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Apr 3, 2007 01:52 PM

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

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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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. 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

        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

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


          1. re: Chinon00

            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

              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

                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

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


                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                    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

                      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

                    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

                    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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

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

                        1. re: JMF

                          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

                            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

                        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

                        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

                          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. 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. 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

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