Samuel Adams Longshot 2010

“Longshot” is a homebrew contest sponsored by Samuel Adams. The winners get to have their beer nationally distributed. It generally attracts upwards of 700 entries; that’s a lot of competition.

I finally got around to picking up a six-pack of the 2010 winners. (You can get more information from the Samuel Adams press release.) And none-too-soon, as the 2011 winners will be announced at the Great American Beer Festival at the end of September.

From the press release:

As avid homebrewers know, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) classifies beer styles into 22 different categories depending on style and brewing process, and they reserve “Category 23” for beers whose ingredients are so unusual that they need a place all their own. This year, the brewers at Samuel Adams wanted to focus the annual competition on these innovative beers.

These certainly are interesting. Unclassifiable, almost.

Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale combines his love of hops with his affinity for spicy Belgian ales.  To develop his recipe, Roper created a hybrid of two styles, uniting the big hoppy taste of an IPA with the spicy, fruity flavor of a Belgian. The toasty caramel sweetness from the malt and Belgian candi sugar mimics a Belgian ale, while the big citrus hop notes of an IPA balance the style. A spicy yeast fermentation and hints of orange and coriander round out the brew. Richard’s Friar Hop Ale is a refreshing beer that can be enjoyed any time of year.

Orange with a bit of chill haze. Head drops right away. There’s that Belgian spice: coriander, clove, banana. Mouthfeel is light, especially for how “big” it is. It’s pretty good, and I’ll gladly have another. However, if I’m going to have an unholy alliance of a Belgian style and an IPA I prefer Raging Bitch from Flying Dog.

Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops is a perfect combination of deep roasted malt character and citrusy hop bitterness. Harnessing eight years of homebrewing knowledge, Rodney found that combining debittered dark malts and citrusy hops yielded a surprising and unique flavor for this brew. Its black color hints at roasted malt and coffee flavors, but it is the big hop character really steals the show.  Packed with citrusy and piney American hops, this beer has a big flavor and clean bitterness. This is Rodney’s second LongShot American Homebrew Contest win; he won in 2007 with a Weizenbock and his beer was included in the 2008 LongShot Variety Pack.

Dark chocolate brown with a macchiatto head. Aroma has some of that nice roasty flavor, but I’m getting quite a bit of pine from the hops. Good, rich, bitter flavor, reminescent of a good coffee. Even more bitterness in the aftertaste. I like this one a lot. (7% ABV)

Caitlin DeClercq has worked as a member of the Samuel Adams sales team since 2006. She created her Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat with dried lavender petals, giving it a fragrant but soft aroma.  A citrus tartness and slight sweetness from the honey and vanilla balance out the finish in this California resident’s brew, perfect to sip while kicking back and relaxing.

Light gold and clear with a white head. Floral aroma, which is to be expected with lavender petals, but it’s not perfumy, like I’ve had with some beers. Nice, full body. Not overly sweet, which I was afraid of. Nice bitter aftertaste, but balanced. I really like this. I want some more. (5.5% ABV)

Congratulations to all the winners. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Beer News Sampler

A quick collection of beer-related news items that caught our eye recently.

Applying Agile Principles to Brewing a Beer
What happens when you brew beer like you’re developing software?

The Most Ridiculous Beer Names of All Time
The Huffington Post has a photo collage of what they’re calling the most ridiculous beer names. I’ve had quite a few of these, and most of the others are on my to-do list. I don’t know about you, but I think these names are great.

Sam Adams Hopes to Add Prestige with Champagne-style Beer
It’s called Infinium, will come in 750-ml corked bottles with foil, and will retail for $19.99.

Archeologists Link Rise of Civilization and Beer’s Invention
Makes sense to me.

Little beer book a big hit
Graphic designer creates chip-bound book for recording notes for thirty-three beers at a time. Beer geeks around the world rejoice. Guinness even contracts for some with their brand.

This is the Golden Age of Craft Beer
Even if we can’t all agree on the definition of “Craft Beer”.

Samuel Adams Cream Stout

Beer-a-Day #357 Samuel Adams Cream Stout

Samuel Adams® Cream Stout is a true cream stout, balancing body and sweetness with the natural spiciness of grain and hand selected English hops. Our Brewers use generous portions of roasted chocolate and caramel malts as well as unroasted barley to impart a fullness of body, a roasty malt character and rich, creamy head. Its dark mahogany color make it almost as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate.

Deep dark color with ruby highlights. Roasty and bready aroma. Creamy and roasted flavor; very smooth. Almost too smooth. I could have plenty more of these.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Boston Ale

Beer-a-Day #267Samuel Adams Boston Ale

Samuel Adams® Boston Ale was first brewed to celebrate the opening of our Boston Brewery. Like Samuel Adams Boston Lager®, it was an old family recipe that was rescued by Jim Koch from his father’s attic. Samuel Adams® Boston Ale, a Stock Ale, has a complex, caramel malt character balanced with distinct spicy and herbal hop notes. Our proprietary ale yeast imparts a variety of fruit and ester notes in both the nose and flavor which are indicative of the style.

