HOME > Chowhound > Beer >

Sam Adams Boston Lager Review (4/2/07)

Chinon00 Apr 3, 2007 01:52 PM

Front Row Sports Bars Stroudsburg PA. Served in a chilled pint glass (why must they do this at sports bars) to a steady one inch head. Color was of a light iced tea character. The flavor was roasty-toasty with malt and a pleasant subtle hoppiness. There was also a slight orangey-citrusy flavor reminiscent of Flying Fish ESB along with an almost west coast brightness to it. I was very surprised and pleased as I don’t recall having had a Sam in ages (maybe 15 years). This is still quality brewing IMHO but I still find it hard to believe that this is a lager with the orange and roasted notes so prevalent. I don't recall picking up this much from Sam when I was younger. I'm pretty sure that the answer is that I've changed and not the beer.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. s
    SeanT RE: Chinon00 Apr 3, 2007 02:08 PM

    I love Sam! Back in the old days before Sam was available nationally, I would import Sam from BOulder ,Co. BOulder was the test market for the West and I had to have the Sam. Sammy A will always be one of my faves. Long live the patriot brewer!!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: SeanT
      Chinon00 RE: SeanT Apr 4, 2007 12:32 AM

      I checked out Beer Advocate to read other people's reviews of Sam Adams Boston Lager. Some reviews called it "adjunct". But I'm pretty sure that there is no adjunct in the Boston Lager recipe.

      1. re: Chinon00
        JessKidden RE: Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 10:31 AM

        One of Koch's many PR moves was, early on, having Sam Adams exported to Germany where it was "Reinheitsgebot" approved (the only US beer to do so, altho' I seem to remember Hudepohl's Christian Moerlien doing the same thing around that time).

        A lot of early Boston Beer Co. advertising was comparing his beers to imports (made sense, price wise) and he infamously called Heineken (then the #1 US import) "the Schlitz of Europe- a beer you buy at a gas station" and the "Reinheitsgebot" move was likewise seen (at least by Van Munching) as another slap at Heineken, since it was, at the time, brewed with corn and "couldn't be sold in Germany" according to Koch.

    2. Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 01:49 AM

      I don't often drink SABL, but each time I do, I marvel at the depth of flavor. It's a very well-made beer.

      20 Replies
      1. re: Jim Dorsch
        braineater RE: Jim Dorsch Apr 4, 2007 03:16 AM

        I was just saying exactly the opposite this weekend. It's not often that I drink Sam Adams (except the Double Bock, which I drink lots of in the spring), but every time I do, I'm reminded that it does absolutely nothing for me, at all. I just don't get the hype surrounding this beer.

        1. re: braineater
          Chinon00 RE: braineater Apr 4, 2007 04:49 AM

          Hope you don't mind if I ask but for comparison what is your favorite in that style (i.e. vienna lager)?

          Thanks!

          1. re: Chinon00
            Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 05:59 AM

            Michael Jackson has compared it to a pilsner, and while it's obviously too dark for a pils, it's certainly hoppier than a Vienna lager.

            1. re: Jim Dorsch
              s
              SeanT RE: Jim Dorsch Apr 5, 2007 09:59 AM

              I have always thought that Sammy A was modeled after Spaten. What does the dancing shemale consider a german lager? I think the Germans will be a bit tweaked if you call their beer a pilsner or a vieneese lager.

              1. re: SeanT
                t
                Thirsty Dog RE: SeanT Apr 6, 2007 11:45 AM

                I don't think that they would be too upset about the pilsner comment. Plzen used to be under German control and was in what was called the Sudatenland, which was the name used in the first half of the 20th century for the regions inhabited mostly by Germans in the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia associated with Bohemia.
                But the Vienna comment might not get as favorable response...What is a Vienna lager anyway?

                1. re: Thirsty Dog
                  Jim Dorsch RE: Thirsty Dog Apr 6, 2007 07:16 PM

                  Here's some information on beer styles. Vienna lager is on page 26.

                  http://www.beertown.org/education/pdf...

