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sam adams: is it serious beer?? which are best and which are your faves??

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MarkG Jun 10, 2007 12:28 AM

it is probably the pre eminent American brand not counting the mega bews like Bud and Miller.

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    niquejim RE: MarkG Jun 10, 2007 06:43 AM

    Sam was the first beer I had that had flavour and inspired me to try more. I still like the Boston Ale, Black Lager and Old Fezzywigg, And while I no longer really like the Cranberry Lambic it did get me to try true versions of that style. Also their homebrew competition got me started homebrewing, so I'll be grateful to Jim forever for that.

    1. Psychobabble RE: MarkG Jun 10, 2007 08:53 AM

      I love the Imperial Pilsner, and maybe one day I'll get to try the Utopias. I remember enjoying the Boston Lager immensely 15-20 years ago, before the influx of microbrews on the market and when the only other choices were BMC and green bottle imports. Since today there are better choices IMO, I seldom if ever buy any of the contract-brewed SA six packs (BL, Pale Ale, White Ale, Summer Ale, etc.), though they're basically decent and still might be the only real choice in many areas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Psychobabble
        k
        Kenji RE: Psychobabble Aug 13, 2007 06:50 AM

        Yeah, the Imperial Pilsner really surprised me. Most of the SA products strike me as extremely nondescript, but I liked the IP a lot. I thought it really tasted like a concentrated pilsner.

      2. MVNYC RE: MarkG Jun 10, 2007 09:03 AM

        Sam Adams brews some really quality stuff. While i do not enjoy everything they produce they are a solid brewery and one that generally brings BMC drinkers into the wider world of beer. When I am in a beer wasteland, Boston Lager is my go to choice.

        My favourites that they make are Double Bock, Old Fezziwig, Holliday Porter, Black lager, Boston Lager.

        Good but I wouldnt go out of my way for:Scotch Ale, Boston Ale, IPA.

        Dont like:Cherry Wheat, Cranberry lambic, Summer ale, Hefeweizen, White ale(I just do not like their attempts at any wheat beers)

        I had the Triple Bock back in 1995 and remember it tasting like balsamic vinegar. However i was only 19 at the time so I figured i would give it another shot. I just got a bottle off of ebay to see how it has aged and/or how my pallette has changed. I will post my findings.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MVNYC
          braineater RE: MVNYC Jun 17, 2007 07:09 PM

          You'll likely find that, with age, the character of Triple Bock evolves from bright and balsamic to subtle, smooth, and very much like soy sauce. ;-)

          1. re: braineater
            Harp00n RE: braineater Jun 17, 2007 07:26 PM

            ....and hopefully, not La Choy's :-))

          2. re: MVNYC
            revsharkie RE: MVNYC Jun 17, 2007 07:34 PM

            We don't get a huge selection here in the Middle of Nowhere, Iowa, but what I've tasted I like...EXCEPT the Cherry Wheat. Mike brought me home a six of that once, thinking I might like it. My first thought was, "Who put Robitussin in my beer?"

            1. re: MVNYC
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              Little T. RE: MVNYC Jun 25, 2007 08:44 PM

              I thought the White Ale was great this year, on tap.

            2. amyzan RE: MarkG Jun 10, 2007 01:01 PM

              My mom says their light lager is the best lower alcohol beer commonly sold, and has much more flavor than any of the lights.

              1. m
                mojoeater RE: MarkG Jun 10, 2007 01:09 PM

                I think Sam Adams is one of the breweries responsible for bringing greater attention to and appreciation of American craft brews. While their beers are never my first choice, they are much better than the mega-corporate ones. And I thank them for opening the door for smaller, more specialized microbrews.

                20 Replies
                1. re: mojoeater
                  stellamystar RE: mojoeater Jun 11, 2007 12:15 PM

                  When I am at a bar and there isn't a true european brew in site, Sammy is always my fave.

                  1. re: stellamystar
                    Chinon00 RE: stellamystar Jun 11, 2007 07:30 PM

                    Stella or Sammy?

                    1. re: Chinon00
                      stellamystar RE: Chinon00 Jun 12, 2007 12:44 PM

                      Ooooohhh...Stella over Sammy. :) of course.

                      1. re: stellamystar
                        MVNYC RE: stellamystar Jun 13, 2007 02:06 PM

                        Stella is Belgian for Budweiser.

