The focus of this blog is going to be new and exciting beers, but occasionally I’ll take a detour and review an old reliable standby, a beer that has been out for years, but you still want to go back to every once in a while and enjoy. Sam Adams has many of these beers, a solid selection of year round and seasonal brews that have been great for so long you start to take them for granted. The characterization of Sam Adams as a craft brewery has come under fire in some circles, as they are now the second biggest American owned brewery and have a billionaire owner. Yet it’s hard to deny the impact they have had on the craft brewing industry, especially in New England.
Sam Adams was one of the breweries that really introduced me to craft beer, especially with their seasonal beers. Living in New England it amazed me how well the different brews fit their particular season. My favorite has always been Octoberfest, Sam Adams’ take on marzen, a German lager brewed to celebrate the harvest. Marzen’s are malt forward lagers, ideally having a crisp, clean malty flavor with little hop aroma or bitterness.
Sam Adams Octoberfest pours a reddish amber with a solid off-white head. There is no strong hop smell, but the slight sweet malty aromas are evident. First taste is all malt, caramel, toffee, a little bread and butter, with a clean but full mouth-feel that holds up well with the cooler days of fall. German noble hops provide just enough balance, so it tastes like a beer and not a soda. This old reliable still has it, it wouldn’t be fall in New England without an occasional Sam Adams Octoberfest. Hoppy Boston Score: 4.25/5.