Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sam Adams – Great American Beer

The first time I tried a Sam Adams beer (The Boston Beer Company), I couldn't believe how good it was. It was Boston Lager, the taste was full, the color was a deep beautiful amber, and I was in love. I had never tasted anything like this before, and it was so much better than the mass-produced beers I was used to. My next thought was, why did I spend so many years drinking that other stuff?

When I first started drinking beer in the mid-1970's, the style of beer was limited. At that time, mass-produced pale lager brews were pretty much all you could buy. There were a few imported brands available, but they were out of my price range and although I tried several of them, I didn't appreciate the taste.

Fast forward to modern times. My wife Tiffany was out shopping a few days before Christmas several years ago. She came home with a variety six-pack of Sam Adams brews, including Boston Lager, Black Lager, and Blackberry Witbier. I don't recall how much she spent, but it was more than what we would have paid for a Budweiser or some similar American beer. I was a bit disturbed at spending that much for beer I had never tried, something I didn't know if I would like.

That thought left me immediately after the first sip of Boston Lager. As mentioned, it was a revelation – I had no idea beer could taste like this. I moved on to the Black Lager (a bit strong for my taste) and left the Blackberry Witbier for last. I was certain I would not like blackberry flavored beer. It didn't sound appetizing – fruit beer? How can that be any good?

I could not have been more wrong.

While distinctly different than Boston Lager (and pretty much every other Sam Adams variety I have tried), the Blackberry Witbeir was fantastic. The taste was firm, fruity, hoppy, yet it was still beer. I was so surprised that I liked this brew that it changed my attitude about buying and trying beer.

From then on, I was much more open to trying different brands of beer, and experimenting with flavors I would never have believed I would like. Now, instead of walking quickly past beer I don't know, I stop and read the descriptions on the labels. I am much more willing to try one of these unfamiliar craft beers, and I am perfectly happy to never drink another mass-produced pale lager again.

My latest favorite from the Boston Beer Company is their outstanding Rebel IPA. Billed as a "West Coast style IPA", this bright copper colored beer with a light, citrus flavor, has a nice blend of several types of hops, and is listed as a "two row, pale malt blend." Smooth, refreshing, satisfying, Rebel IPA is another instant favorite. While some beers and ales finish with a bitter aftertaste, Rebel IPA is exceptionally smooth from start to finish. This outstanding brew is further proof (not that I need it), that Sam Adams makes some of the finest beers and ales on the planet.

The Boston Beer Company offers a wide variety of brews, and I have barely scratched the surface of their offerings. So far, I've tried Summer Ale, Octoberfest, Sam Adams Light, Irish Red, Latitude 48 IPA, Whitewater IPA, Double Agent IPL, Cold Snap, and Rebel IPA, and haven't found one yet I didn't like. Although I do try other brands of craft beers, those in the Sam Adams line are always near the top of my list.

Of course there are many other craft brewers around these days, so there is a fantastic variety to choose from. The beauty of Sam Adams is the number of flavors they produce that are among the best beers and ales ever brewed.

Thanks to guys like Jim Koch, (co-founder and Chairman of the Boston Beer Company, producers of Sam Adams beer) we have an incredible choice of spectacular craft beers easily accessible in most grocery and liquor stores.

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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