                        1. re: MVNYC
                          stellamystar RE: MVNYC Jun 14, 2007 11:57 AM

                          I still enjoy it.

                          1. re: stellamystar
                            Josh RE: stellamystar Jun 14, 2007 02:04 PM

                            Yeah a lot of people do. Never understood the popularity, myself. Tastes indistinguishable from any other mass-market Euro lager.

                            1. re: Josh
                              Chinon00 RE: Josh Jun 14, 2007 02:40 PM

                              Stella had outrageous marketing behind it. I hadn't seen anything like it since the Spice Girls back in the mid 90s.

                              1. re: Chinon00
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                                chrisinroch RE: Chinon00 Jun 14, 2007 04:29 PM

                                totally agree, stella is bad special export. ;)

                        2. re: stellamystar
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                          RIChowderhead RE: stellamystar Jun 16, 2007 09:55 PM

                          I hated Stella the moment I tasted it. I think they began their marketing blitz in the 70's which was the first and nearly the last time I drank it. I tried some more recently since it had been years since. I didn't finish it. IMO you're better off with an Urquell, or even a Budvar (just had it again in Israel).

                          1. re: stellamystar
                            a
                            adrienne156 RE: stellamystar Jun 25, 2007 09:53 PM

                            In the UK they call Stella the "wife beater beer" because people get so belligerent off that stuff and bars will actually put you on a Stella "ban" if you get too rowdy.

                            Stella is a great dive bar beer.

                            1. re: adrienne156
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                              RIChowderhead RE: adrienne156 Jun 26, 2007 08:09 PM

                              It was only good when Brando cried it out.

                              1. re: RIChowderhead
                                Harp00n RE: RIChowderhead Jun 26, 2007 08:39 PM

                                What, yo Adrienne?

                                1. re: Harp00n
                                  m
                                  mojoeater RE: Harp00n Jun 26, 2007 08:42 PM

                                  "Stella!"

                                  1. re: mojoeater
                                    Harp00n RE: mojoeater Jun 26, 2007 09:07 PM

                                    That's correct but not ironic :-))

                                2. re: RIChowderhead
                                  a
                                  adrienne156 RE: RIChowderhead Jun 27, 2007 09:27 AM

                                  To each his or her own.

                          2. re: stellamystar
                            Chinon00 RE: stellamystar Jun 14, 2007 02:12 PM

                            I'm still trying to figure out just what a "true [E]uropean brew" is. Apparently Stella qualifies?

                            1. re: Chinon00
                              Josh RE: Chinon00 Jun 14, 2007 06:45 PM

                              It *is* brewed in Europe. Like St. Pauli Girl. Or Grolsch. >:-D

                              1. re: Josh
                                Chinon00 RE: Josh Jun 15, 2007 06:05 AM

                                Stella Artois was again brilliant marketing. For the light lager crowd it gave them the same beer that they've always liked but wrapped in apparent gravity and history (i.e. brewery founded in 1366, cool glass, cooler name, imported . . .) Stella had solved the "mystery" of serious beer for many light lager drinkers because by all appearances it looked like a beer snob's beer; but they could drink it and enjoy it . . . like a Bud.

                                1. re: Chinon00
                                  Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Jun 15, 2007 06:23 AM

                                  It's interesting that until just a few years ago Stella operated a floor maltings across the street from the brewery.

                                  They have done a great marketing job. I understand that Stella glassware is part of the package if you want to serve the beer on-premise.

                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                    Harp00n RE: Chinon00 Jun 16, 2007 08:18 PM

                                    Considering how many bottles of dreck, with that friggin' slice of lime and at premium pricing, Corona sells they walk away with the prize as Champions of Hype Marketing, IMO. Stella is a just worthy also-ran in this contest.

                          3. jenni RE: MarkG Jun 12, 2007 12:44 PM

                            I enjoy Sam's too. They produce a tasty, consistent product. I like the standard Boston Lager, Old Fezziwig is a good one. The Brown Ale is nice.

