - key word there 'were', they're a tad barren now. Most of the beers I thoroughly enjoyed in the past few days have been from what I would regard as 'iconic' breweries, Guinness and Samuel Smith's, coming hot on the heels of drinking beer Schlenkerla at the weekend.

This got me thinking, a dangerous habit for sure, about how many American beers and/or breweries that have sprung up in the last 30 old years will go on to achieve the same kind of legendary status as the folks at St James' Gate, Tadcaster, or Bamberg?

To be blunt, the list is fairly small.

Top of that list for me would be Sierra Nevada, and in particular their Pale Ale, the very archetype of the American Pale Ale style, and still the benchmark for any beer in that style. I think it would be rather obvious to point to a West Coast IPA as some kind of iconic beer, but without SNPA I am convinced there would never have been the taste for American hops that drives the continuing IPA obsession. It also helps that Sierra Nevada for all their innovation have always struck me as delightfully respectful of tradition. How many US craft breweries bottle condition their beer, let alone recreate bottle conditioning in their canned lineup?  The sight of the pale green 12 pack in the store in such decent beer wastelands as Daytona Beach is an infinite source of comfort, and its acceptance in the mainstream a sign of it becoming an iconic American beer.

The other iconic US craft beer, and for similar reasons, is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Sure it may be brewed in several different breweries, and the brewing company itself is branching out into cider, hard tea, and whatever else will sell, but Boston Lager itself was the beer that broke the mould. Think of the American lager scene in 1985, dominated by pale lager megabrands and their light cousins. People that wanted something different drank Heineken, Beck's, and other German imports. In to that milieu stepped Jim Koch and Boston Lager, the first non-BMC American made lager I ever drank, and I loved it at first mouthful - and remember at this point I was living in the Czech Republic, a land that makes a decent lager or two. Just as with SNPA, the sight of a Boston Lager tap in a franchise restaurant is welcome to anyone that likes a decent beer instead of post-mix soda.

After that though, who is there that are still out there making the beers that made them famous rather than ditching them to satisfy the fickle winds of change? From among the ranks of craft brewers currently riding the crest of a wave, who among them will my children drink, or their children, and even their children?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Samuel Adams to the Rescue!

Once again Mrs Velkyal and I are in Florida, spending a week with her parents at Daytona Beach, lounging around by the pool with my head in a book. At the moment it is , which describes how an evangelical preacher became an atheist, and very interesting it is too. After that I guess I will move on to Bernard Cornwell's "Agincourt", or a collection of Anton Chekov's short stories. Whenever we come down here, beer kind of takes a back seat.

Given that almost every Floridian beer I have had so far has been on the dire side of fairly poor, I am not expecting any revelations on that front. Filling the fridge at the moment, and I am sure to finish the case today, is
Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I know some people over here, for whatever reason, view Sam Adams as no longer being craft beer because their beers are available nationwide. In my world though, when the choice is as hilariously poor as the local Wal-Mart's beer "selection" then Boston Lager becomes a go to beer because it is actually a nice lager, one of the few American lagers I enjoy. Just to highlight how bad the selection was, it came down to a choice between Boston Lager or Michelob AmberBock!

I realise that being in a tourist area of the state means you really get the lowest common denominator when it comes to beer in the shops and restaurants, but even in the store nearest our resort where they have a decent selection of craft beer, they have beer from just one Florida brewery - the piss poor Ybor Gold which I lamented last summer. Thankfully the pub I like to go to in St Augustine on the way back north apparently has a wider selection of Floridian beer to try.

Say what you like about Samuel Adams, and yes I have slagged off some of their beers in the past, but with Boston Lager you have a dream of a beer, flavourful enough to be interesting and easy drinking to boot, and of course when surrounded by people drinking Butt Wiper or Miller Shite then an opportunity to ease people toward beers that actually have something about them.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...