Mentioning Sam Adams beers in the presence of craft beer enthusiasts always elicits a strong response. On one hand, some think Sam Adams is too big to be called a craft brewery. On the other hand Sam Adams has been instrumental in bringing craft beer into the mainstream consciousness. I know I am one of many craft beer lovers whose journey from tasteless macro-lagers into craft was partially fueled by trying beers in the Sam Adams lineup. This was especially true with the Sam seasonals. As a lifelong resident of New England I was impressed by how well seasonal stalwarts like Octoberfest, Summer Ale and Winter Lager perfectly complemented the seasons. This discovery helped fuel my interest in learning more about beer styles and ingredients. While Sam Adams has stuck with a tried and true recipe for 3 of the seasons, their Spring seasonal has undergone a numerous changes. After a number of years releasing White Ale as their Spring seasonal, Sam Adams switched to Noble Pils (which became a year-round offering) then Alpine Spring. This year they are brewing a new version of White Ale, now named Cold Snap. Sam Adams Cold Snap is a Belgian Style Witbier, brewed with 2-row barley and wheat along with Hallertau hops. The beer also contains a number of spices. In addition to the orange and coriander that are typical in witbiers, Cold Snap contains plum, hibiscus and other fruits.
Sam Adams Cold Snap pours a cloudy light orange with a mild white head. The smell is pretty neutral, you get some mild notes of light malt and spice. The taste is light and drinkable. The malt is present, with touches of bread and wheat. The adjuncts provide a lot of the flavor, lemon comes in strong along with orange. There are also touches of plum and coriander, but they are very subtle. The Belgian yeast add some bubblegum and peppery flavors, but again very mild. There is a decent amount going on in this beer, but all of the flavors are very mild, it seems to focus more on drinkability than bold flavor. The finish is very clean, with almost no aftertaste. At 5.3% ABV it is on the lighter side, which is typical for a witbier. Cold Snap fits right in with many of the other Sam Adams seasonal releases, it acts as a nice introduction to a craft beer style. Hoppy Boston score 3.75/5.
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