                            1. Amuse Bouches RE: MarkG Jun 14, 2007 02:14 PM

                              Sam Adams is always a good fallback -- my favorite is the Octoberfest, and I always buy some when it's out.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Amuse Bouches
                                j
                                jeffbatl RE: Amuse Bouches Jun 28, 2007 02:04 PM

                                i really like their Octoberfest. it is consistently good. i usually buy a few cases when it first comes out

                              2. misohungrychewlow RE: MarkG Jun 16, 2007 10:14 PM

                                I live in Arizona, so perhaps it's a factor in my experience. I've never had a good Sam Adams. I'm from NE and I really wanted to like it but whenever I've had the lager, either on tap or in the bottle, it tasted sour and spoiled. Other varieties have disappointed, too, though I've never sampled the light version. I've given up on SA. Mind you, I've been a beer hound for decades and was weaned on Anchor in the 70s when it was the only craft beer available. After a long love affair with IPAs and American pales, I've been on a pilsner kick in recent years. My faves include Trumer, Czechvar, Urquell and Sierra Nevada Summerfest, which is superb. Among the regionals that manage wide distribution, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas and Full Sail are all yummy and reliable. Rogue and Stone are good, too, for bottom-fermented styles. I don't drink east coast brews often, but I really dig Brooklyn Lager and Harpoon IPA. BTW, another regional I really wanted to like -- Yuenling -- has been consistently poor in my experience. Too bad. I used to enjoy the NE Brewing Co. products when they were in So. Norwalk before their demise; I haven't tried their hooch since they were resurrected (true?) elsewhere. I liked Elm City, too -- are they still around?

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: misohungrychewlow
                                  Chinon00 RE: misohungrychewlow Jun 17, 2007 04:07 AM

                                  That's too bad about Sam. Not that anyone needs to like it, but I find it unfortunate (as well as statistically mind blowing) that every Sam Adams that you've happened to run into was sour or spoiled.

                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                    misohungrychewlow RE: Chinon00 Jun 17, 2007 12:09 PM

                                    Yeah -- I guess I just didn't like it that much. I've had a lot of other beers that have traveled farther and probably didn't turn over as frequently ... and I should take back the "spoiled" comment, which is harsh. But Phoenix is very hot and it's a long truck/boat/plane ride from many of the breweries that ship here, so I try to take that into account when I taste an acclaimed beer that I don't like.

                                  2. re: misohungrychewlow
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                                    Little T. RE: misohungrychewlow Jun 25, 2007 08:49 PM

                                    I guess it all might be just a matter of taste then. Personally, I think Brooklyn Lager tastes like garbage. Now on the other hand, Yuengling is usually fresh down here in Florida. A cold one or two go great with a juicy el cap cheese burger.

                                    1. re: Little T.
                                      misohungrychewlow RE: Little T. Jun 25, 2007 08:58 PM

                                      Update -- I went to a ballgame in downtown Phx yesterday and the pickings were slim, so ... I had a Sammy, Boston Lager, on tap. It wasn't bad. It was maltier than I prefer, and the hop notes were a little dissonant -- I'm dialed into the central European pilsners these days -- but at least it was fresh.

                                      1. re: misohungrychewlow
                                        Chinon00 RE: misohungrychewlow Jun 26, 2007 03:44 AM

                                        "dissonant"? Could you explain?

                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                          misohungrychewlow RE: Chinon00 Jun 26, 2007 08:49 AM

                                          My recent preferences have drifted toward crentral European Pilsners -- those, to me, currently set the standard for lager. Historically I've been fond of American (esp. NW) IPAs and English pales & IPAs as well, in spite of the different hops they use. To me, the Sammy I had on Sunday was hopped more like an American ale -- not like an IPA by any means, but American -- but the way it played off the malt, which was distinctly stronger, was less pleasing, less crisp, than my favored brews. To contrast, SN Summerfest (so good -- wish they made it all year long!) is bigger than the Europeans I like, but smooth as the malt is set off well by what I guess are American (not Czech at least) hops that provide some floral notes as well as good bite at the back when you quaff it. It's balanced. The Sammy -- draft, ballpark, out of a plastic cup -- didn't harmonize in the same way. It didn't "have a hole in it," like so many crafted brews do, it was good but not great and not my preferred style. At least it tasted fresh.

                                      2. re: Little T.
                                        Josh RE: Little T. Jun 25, 2007 09:11 PM

                                        You must eat some tasty garbage.

                                        1. re: Little T.
                                          Chinon00 RE: Little T. Jun 26, 2007 03:53 AM

                                          Yes I have to agree with Josh. Brooklyn isn't my first choice for any particular style (save their Black Chocolate Stout, ahh) and none of us have to like everything but describing anything that comes out of that brewery as "garbage" is really overstating things a bit don't you agree?
                                          I wouldn't describe the blandest light lager (e.g. Michelob Ultra) as "garbage". I'd reserve that description for things like a white chocolate ale that I had once with real "artificial" white chocolate in it. Disgusting!