It’s the color of iced tea and smells quite interesting. Mouthfeel is creamier than I expected and has a nice, rich, nutty taste to it. It’s a bit different. I like it.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Beer-a-Day #258Samuel Adams Octoberfest

The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep golden amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest is a malt lover’s dream, masterfully blending together five roasts of barley to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The beer is kept from being overly sweet by the elegant bitterness imparted by the German Noble hops. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the winter’s heartier brews.

Deep amber with orange highlights. Malty aroma with a bit of woodiness. Medium body nicely balanced. I like it.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Samuel Adams Summer Ale (photo © Christopher Vigliotti)

Samuel Adams Summer Ale (photo © Christopher Vigliotti)

Beer-a-Day #246

In anticipation of tomorrow’s Session topic (Summer Beers) I pulled this out of the fridge. It’s been actually chilly in the mornings the last few days, so I figured I’d better drink this before the autumn weather starts in earnest.

Samuel Adams® Summer Ale is an American wheat ale. This summer seasonal uses malted wheat as well as lemon zest and grains of paradise, a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body. The ale fermentation imparts a background tropical fruit note reminiscent of mangos and peaches. All of these come together to create a quenching, clean finishing beer perfect for those warm Summer days.

Pale blonde; slightly hazy. Head is white with tight bubbles. A lot of those fruity, peppery notes you get from wheat. Light, with a clean finish. Very refreshing.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Boston Lager (image © Christopher Vigliotti)

Samuel Adams Boston Lager (image © Christopher Vigliotti)

Beer-a-Day #242

Samuel Adams Boston Lager® is the best example of the fundamental characteristics of a great beer, offering a full, rich flavor that is both balanced and complex. It is brewed using a decoction mash, a time consuming, traditional four vessel brewing process discarded by many contemporary brewers. This process brings forth a rich sweetness from the malt that makes it well worth the effort. Samuel Adams Boston Lager® also uses only the finest of ingredients including two row barley, as well as German Noble aroma hops. The exclusive use of two row barley not only imparts a full, smooth body but also gives the beer a wide spectrum of malt flavor ranging from slightly sweet to caramel to slightly roasted. The Noble hops varieties, Hallertau Mittelfruh and Tettnang Tettnanger, add a wide range of floral, piney and citrus notes, which are present from the aroma, through the flavor, to the lingering smooth finish.  We take great pride in the Noble hops used in our beers.  They are hand selected by Jim Koch and our other brewers from the world’s oldest hops growing area.  Among the world’s most expensive, they cost twenty times as much as other hops.

For all its ubiquity, I seldom drink Sam Adams Boston Lager, and haven’t ever written about it. I suppose it’s because, for me, Boston Lager was the “gateway” to better beer and I haven’t looked back. Or maybe it’s because back in the day I had so much of it. Either way, it’s my selection for today. Armed with my Samuel Adams “Better Glass” I’m looking forward to this.

It pours clear and golden, like good honey. Head is white and craggy and retreats relatively quickly. The nucleation sites on the bottom of the glass are providing a non-stop flow of bubbles. A bunch of floral in the aroma as well as some toastiness. Body is light, but still has substance. More toastiness in the finish. That’s some good stuff.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Imperial White

Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteBeer-a-Day #176

This is another in the Samuel Adams Imperial Series.

Samuel Adams® Imperial White is a new perspective on the classic witbier style. Witbiers are normally light and refreshing with a fruity finish and we wanted to see how these characteristics would stand up when we amped up the recipe. We were totally blown away by the flavors that were created by this beer.

This is not just a more intense version of our spring seasonal Samuel Adams® White Ale. Imperial White is a new recipe that stands on it own merits. In fact, it is more of a wine substitute than just another refreshing witbier. This is a beer that should be sipped and savored and you’ll be amazed at the flavors you’ll discover as the beer warms and opens up.

Witbiers are not generally a favorite of mine, but this sounds intriguing.

Medium amber and hazy; thick, off-white head. It smells like a wit, but much bigger. Big body. It reminds me of a doppelbock, honestly. Some alcohol heat.

10.3% ABV. This will be my only beer of the evening, but I will thoroughly enjoy it.

Sam Adams LongShot – Double IPA

Sam Adams LongShot Double IPABeer-a-Day #175

Sam Adams week continues with the last of the LongShot winners. Actually, this was a winner from 2007 that needed to wait until 2009 until Sam Adams could “source the ingredients needed to provide a true representation of his recipe.”

I’m fine with having waited. A Double IPA is right up my alley.

(Gee, I hop that’s yeast floating in the bottom of the bottle…)

Hazy amber with a finger’s worth of head. Earthy, grassy, aroma; loads of hops. And then a boatload of hops in the flavor. Wow!