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch
                    t
                    Thirsty Dog RE: Jim Dorsch Apr 7, 2007 04:53 AM

                    Hello Mr Dorsch,

                    Thanks for the informative limk. Would you know of any Austrian or German brands of Vienna Lager which you would recommend?

                    1. re: Thirsty Dog
                      Jim Dorsch RE: Thirsty Dog Apr 7, 2007 02:40 PM

                      Please call me Jim.

                      Probably the most common examples of the style would be the Oktoberfestbiers you see each fall, such as Spaten.

                  2. re: Thirsty Dog
                    Eat_Nopal RE: Thirsty Dog May 16, 2007 09:55 AM

                    If you've had Negra Modelo or Dos Equis Amber you've had a Vienna Lager. In fact, the recipes were derived from the well guarded recipes of the brewmasters of Maximilian the Hapsburg Emperor that ruled Mexico for a couple of years backed by Napoleon III forces (whose defeat at the same time as the U.S. Civil War is the reason the U.S. has been celebrating Cinco de Mayo since 1863).

                  3. re: SeanT
                    JMF RE: SeanT Apr 8, 2007 06:50 AM

                    Dancing shemale? Oh, you mean the other Michael Jackson. That creature would never come to my mind when talking about beer.

                  4. re: Jim Dorsch
                    t
                    Thirsty Dog RE: Jim Dorsch Apr 6, 2007 11:41 AM

                    I must agree with Mr Dorsch. I worked for two years for the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen, but everytime I fly out of JFK, I make it a ritual to have a Samual Adams Boston Lager at one of the airport bars in JFK. It never fails to dissapoint, but it certainly is a different animal than a classic pilsner beer. But in terms of hoppiness, I think that Pilsner Urquell, though not as complex in taste, has more of a hoppy bitterness than the Sammy. Too bad my mom won't send me a keg of Sammy in the mail...

                    1. re: Thirsty Dog
                      therealbigtasty RE: Thirsty Dog Apr 8, 2007 02:39 AM

                      Plzen? Are they seeking interns?

                      I went there in 99 on a beer pilgrimage and had the BEST time ever in that brewery...maybe too good of a time. In fact I had about twelve good times walking through and around that brewery...

                      1. re: therealbigtasty
                        t
                        Thirsty Dog RE: therealbigtasty May 2, 2007 07:22 AM

                        Hello Bigtastey,
                        Did you get to drink the unfiltered, unpasteurized beer in the cellar?
                        We used to fill 1.5 litre bottles with this "living" beer home with us. Now you can get this beer in one pub here in Plzen called Parkan or Na Parkane.
                        Just thinking of it makes my mouth water.

                        1. re: Thirsty Dog
                          therealbigtasty RE: Thirsty Dog May 2, 2007 10:45 PM

                          YES! I did taste that lovely beer. They gave a rather small cup to me at the tour, I remember and it was EXCELLENT!

                          The cellar was gorgeous! I'm very happy that I went there...

                          I need to go back!

                      2. re: Thirsty Dog
                        JMF RE: Thirsty Dog Apr 8, 2007 06:51 AM

                        It never fails to dissapoint? LOL Don't you mean it never disspoints? Or it never fails to please?

                        1. re: JMF
                          t
                          Thirsty Dog RE: JMF May 2, 2007 07:14 AM

                          Hello Jim,

                          Sorry for my bad english, but I gather that you knew what I meant to say in that I THOUROUGHLY

                          1. re: JMF
                            t
                            Thirsty Dog RE: JMF May 2, 2007 07:15 AM

                            Hello Jim,

                            Sorry for my bad english, but I gather that you knew what I meant to say in that I THOUROUGHLY enjoy a good Sammy.
                            But a Brooklyn IPA would really hit the spot today...