                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                            Josh RE: Chinon00 Jun 26, 2007 12:06 PM

                                            If you can, try the Blanche De Brooklyn. One of the best witbiers I've had.

                                          2. re: Little T.
                                            MVNYC RE: Little T. Jun 26, 2007 07:54 AM

                                            I have tried Yeungling many times and have felt it to be the product of "regional Penn pride" sort of hype. Alot of people in and around the Philly area have a sort of fanatical reverence for all things in the area. The beer just doesnt do it for me.

                                            Brooklyn Lager on the other hand is one hell of a beer. Slightly toasted malt with a great hop kick.

                                            1. re: MVNYC
                                              Josh RE: MVNYC Jun 26, 2007 12:05 PM

                                              My buddy brought me back a couple of Brooklyn Lagers from a trip back east. Such a great beer. I am very sad it's not available on the left coast.

                                              1. re: Josh
                                                MVNYC RE: Josh Jun 26, 2007 01:06 PM

                                                Most places in NYC now carry it, it has become my default Summer selection. You usually see it on the same line of taps as Harp, Guiness, Stella, Bass.

                                                I will tell you what I miss out on the right coast, Alesmith(especially Yulesmith) and Russian River.

                                                1. re: MVNYC
                                                  Josh RE: MVNYC Jun 26, 2007 01:08 PM

                                                  It's a pity you left before Lost Abbey really started picking up steam. Their recent releases have been amazing.

                                              2. re: MVNYC
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                                                RIChowderhead RE: MVNYC Jun 26, 2007 08:30 PM

                                                I haven't tried many Yeungling products, but I have had the Victory brews (from Downington, PA. I find them very good.

                                            2. re: misohungrychewlow
                                              k
                                              Kenji RE: misohungrychewlow Aug 12, 2007 05:08 PM

                                              Rogue and Stone, bottomed-fermented styles? Rogue has put out a few lagers, but they -- like Stone -- specialize in ales.

                                              1. re: Kenji
                                                misohungrychewlow RE: Kenji Aug 12, 2007 07:02 PM

                                                Absolutely right, Kenji -- all of my preceding discussion was about bottom-fermented styles, and then I offered Rogue and Stone -- quintessential American ales -- top-fermented, of course -- to contrast. I probably had too much of one or the other when I posted ...

                                            3. h
                                              hammerhead RE: MarkG Jun 17, 2007 07:15 PM

                                              My local pub has about 20 drafts, 15 really good, 5 for the masses. I watched one Sunday afternoon as two guys walked in, marveled over the draft selection, and then giddily ordered a Harp and Stella, respectively. We have a long way to go in this country my friends, but it's getting better, hype machine nonwithstanding.

                                              1. braineater RE: MarkG Jun 17, 2007 07:22 PM

                                                Is it "serious" beer? I would say that, yes, the Boston Beer Co. is very serious about the beers they produce. Is it craft beer? Yes, technically. Is it good craft beer? Well, maybe some of their products are. I do enjoy their Double Bock and Black Lager quite a lot, though they're rather hard to find compared to many of their other products. There are many beers that I've never had, simply due to a lack of interest from store/bar owners, even here in Boston, where people seem to believe the stuff is brewed. However, the Boston Beer Co. has taken many lessons from large-scale brewers like Anheuser-Busch and SAB Miller, and are rapidly approaching the production ceiling for craft brewers (if they haven't already reached it). That's not to say they can't exceed that capacity and still make quality products, but I'm a bit skeptical of any company's ability to expand beyond a certain level and still truly innovate. Of course, if anyone can do it, I expect it would be the BBC. Quadruple Bock, anyone?

                                                1. l
                                                  Loren3 RE: MarkG Jun 25, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                  To me, Boston Brewing IS the Bud and Miller of the "craft" beer business. I'll drink it in an airport bar when those are the only three choices, but there are SO many other, and usually better options. Like misohungrychewlow below, I was reared on Anchor and numerous regional crafts when "Boston" lager was being brewed under contract by Iron City. To me, the taste of the basic Boston lager hasn't improved with increasing industrialization. To be sure, they make some interesting varieties that are worth trying, but for your basic pint in the bar, Sam's will never be my first choice.

