Sam Adams Summer Ale
90 Blade Chainsaw
Sam Adams Summer Ale is a Seasonal Samuel Adams brew available in late Spring leading to the Summer months, then quietly fading into the sunset of the season as their Octoberfest offering highlights the impending Autumn awakening.
First brewed in 1995, Samuel Adams Summer Ale is an American wheat ale brewed with Malted Wheat while its barley composition consists of two-row Harrington, Metcalfe and Copeland pale malts combining to deliver 5.3% Alcohol by Volumeand 4.1% Alcohol by Weight. The Hop profile includes the Noble Hallertau Mittelfrueh variety for a mild 7 IBUs. The brewers at Sam Adams are proud to highlight the special ingredients including Lemon peel and Grains of Paradise; a rare African pepper known also as the Melegueta Pepper used as a brewing spice since the thirteenth century. A proprietary Samuel Adams ale yeast and the 12.3 degree plato formula combines to produce a relatively light 166 Calories to enjoy on a warm Summer day.
I had a particularly interesting time with Sam Adams Summer Ale this year, and even though it’s been around for well over a decade, this Summer was the first time trying it. Appropriately enough, my wife and I took our two youngest kids to Camelbeach Water Park here in the Poconos on a very hot Summer day, with temperatures hovering just above 100 degrees. We started the day at the water park early and my wife played with our daughter at one spot for the tiny ones while I took our son on several rides. We enjoyed some of those rides multiple times as the wet atmosphere and joyous laughter cooled our scorching disposition.
As we contemplated concluding the day and getting ready to go, my wife suggested we celebrate with a drink from the bar as she prepared our belongings for departure. With my son on my shoulders, I walked a good distance to the bar where I ordered my wife a frozen margarita. As I looked through the beer offerings which were the usual Bud Lites and Heineken varieties, Sam Adams Summer Ale was the closest choice to a craft brew, so it was the one I selected. There was some overflow on the margarita and the bartender poured it onto an additional cup. At this point, I ventured back to our location with a child on my shoulders and three drinks on my hands, carefully walking past crowds, over bridges and wet water rides, finally arriving at our spot with not a single drop spilled. I set the drinks down and fetched my wife just a few yards away to let her know the drinks were here, but as we returned to our chair…… our drinks were STOLEN!!!!!!!!! I felt enraged, violated, raped. Yet I left composed and emotionally intact to preserve some dignity in front of our kids.
During the drive home, the image of Sam Adams Summer Ale poured perfectly into a summer cup decorated with an orange wedge, I felt a strong sense to fulfill an incomplete destiny. Several beer warehouses immediately began to route themselves in my mind’s GPS, and I shared with my wife my intent to hunt down a case of Sam Adams Summer Ale. She quickly agreed and shared my new-found mission. As I entered the first beer warehouse, several cases of Samuel Adams Summer Ale were piled high – rendering my mission a success.
Upon our arrival at home, we bathed the kids, reminisced about the highlights of the day, laughed at the theft of the drinks, and set the children to sleep as night fell. After several hours of cooling Sam Adams Summer Ale to a proper Summertime temperature, we began the festivities on the gazebo, finally enjoying the opportunity to embrace the celebration of the season.
Onto The Method
10/10 – The Classic
2.0 – Appearance – Pours a soft white 6 SRM with an opaque mellow haze, developing a very tall and foamy white head creating shiny lacing through the sides of the glass.
2.0 – Aroma – Soft and subtle tangy lemon scents fill the nose followed by an oily peppery tinge. The initial combination leads way to a creamy malted wheat and fruity air.
2.0 – Taste – A smooth mild bitterness expresses lemon notes, subtle creamy bites and grainy pepper tastes. The great flavors meld well over a luscious malted wheat ale backbone.
2.0 – Palate – A well cooled brew sets the platform for an incredibly fresh and crisp, light to medium body. Cool, polished and crisp, Sam Adams Summer Ale exemplifies the perfectly refreshing Summer ale.
2.0 – Overall – Sam Adams Summer Ale enhances and underlines the experience of a perfect Summer. After the initial case, we blended additional cases into our Summer consciousness and joyous human experience. It is an absolutely perfect Summer Beer!
5.5/10 Blades – The Hammer – the booze – A signature to the Boston Beer Company is the session strength abv – which I find too low for my tastes. I also like to see the strength on the bottles, and Sam Adams sometimes puts it on, and sometimes doesn’t. In this case, it didn’t, so I have to take away some points here for both the lack of strength and representation.
9.0/10 Blades – The Knife –digestibility – At a relatively light 166calories, it is completely crisp and refreshing, with the ability to throw back multiple brews without feeling full or bloated.
9.0/10 Blades – The Spider – the lift – With much surprise, the rising euphoric vibes crept up quickly after the first brew and established itself well into the second. Though the strength may be mild, its light body and ease of drink quickly expresses a pleasant and relaxed state.
10/10 Blades – The Motor –can you handle it? – Being a session strength, completing a sixer provides a relaxed euphoria without being overbearing. It is well digested, pleasantly refreshing, well rounded and appropriately strong. Sam Adams Summer Ale is technically designed to be enjoyed well into the late hours of a Summer event.
46.5/50 Blades – The Buzz – Sam Adams Summer Ale might just be one of the most perfect Summer beers available. As we shared our Summer and our continued life experience, it was my wife that celebrated the enjoyment of Samuel Adams Summer Ale. She lead the cheer throughout the season by specifically requesting it on my beer runs. A regular champagne drinker, she enjoyed the bubbly expressions, the distinct crisp aroma and the refreshing body. She was delighted this weekend when on searching for her usual champagne selection, I returned with one of the final Sam Adams Summer Ale cases as the warehouses quickly shift into the Octoberfest offering now in early to mid September.
For me, I revisited the beer with fresh eyes often this Summer. I am normally not a great fan of the Boston Beer Company, but I do think they make some good beers. Besides making a great Summer ale, I find that Samuel Adams recipes which include malted wheat somehow hit a magical note with my palate. In addition to Sam Adams Summer Ale, I am an especially big fan of their Spring Ale as well, which was one of the first brews to make it to my best beers list. And at 90, Sam Adams also lands a well deserved spot on the best beers list. On a side note, my wife wanted me to state that in her opinion, Sam Adams Summer Ale deserves a 92.
Under the Caps
It’s been difficult finding verifiable information regarding the International Award Winners beyond the first place winners, but under the cap, Sam Adams Summer Ale highlights some of its accomplishments including:
International GOLD Award Winner, #15, 1997, Chicago.
International GOLD Award Winner, #18, 1998, Melbourne.
International GOLD Award Winner, #68, 2004, Providence.
International GOLD Award Winner, #92, 2006, Manitou Springs.
International GOLD Award Winner, #96, 2006, Nurembeg.
International GOLD Award Winner, #102, 2007, Providence.
International GOLD Award Winner, #118, 2008, Melbourne.
International GOLD Award Winner, #124, 2009, Los Angeles.
Interpreting these trends, I find that Sam Adams Summer Ale hangs on strong, but struggles to compete as new craft brewers come onto the market. Nevertheless, Samuel Adams Summer Ale is a unique and luscious formula that has remained true over the years – not compromising its integrity as time goes by. To me, this means I can look forward to the same excellent recipe for future Summers to come.