Monday, October 29, 2018

Old Friends: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

What could be a more appropriate way to mark my 1000th post on Fuggled, than to write about one of the earliest American craft beers that I remember drinking? I say 1000th post with some qualification however, as there have been 1066 posts prior to this, it's just that 67 of them were guest posts or Brewer of the Week interviews where most of the content was provided by someone else, so I am not counting them.

There was a time when Samuel Adams Boston Lager was a reliable go to beer when the place I was in had nothing better on offer, whether that be a store or a restaurant. Given the changes that having 12 month old twin sons have wrought, I hadn't drunk it in an age, we rarely go to restaurants any more, and I am brewing more of my own beer than buying stuff at the moment. Still, Boston Lager would sit on the shelves like an old flame winking seductively, and this weekend I succumbed to the temptation and bought a couple of bottles.

Pouring the two bottles into my Purkmistr half litre mug, one of my favourite glasses, it was a delightful shade of light copper or amber, with a firmish white head that lingered for a while, and no visible carbonation. Definitely still looked the part. The aroma was mainly a bready malt quality, with a bit of light toffee sweetness, balanced with grassy hops that danced merrily into floral territory as well.

Leaving behind the olfactory delights, tastewise the bready thing was there in the drinking, with a toasty edge, toast that had been schmeered with dulce de leche that is, and then there was something you hadn't noticed before, a bitterness that seemed out of place, like singed sugar, acrid, distracting, not something you remember, absence may have made the heart grow fonder.

The sugary sweetness definitely dominated here, and given the fact that I am very regular lager drinker a couple of things were missing, bitterness and the clean snap of a well lagered beer. So entirely absent were they that the beer was basically unpalatably sweet and syrupy. I don't remember Boston Lager being so entirely meh, perhaps my tastes have changed? Perhaps the beer was been "re-formulated" to make it "smoother" (brewery code for making a beer bland as all hell by ditching the bittering hops)? Whatever it was, the daliance was a disappointment, and not one I plan to repeat again any time in the near future.


  1. Sam Adams Boston Lager was my gateway beer away from industrial lager. Great beer and very under valued. Sam Adams used to make a Porter called Honey Porter made with Honey. It was a pure delight, the honey mixed well with roasted coffee and cocoa notes of the porter. They no longer make it but it was pure heaven.

  2. I remember the honey porter, it was a lovely beer. I still miss their old sprint seasonal, Alpine Spring, a magnificent pale lager.

    1. A proper Munich Helles. There is a brewery in Kansas City specializing in German brews. They make a wonderful Helles, they brew by using decoction method of mashing. KC Bier Company is the brewer.

      Another great lager that I don't see anymore from Sam Adams is Noble Pils. I adored the stuff 10 years ago.

  3. Congrats on your 1000th post! Shame it's such a sad read. Sam Adams lager was one of my go-tos when I did survey work on the road back in the early to mid 00s. Mostly because you could almost always find it. Made a great shower beer in a cheap hotel when you're washing off the grime of the day's work. Do you suppose the beer's changed, or your tastes, or maybe it was a bad/old batch? I'd imagine those bottles spend more time on the shelf than they did back when, with all the shiny new beers that are available.


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