                                                  As for who wins the prize for best beer hype, maybe we should start a thread just on that. I was looking at a billboard for Killian's Irish. The tag line was "brewed and brewed and brewed since 1765" or something like that. Then I noticed on the beer label that it's brewed under license from Brasseries Pelford, near Paris. Irish? Coors? since 1765. What total BS.

                                                  15 Replies
                                                  1. re: Loren3
                                                    Chinon00 RE: Loren3 Jun 25, 2007 01:24 PM

                                                    When you say "Boston Brewing IS the Bud and Miller of the "craft" beer business" do you mean in terms of scale of production or in some other regard?

                                                    1. re: Chinon00
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                                                      Loren3 RE: Chinon00 Jun 25, 2007 02:36 PM

                                                      Compared to other craft beers, scale of production and character of flavor. I know they make some terrific specialty beers, but the overwhelming majority of what's available on tap is the undistinguished Boston Lager.

                                                      1. re: Loren3
                                                        Chinon00 RE: Loren3 Jun 25, 2007 03:21 PM

                                                        I wrote a review of Boston Lager a few months back because I was very surprised at how good it was (I hadn't had one in probably ten years). So I guess that we disagree (which is ok). But with so many of the "usual suspects" around: Corona, Heineken, Stella, Amstel (and not to mention the "lights") having Boston Lager around and choosing it over them for me is a no brainer.

                                                        1. re: Chinon00
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                                                          Loren3 RE: Chinon00 Jun 27, 2007 09:30 AM

                                                          I agree that Sam is better than the choices you cite. But here in the Twin Cities we have way too many other options, which is why I pretty much never choose Sam. Not quite as lucky as California, but better by far than say Atlanta, where I moved here from.

                                                          And in reply to Jim Dorsch - BBCo makes some very distiguished beers, but those aren't available in most bars. Compared to most communities' local beers, the basic Boston Lager is pretty undistinguished. Sorry if I wasn't quite clear on that. And really, for me, it's my taste buds, not Mr. Jackson's, who are the decisive factor. If you do find Boston Lager yummy, great. But for me, it's not that exciting.

                                                          1. re: Loren3
                                                            Chinon00 RE: Loren3 Jun 27, 2007 09:48 AM

                                                            But to make sure that we are speaking apples to apples here, what do you consider to be some "exciting" lagers (Non-pilsner style). Note: Boston Lager is a Vienna lager)

                                                            1. re: Chinon00
                                                              Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Jun 27, 2007 10:39 AM

                                                              Boston Lager seems to be somewhere between Vienna and Pilsner. Definitely too hoppy for the Vienna style IMO. And too dark for Pilsner.

                                                              1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                Loren3 RE: Chinon00 Jun 28, 2007 01:24 PM

                                                                To compare apples to apples, I like Negra Modela much better. But I guess my point is why compare apples to apples when, at the farmer's market, Boston Lager is like a red delicious, and I'm surrounded by mangoes, raspberries, guanabana, nectarines... I'll stick with the locals.

                                                                1. re: Loren3
                                                                  Chinon00 RE: Loren3 Jun 28, 2007 01:47 PM

                                                                  Drink what you like to be certain. But you used the term "undistinguished" to describe Boston lager which is a judgement rather than a preference (assuming that we all prefer "distinguished" beer). Having said that I wanted to be clear that in coming to this particular conclusion that you judged Boston Lager versus similar beers and not porters, stouts or ipa's.

                                                                  Thanks

                                                          2. re: Loren3
                                                            Jim Dorsch RE: Loren3 Jun 26, 2007 04:04 AM

                                                            Boston Lager is hardly undistinguished, having garnered kudos from Michael Jackson, for one. I prefer a more assertive beer myself, but there are lots of folks looking for something a bit closer to the center, and Boston Lager fills the bill admirably.

                                                            I don't drink SABL very often these days, but when I do, I always marvel at what a solid, well-made beer it is. It's really a fine product.

                                                            1. re: Jim Dorsch
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                                                              RIChowderhead RE: Jim Dorsch Jun 26, 2007 08:27 PM

                                                              You're right. But in the personal taste arena I can only say that I wish the Boston Ale was as commonly available.

                                                        2. re: Loren3
                                                          Jim Dorsch RE: Loren3 Jun 26, 2007 04:01 AM

                                                          Much of Boston Beer's production is still done under contract. And Iron City can brew beer as well as anyone can. IAC, BBCo controls the production at its contract facilities, so it's not like they just ask them to brew up a batch and then passively await delivery. The issue of where they make the beer and what they call it is a side issue here, and has no bearing on the product's quality.