                            Greetings from Plzen,

                            Thirsty Dog

                      3. re: Chinon00
                        braineater RE: Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 06:43 AM

                        I haven't had many Vienna lagers that I was particularly fond of, but I do remember thinking Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager was pretty good. I'm really not much of a lager guy, though I enjoy a good kellerbier, schwarzbier, or double bock on occasion.

                      4. re: braineater
                        air RE: braineater Apr 9, 2007 12:08 PM

                        Oh cool, since the White Ale is seasonal, should I be expecting their double bock to be on draft when the White Ale's season ends?

                        I'd definitely love to try it, dopplebocks are my favorite style of beer.

                        1. re: air
                          braineater RE: air Apr 12, 2007 06:54 AM

                          I assume they make kegs of their Double Bock, but I've never, ever seen it on tap. The Double Bock actually comes out sometime after their Winter Lager and is around until sometime after the White Ale is released. It's their least marketed seasonal, to the point that they don't list it in the matrix of beers on their seasonal packaging. If you haven't seen it yet, it's probably too late, as it's been starting to disappear from the Boston area already.

                    2. Josh RE: Chinon00 Apr 14, 2007 06:52 PM

                      A friend took me to a dive bar today to get a Budweiser. (We'd been moving all day). I must confess, the Budweiser is a better beer than I remember it being, though it's not really a very flavorful brew. I followed it with a Sam Adams Boston Lager, and it really drives home just how good a beer the Sam Adams is compared to the typical American lager. Subtle hop bitterness balancing a roasty malt backbone. I don't like all their beers, but the Boston Lager is a good one.

                      1. TongoRad RE: Chinon00 Apr 17, 2007 07:15 AM

                        The problem with SABL has long been its consistency- you never know what you're going to get as far as the hop profile is concerned. When it is 'on' then, duuuude that's one pretty kick-ass brew, but when there is barely a hop presence (like in the last two sixers I bought, fwiw) I'd say that it is a fairly ordinary, though still drinkable, beer. I also don't find freshness as any indicator that one is going to get a good one.

                        I remember one time, over 10 years ago, when I got a 'magic' case that was absolutely screaming with hops- you could seriously smell an open bottle from across the room. God, that was a great one- unfortunately it must've been a mistake because I haven't come across anything remotely like it since (or even in the many years prior to getting it as well). My thoughts of "hey, BBC has really gotten its act together" were to be short lived ;)

                        Some variation is to be expected when it comes to beer, of course. There are just too many variables at play to make it otherwise. But when I consider SABL against all of my other beer drinking experiences since the early 80's I 'd have to say that, for whatever reason, that product is a hell of a lot more variable than anything else in its ballpark, which is a shame. It 'can' be a winner, though, and that's probably why I keep going back to it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TongoRad
                          k
                          kenito799 RE: TongoRad May 14, 2007 09:27 AM

                          I avoid SABL because it makes me thirsty. Could it have more salt than other beers? Seriously, this doesnt happen with any other beers, IPAs, Hop Devil, you name it. I just get tired of drinking SABL after about two sips.

                        2. j
                          jzerocsk RE: Chinon00 May 2, 2007 07:22 AM

                          Is it possible someone slipped you the Summer Ale instead of the standard Boston Lager?

                          1. j
                            japhyryder RE: Chinon00 May 2, 2007 08:13 AM

                            i have often compared SABL to a honda accord...there is nothing worng with it...it does the job nicely and appeals to a broad palate, but it never curls your toes. i like to drink it at Fenway and also like that it's in almost every bar in the country it seems. It's what i buy when i'm having people over and don't know if they are beer drinkers or if they just drink beer.

                            otherwise, i think about the food and the atmosphere and select beer accordingly.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: japhyryder
                              h
                              healthyscratch RE: japhyryder May 3, 2007 08:23 AM

                              "It's what i buy when i'm having people over and don't know if they are beer drinkers or if they just drink beer."

                              I like that. Are you a beer drinker, or do you drink beer? Good distinction.

