Sam Adams Winter Seasonal Extravaganza!

Sam Adams Winter BoxDespite Neil’s ardent protests to the contrary — I like Sam Adams. I enjoy it. It tastes delicious. I would order it at a bar. I would be happy if someone brought it to my place for a party (however, if you bring Heineken and you don’t drink all of it, I’ll have to start thinking of interesting steak marinades for it… and if you bring Bud Lite, that just means you hated me in the first place).

So, when Freshdirect offered a chance to sample 6 Sam Adams in one convenient 12pack for $16.99 of course I took it!

According to their website,

Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety includes 2 each of the following beers:

  • Winter Lager – Robust & malty with a crisp finish
  • Old Fezziwig Ale – Full chocolate malt with notes of cinnamon & ginger
  • Holiday Porter – Deep rich malt with traditional English Ale hops
  • Cranberry Lambic – Sweet & tart with a clean vanilla maple note
  • Boston Lager – Full bodied and complex with citrus and pine notes
  • Samuel Adams Light – Smooth with subtle hop notes of mango and apricot
  • Which was amusingly, a bit of a lie. The Sam Adams Light was (thankfully) replaced by a Cream Stout (light beer? oh, the humanity!).

    Sam Adams Winter Bottles

    And the final verdict was… in order from my personal opiniated terrible to excellent:


    Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale – Very low key initial scent… and oh, how well that first sip went down, balancing that fine line between thick and carbonated. Felt like my mouth was being coated with a layer of silk. Why on earth did it have to completely lack any flavour whatsoever?! Drank it fairly slowly, and it got stale… amazingly fast. I would’ve liked to like it, but this beer just didn’t want to be loved.

    Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic – y’know, I’m just not a big cranberry fan. Maybe its the whole growing up outside the States thing, or maybe cranberries are just heavily overrated (do people ever eat them outside of Thanksgiving and fancy salads?). This beer was light, but unfiltered; any hint of complexity was overwhelmed by carbonation. Its got a slight bitter twinge, which, I guess, comes from the crapberry — I mean, cranberry. An interesting lambic in that sense (every other I’ve ever had have been terribly sweet). Definitely drinkable, just not something I would ever go out and buy.

    Sam Adams Boston Lager – well. You already know how this one works. 😉

    Sam Adams Cream Stout – This definitely lives up to the “Cream” in the name. Wonderful first impression, alike a milk-shakey version of a Sierra Nevada Porter. Got a great full initial taste, but the tail-end of the sip loses that complexity quickly, and there’s not even a hint of an aftertaste. Ah well, just means you should take another sip to relive the initial glory ;).

    Sam Adams Holiday Porter – Mrmm, let’s take a porter, and make a thick chocolate pudding with it. It’s got a widely varied taste profile over time and could (IMO :P) make a delicious full meal by itself, kind of like a dessert beer version of Violet Beauregarde‘s downfall in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Minus turning into a giant blueberry of course.

    Sam Adams Winter Lager – Wow. Wow! Smells like a lighter version of the cream stout, but a very distinct flavour. Goes down candy light with a lingering aftertaste full of cinnamon & nutmeg. It’s like a good chewy spicy cookie in beer form. Even better, it doesn’t fall into the “just make it heavier” winter seasonal beer trap. Definitely my favourite out of the bunch! (Though, as an post-editorial note, I did try this on tap when I was in Boston and while still good, didn’t quite live up to my initial expectations). This beer needs to be snapped up quickly when released though — by the time I got around to ordering a 6pack of this by itself, it was already gone from Freshdirect. =(

    Mrm. Sam Adams. You are my friend. Especially during these East Coast winters.

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    2 Responses

    1. To clarify my position somewhat: it’s certainly true that I’m not a big fan of Sam Adams, but I’ve had the Winter Lager and it’s really just fine, as is the Cream Stout (I’ve never tried the other three “special” ones Dandan reviewed).

      In essence, there are two things for which I have trouble forgiving Sam Adams: 1) The Octoberfest, which to me tastes like alcoholic sugarwater (it was on tap last fall at my local pub and very competitively priced, which is why I’ve spent this much time thinking about it), 2) Sam Adams distracts the general public from the far superior Boston brewery: Harpoon.

    2. You sir are a nimrod. Old Fezziwig’s is by far the finest beer in the holiday classics 12-pack, and by itself worth the cost. You would realize this if your tastebuds were more refined…perhaps you should stop licking the gravel in the alley behind your local pub.

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