                                                          Killian's has been a lager beer for a long time, unlike the original Killian's. If I recall, Pelforth and Coors both brew Killian's under license. The original brewery in Ireland ceased production decades ago. Years ago I tried the Pelforth version, and found it vastly superior to the Coors brew.

                                                          1. re: Loren3
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                                                            RIChowderhead RE: Loren3 Jun 26, 2007 08:24 PM

                                                            Hype describes Killian's perfectly. When it came out in it's present guise (late 70's?), the name hid the fact that it was a Coors product. But all it took was one taste (excuse me, Lack of Taste) to realize that it fit the Coors profile.

                                                            1. re: RIChowderhead
                                                              Jim Dorsch RE: RIChowderhead Jun 27, 2007 02:36 AM

                                                              When it first came out, the Coors version of Killian's was (I believe) an ale. Also, at that time it was a somewhat welcome sight, given the paucity of interesting beer in the US, particularly the east. Both the beer and the beer scene have changed radically since then.

                                                              1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                                                jnk RE: Jim Dorsch Jun 27, 2007 04:47 AM

                                                                My first choice for domestic beer is Yeungling. When I can get my hands on it, my first choice for a Canadian beer is Brador

                                                                1. re: jnk
                                                                  Jim Dorsch RE: jnk Jun 27, 2007 05:24 AM

                                                                  I haven't seen Brador in many years. I used to buy it when in Canada. Perhaps it's available in places like northern NY?

                                                                  Ironically, Brador is now made by the same company that brews Killian's in the US.

                                                          2. p
                                                            Pete S RE: MarkG Jun 28, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                            I very much enjoyed the "Hair Of the Dog" beer I recently sampled in Oregon.......

                                                            1. Harp00n RE: MarkG Jun 28, 2007 05:48 PM

                                                              After reading all the posts here, and contributing a few snide remarks of my own, nothing comes as close to mind as the late, great Wilt Chamberlain's often quoted remark; "Everybody pulls for David, nobody roots for Goliath!" Meaning; Jim Koch & The Boston Beer Co. are an easy target with their high visibility, the contract brewing, etc. But at the end of the day, they've put a lot of people in the brewing business either directly or as an example, None of their brew are my first choice in any style, but I do order and enjoy both their lager and Boston Ale when my favorite micros aren't present. You'd think they're commensurate with Heineken in reading some of these posts. They're light years ahead of that skunky-green swill.

                                                              14 Replies
                                                              1. re: Harp00n
                                                                Josh RE: Harp00n Jun 28, 2007 09:51 PM

                                                                I like the Boston lager. It's a malty lager w/ a discernible hop character. That's a good thing. Unlike most on here, I think their specialty beers are where they stumble. Cranberry Lambic, anyone?

                                                                1. re: Josh
                                                                  Harp00n RE: Josh Jun 28, 2007 10:16 PM

                                                                  In a word, NO. I'd rather drink cough syrup :-))

                                                                  1. re: Harp00n
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                                                                    niquejim RE: Harp00n Jun 30, 2007 07:50 AM

                                                                    While I'm no longer a fan of the Cranberry Lambic it did get me to try the real thing. IMHO it is better than Lidermanns!

                                                                    1. re: niquejim
                                                                      Chinon00 RE: niquejim Jun 30, 2007 09:47 AM

                                                                      I can't tell anyone what to prefer or like but my question to you is upon what basis did you conclude that Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic is "better" than Lindeman's? Also, I don't think that Lindeman's makes a cranberry lambic so which did you have of theirs?

                                                                      Thanks

                                                                      1. re: Chinon00
                                                                        Josh RE: Chinon00 Jun 30, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                                        Well, I would agree in one respect with niquejim's comment. Cranberry Lambic tasted more like a bona-fide traditional lambic than Lindeman's offerings do (Cuvee Rene notwithstanding). As I remember it, the Cranberry Lambic was rather tart, like a true lambic should be. Lindeman's fruit lambics are sugary-sweet and one-dimensional compared to the stuff made by Hanssens, Boon, and Oud Beersel.