                              SABL is probably the "safest" beer you can bring to or supply for a random event. Not too much of a step up or down for most.

                              1. re: healthyscratch
                                s
                                SeanT RE: healthyscratch May 11, 2007 01:20 PM

                                I think that if you blind taste tested several brews and took the micro micro coolness factor out that sam would fare very well in any taste test.

                                1. re: SeanT
                                  Josh RE: SeanT May 14, 2007 01:12 PM

                                  Apparently not.

                                  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/...

                                  1. re: Josh
                                    Chinon00 RE: Josh May 14, 2007 01:29 PM

                                    I might take the results of that particular contest with a grain of salt (one like the size of a boulder); Victory Prima Pils defeated by Bud?

                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                      Josh RE: Chinon00 May 14, 2007 03:21 PM

                                      No it was Victory Lager, not Prima Pils. I'd heard from more than one source that Victory Lager is not so good. Initially my reaction was the same as yours, but a lot of the other head-to-heads came out as I'd have expected.

                                      1. re: Josh
                                        JessKidden RE: Josh May 14, 2007 05:01 PM

                                        Hmmm... looks like the real winner of that contest was Matt's- since they brew both the Brooklyn and the Saranac (as well, IIRC, as Pete's- which was one of the final 8).

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          Chinon00 RE: Josh May 15, 2007 06:16 AM

                                          me thinks it has gotta be better than Bud though (which I do consider to be "beer" but at the absolute bottom threshold). Victory Lager I believe is a Helles lager. I've had it more than once. I don't think that anyone who really appreciates beer would choose a Bud over it.

                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                            Josh RE: Chinon00 May 15, 2007 08:55 AM

                                            It could be they got a bad bottle. I was surprised by that result as well, but OTOH I was also pleasantly surprised by Budweiser the last time I had it. The worst you can say about Bud is it's not very flavorful, but it doesn't actually taste bad. I've had homebrews that made me want to find the nearest spit bucket in a hurry, but Bud I simply found inoffensive.

                                      2. re: Josh
                                        ccbweb RE: Josh May 15, 2007 11:46 AM

                                        The way they set up the bracket, one could argue that Sam Adam's could, in fact, be the second best beer in the field. It lost to the overall winnner. And Brooklyn Lager is good stuff. I'm not saying that Sam Adam's is better than everything else, necessarily, but it wasn't a taste test of every one of them versus every other one of them.

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          j
                                          japhyryder RE: Josh May 16, 2007 08:58 AM

                                          to me the problem with the brackets is that they aren't comparing like beers...putting a #9 (not quite pale ale) against a brown ale is like comparing a pug and a huskey...they are both fine, but are different by design...a better system may have been to run brown ales against brown ales and pilsners v. plsners etc...then if they wanted to run the winners of each style head t head it would make morse sense, but generally a porter and a pilsner can't really be compared, unless you are asking which exemplifies the style best. a porter by the fire can't be compared with a corona on the beach...they are brewed for certain standards and this head to head seems to miss that.

                                          1. re: japhyryder
                                            Josh RE: japhyryder May 16, 2007 11:50 AM

                                            I'd disagree somewhat. Being by a fire isn't what makes a porter good, just as being at the beach can't convert Corona into good beer.

                                            1. re: Josh
                                              j
                                              japhyryder RE: Josh May 16, 2007 12:52 PM

                                              no being by a fire doesn't make a good porter. my point was only that an Anchor Porter, a fine porter, wouldn't make for a good beach beer, or go well with fish tacos and to put an anchor porter head to head with a corona (not that this happened in the trial) would be like putting an F150 up against an Audi A4 saying they both have AWD or 4x4. they are what they are and don't pretend to be the other.

                                              when it's winter and cold i like a darker more robust beer, and in the summer somthing lighter (though Harpoon IPA is summer brew enough for me) is what i look for, but i'd not say one is better than the other because i view them as being distinctly different and that was the point at which i was driving

                                  Show Hidden Posts