Sam Adams Summer Ale
We can be a little hard on the Sam Adams beers here at The BeerFathers and we know that. Their regular lineup hits the hops really hard and we’re admittedly not hop heads like some of the Beer Love community. Also their Sam Adams Cherry Wheat is hands down one of the worst beer experiences we’ve been through. Despite all this, we do have a soft spot for their seasonals – which are generally spot on. Starting in the spring the seasonals go: Sam Adams White Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Sam Adams Winter Lager. Though we haven’t reviewed them officially for the site we’ve enjoyed the OctoberFest, Winter Lager and White Ale several times over. We hope to get those added here in the coming seasons.
For now we’ll focus on the Sam Adams Summer Ale, which is another in our regular Father and Son Thursday night beer reviews. Why Thursday? Why not? Actually it’s because Father Beer Love has Friday off so it’s a good night for us to not worry if we experiment a little too much with the brews. Drink responsibly, that’s what we say. Well, we’ve never actually said it, but I’m sure we think it. Not really consciously think it, but it’s probably back there in the id or the superego or superid or some other part of the brain that works without being told what to do. Anyway, the Sam Adams Summer Ale is an American wheat ale that comes to us from the Boston Beer Company, makers of well, you know. For this scientific review we used an American pint glass and our 12 oz bottle of Summer Ale registered a 5.3% ABV at 41.9 F.
The initial pour generated a large 2 1/2″ fizzy white head the dissipated quickly and left virtually no lacing. The beer itself has a really lively amount of carbonation and the color is a slightly cloudy gold. Good pour and good start. The smell strikes you as fairly hoppy, not surprising since it’s a Sam Adams, but a little surprising since their other seasonals aren’t overly hopped like their main lineup is. It’s not a terribly complex smell but a fairly clean one – hay, citrus (grapefruit and lemon for sure, but maybe some others) and ginger are the main aromas we pick up.
The taste continues with the citrus theme – it’s a lemony taste with grapefruit and ginger notes. There is also a touch of wheat taste to the finish. Though it lacks complexity it goes down quickly. The initial flavor notes are a light sweet and a light tart. The finish moves a little and gives you a light sweet and a moderate bitter and a light to moderate tart. The finish is about average in duration, the mouthfeel is a bit on the dry side and there’s no body lacing to speak of. On our patented malt to hop scale (original patent application circa 1879) it comes in guess what – fairly hoppy. We marked it 2 1/2 clicks to the right of balanced – not the hoppiest thing in the world but it’s right on up there.
Though it’s drinkable, we wouldn’t really want to drink another one. It’s not so good for the rest of our bottom line notes – it’s not quite balanced, doesn’t have much harmony, isn’t particularly memorable and we probably wouldn’t buy it again. Sam Adams can do so much better with their seasonals and all the other ones definitely prove it. The OctoberFest and Winter Lager especially are much better examples of what they can really do with their seasonal lineup.
So then what is the saving grace for the Sam Adams Summer Ale? It’s a great bar beer. Throw in some salty snacks and this thing really hums. What was originally a 2 became a 3 with some mixed nuts or salty chips. We’ve heard many people say they’re disappointed when they try a wheat beer that isn’t a hefeweizen, I guess because they’re expecting that hefe experience. I know we say it. Our take is there’s lot of other good summer beers (including several hefes), so give them a shot and revisit the Sam Adams Seasonals for OctoberFest.
Sam Adams Summer Ale Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)
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