                                                                        1. re: Josh
                                                                          Chinon00 RE: Josh Jun 30, 2007 03:42 PM

                                                                          "Tart[ness]" may be one feature of a lambic but it should also drink sort of like a funky Champagne. Also, I found it odd that you described Lindeman's as "one-dimensional" but versus breweries OTHER than Sam Adams (which is where I thought that you were going).
                                                                          I've never had Sam Adams' Cranberry Lambic but all the Lindeman's lambics that I've had have been true to the style.

                                                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                                                            Josh RE: Chinon00 Jul 1, 2007 10:26 AM

                                                                            I didn't like the Cranberry Lambic. I didn't think cranberry worked, and overall I thought it was unpleasant tasting. However, it was quite tart, which is one of the attributes of traditional lambics that I think Lindemans misses in their fruit beers, which instead taste really, really sweet.

                                                                            I know that the website of Lindemans' distributor claims they make their beer with the addition of fresh fruit, but I find it strange that their product manages to taste exactly the same, every time. Fresh fruit is notoriously "difficult" for brewers in the sense that it doesn't give a predictable result.

                                                                            Traditional lambics w/ fruit have the fruit added intact, where it ferments out completely over a long period of time. If you try a kriek like the one from Hanssens or Cantillion, you'll see that you don't really get a mouthful of cherry flavor, more a subtle presence.

                                                                            Conversely producers like Lindemans, Belle Vue (not sure if they still exist), Chapeau (ditto), and Mort Subite use fruit juices/syrups and/or sweeteners to get their end result.

                                                                            Another way in which Lindemans production is less traditional than others is their practice of filtering their beers. Their only traditional lambic product is the Cuvee Rene, which is unfiltered and unsweetened.

                                                                            If you're not familiar with it, I suggest checking out Garrett Oliver's book, The Brewmaster's Table. He traveled to a lot of breweries and wrote about their processes.

                                                                            I'm not saying Lindeman's doesn't make a good product, just that I find their brand of tamed lambic kind of boring compared to the traditionally produced stuff coming from Cantillon, Hanssens, Boon, and Girardin.

                                                                            1. re: Josh
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                                                                              niquejim RE: Josh Jul 1, 2007 11:40 AM

                                                                              That was my point exactly. I still have a lindeman's occasionally when my wife buys some, but it is sweet. One is all I can drink of them in one evening.
                                                                              I've had the peach, cherry and raspberry.

                                                                              1. re: Josh
                                                                                MVNYC RE: Josh Jul 2, 2007 07:24 PM

                                                                                I have to agree with Josh here, the tartness is lacking completely in Lindemann'd and the sweetness is cloying. A good fruit lambic should be tart first, fruity second. The only Lindemanns I like is the cassis which is a tart fruit to begin with. Lindemann's has a sort of artificial fruit essence unlike Cantillion which always knocks me out.

                                                                                that said the Cranberry lambic just isnt a lambic.

                                                                                1. re: MVNYC
                                                                                  Josh RE: MVNYC Jul 2, 2007 10:14 PM

                                                                                  I read that Lindemans uses fruit juice and not whole fruit. That would explain why it's so consistent.

                                                                                  1. re: Josh
                                                                                    Harp00n RE: Josh Jul 2, 2007 11:53 PM

                                                                                    As I recall it was Michael Jackson who's observation about Lindemans was, and I'm paraphrasing here;
                                                                                    "Lambic should taste like a great brew with wonderful fruit overtones, not a fruit juice with alcohol overtones."

                                                                                    1. re: Harp00n
                                                                                      MVNYC RE: Harp00n Jul 3, 2007 08:11 AM

                                                                                      The fruit juice thing makes sense why it tastes so sweet and strong too.
                                                                                      Do you know at what point in the brewing cycle they add the juice? It would seem to me that if fruit were added to the mash it would be at a different point then when you add the juice making a completely different product.

                                                                                      1. re: MVNYC
                                                                                        Josh RE: MVNYC Jul 3, 2007 09:43 AM

                                                                                        Lambics are made through blending of old and young beer, which provides a second fermentation. My understanding is that fruit is then added to this result, giving a third fermentation. Beers like Hanssens wind up having all the fruit ferment out. The Lindemans site, or rather their exporters site, said that the fruit is added prior to bottling. If true, this would explain the extreme sweetness.

