Fall is in the air, well at least a little bit, but regardless of mother nature Octoberfest beers have started to hit the market. One of my favorites every year is from Sam Adams, with their Octoberfest. This was one of my first favorite craft style beers, let’s see how it fares now. Enter Octoberfest:
This beer pours into you glass a nice dark copper color, with a larger than normal head. The smells that come off of it are, like described, a “Malt lover’s dream.” Taste wise, this beer follows suit. Lots of malt flavors hit your tongue, but not overly sweet type malt flavors mind you. The beer is very rich, but not so rich that you can’t drink a few over a sitting. This is a great beer to introduce your “not into beer” friends to a decent seasonal beer.
If you are looking for a quality fall seasonal brew, I’m sure that you will be able to find this one, as it seems to be everywhere. And for the price, it is very hard to pass up. I usually pick it up quite a few times in the fall season. Well done!
Back a few years ago, a friend handed me a couple bottles of Sam Adams with plain labels, the only words printed on them were, “Coffee Stout.” That was it, nothing more, nothing less. They were part of a tasting event where the taste testers could vote on which beer became the next specialty six pack. The contest was between this “Coffee Stout” and a blackberry witbeer. Not to anyone’s surprise, the witbeer won, and the coffee stout fell to the wayside. Disappointed that I would never get to drink that beer again, I made them last for at least two days. What can I say, it was good. Once they were gone, I began my search for a similar style of beer infusing the bitterness of coffee with a darker, heavier malt beverage. Lots of different brands came and went, but I still thought of my first coffee stout.
This year, Sam Adams relased unto the world their winter seasonal 12 pack, and lo and behold, there is a beer called the “Black and Brew Coffee Stout.” Yes please. Let’s see how this beer holds up to how amazing I remember it, as this was in my beer tasting infancy…
For starters, I am a little biased, for I love coffee. I would say that I am as much of a coffee snob as a beer snob. Well, maybe not that much, but thanks to my in-laws, I have been well versed in the world of delicious java. And this beer has the java. Straight from the label, it states that they use 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee per barrel of beer. That is a lot of coffee.
The beer pours more bubbly than you might expect, due to it being a version of an English stout, rather than a traditional Irish one. The beer has WAY more carbonation than a silky Guinness, but this beer is a whole new beast. Roasted coffee beans is the first taste that hits my mouth, hangs out for a bit, and the beer finishes with a nice, bitter bite of dark chocolate. Very pleasing to the taste buds. One of my favorite aspects of this beer though, is the smell. Being a zookeeper, my sense of smell is somewhat distorted, but the scent of this beer cuts through my weakest sense and hits me like my kitchen early in the morning. Coffee is the best part of waking up right?
This beer is a pretty good one if you are into coffee. It is not an overpowering flavor by any means, but it is definitely there when you take a sip. Bravo goes to Sam Adams for at least making this beer to throw into their holiday 12 pack, hopefully they will start making a full on dedicated sixer of this delicious beer. If they made the blackberry witbeer (Which is awful in my opinion) they could add one more sixer variation. At least we can all hope…
Continuing the trend of winter beers, next up is this brew:
Sam Adams knows a thing or two about craft beer, starting in 1984 with the now famous Boston Lager. Being one of the craft pioneers, they continue to make beers a little outside of the box, but not too far out of the norm. That is where this beer comes in.
The Winter Lager is Sam’s winter seasonal(obviously). This beer is smooth, with a nice flavor overall, but something is missing to me. It seems like a weak version of their Boston Lager, with a tiny bit of spice. The taste is very dulled down compared to other winter beers, which is quite the surprise here. I would venture to call it a Boston Lager without the bite. It is good, and it goes down smooth, but nothing spectacular. Sam puts out some good, different style beers, and I feel that this one misses the mark.
Sam Adams is a great company, with a long history in making great beers. I would almost consider them a “gateway” beer. Basically meaning that this beer, and others from them, could be a great entry into the craft beer market when just learning about your own palate. Sam Adams is also my go to bar beer in non urban areas, which usually has a horrible beer selection. It doesn’t matter how far away from civilization that you travel, even the smallest, podunk country bar usually has a bottle or two of Sam Adams for the “city folk.” I am okay with that, and I am sure that Jim Koch is too.
Ever have one of those days that seems to drag on forever? Today was one of those days. With the upcoming feast of Thanksgiving in my mind, and also being my pseudo Friday, the clock seemed to stand still today. Luckily that is in the past, and in my present is a beer from the cellar: 2010 Sam Adams Double Bock.
Double Bocks (aka Doppelbock) are one of my favorite types of beer this time of year. I tend to judge all double bocks by one beer alone: Ayinger’s Celebrator. That is the end all, be all of bock beers. But enough about that, let’s get to the Sam Adams version.
This beer is part of their Imperial series of brews. Sold in four packs, and usually packing a little higher alcohol content. This beer weighs in at 9.5% ABV. The beer balances that high of an alcohol content with lots and lots of malt. According to their website, they use a half pound of malt per bottle. Yes, I said per bottle. This results in a sweet tasting beer, with a little alcohol taste, some light hop character, and a tiny bit of lager bitterness to finish it off. This is a delightful beer. This vintage, from 2010, has a little more alcohol taste to it, just from the aging process. Not overbearing, but just a little more kick than last year. This makes me happy that I finally have a place to store beer!
If you are wondering about the goat on the label, here is why: Almost all bock beers have a goat on the label. “Bock” in German means billy goat. There are many theories as to why they went with the term, but the one that I tend to agree with is that the beer has a kick like a goat. If being kicked by a goat is this awesome, then count me in.
On the topic of goats, I thought I would end this post with a funny goat video. The video posted below is not really funny, but absolutely amazing. Nature amazes me every day. That said, here is the bird tie in to this post, a Golden Eagle hunting mountain goats:
Nature is amazing.