                                                                                        1. re: Josh
                                                                                          davis_sq_pro RE: Josh Jul 3, 2007 05:36 PM

                                                                                          Just to clarify: not all lambics are blended, and the blending does not generally produce a secondary fermentation. Gueuze is an example of a lambic where very young--not fully fermented--beer is traditionally mixed with fully fermented beer in order to bottle condition. But there are also blending houses that blend using totally fermented beers, and in those cases there is no reason that it would restart anything. This blending is done for consistency more than anything else. This is similar to blending done for non-vintage wines, etc.

                                                                                          I've heard that Lindemans sweetens their beers for export to the US. Apparently they do let the fruit ferment out totally, and the product you can get in Belgium is much different. Alas, I've not yet had the opportunity to verify this firsthand!

                                                                2. Richard 16 RE: MarkG Jul 2, 2007 10:37 PM

                                                                  I'm pretty much like several people here (although not nearly as knowlegeable) in that I really like SA beer (the lager is what is usually available) but not as interesting as some others.

                                                                  I'm posting just to tell an amusing story (amusing to me, anyway):
                                                                  When we moved here to St. Louis about 11 years ago we went to a local restaurant. I asked the server if they carried any local brews -- she hesitated, thought a bit and replied ... that they did have Budweiser! Well, she was right!

                                                                  1. d
                                                                    Diana RE: MarkG Jul 6, 2007 08:39 AM

                                                                    I like a lot of Sam Adams' stuff. I have to say the Utopias we have is excellent. We have to ration it, though.

                                                                    I like the summer beer, the porters and such, because those are the beers I tend to go for across the board-I am definitely NOT a hop ead, and actually this American fad of creating super hoppy beers is becomeing somewhat tiresom. If I want a moutnful of pine resin, I'll just go drink the wood finish in the garage with a shot of pine-sol.
                                                                    Then again, I am a fan of lambic of all sorts-duchess and so on. And yes, Lindemann's has a place in my heart. the pomme is good as is the framboise (to ME, anyhow)

                                                                    try this-get a nice chocolaty stout or porter, say Bison, and add in a shot of lindeman's framboise. If you can find a habanero or jalepeno beer, add a dollop of that.

                                                                    Yum! I call it-"the Dirty, Sweaty Hippy"

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Diana
                                                                      Josh RE: Diana Jul 6, 2007 03:27 PM

                                                                      Duchesse isn't a lambic, FYI.

                                                                      1. re: Josh
                                                                        d
                                                                        Diana RE: Josh Jul 6, 2007 04:56 PM

                                                                        Ok, it's a Flemish Red...I should have said "Sour beers" and "Fruity beers" and included reds, lambics, gueuze and so on

                                                                        1. re: Diana
                                                                          e
                                                                          ElizabethHenton RE: Diana Aug 12, 2007 05:21 PM

                                                                          The Boston Ale is the best IMHO. I don't think Sam is what it use to be. I think some of the 'zip' is gone in the bottled beer. As far as best beer? I think there are a few GREAT micros that surpass all others. So much so, I love to pair my food with the options.

                                                                          Some of my favorites.

                                                                          Avery IPA
                                                                          - Lagunitas Maximus 22oz. Some of the finest supa' hops out there
                                                                          - Rogue Lavender (great with a striper dish)
                                                                          - Peak Organic
                                                                          - Whales Tail or Sankaty Light Lager from Cisco (nantucket brewery) depending on mood
                                                                          - Dogfish Aprihop or 60 Minute
                                                                          - Fat Tire

                                                                          The very best CLEAN pilsner ? REBEL from czech republic

                                                                          I LOVE BEER and I love food. Thank you for a great thread

                                                                          1. re: ElizabethHenton
                                                                            Josh RE: ElizabethHenton Aug 12, 2007 08:56 PM

                                                                            Rogue Lavender???

                                                                            Man, I am jealous. The Rogue varieties we get where I live are very limited. I've yet to see Chamomellow, either.

                                                                    2. k
                                                                      Kenji RE: MarkG Aug 12, 2007 05:28 PM

                                                                      I liked the Samuel Adams (actually Boston Beer Company) Double Bock in its first incarnations, many years ago. More recent editions of it have struck me as one-dimensional. It tastes of caramel, and not much else. Double Bocks should have more going on in the flavor department. Optimator and Bajuvator are better examples of the style.

                                                                      I also loved the Samuel Adams Dark Wheat, which came out around '91, but was short-lived.

                                                                      As for the Samuel Adams Boston Lager, I will take it over Bud, Coors, or Miller, but I don't find it exciting at all. But it doesn't have the negatives of these other widely available beers.

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