Judging by that chill in the air, fall is definitely here, and that means a new batch of brews from Samuel Adams (and some old ones, too). Here’s how they stack up.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager – The original, and more bitter than you’d think considering how commonly available this has become. Light body, with a nicely bitter finish. Nothing fancy here at all, and with a sort of saccharine character to the sweetness, but easy to drink. B
Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale – Slightly sweet and very mild, also extremely easy to drink thanks to its pronounced caramel character. A thin body and weak finish make it less of a thrill than you’d hope for, but not bad. B
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat – They don’t lie. This ale (brewed with wheat malt) is spiked with Michigan cherries, giving it a strong cherry character somewhere between Bing and Maraschino. I rather like this more than I’d thought I would — but the prospect of drinking more than a bottle seems difficult. Honey in the brew adds sweetness. B+
Samuel Adams Brown Ale – Not my favorite in this bunch, a rather tired-tasting traditional brown that’s not very bitter, and barely hints at caramel and chocolate in the body. The body is big enough, but the finish fades far too quickly. C+
Samuel Adams OctoberFest – A big German-style pilsner, with just a little hoppiness and a spicy backbone. Like Boston Lager but, as Emeril might say, kicked up a notch. Arguably the best beer in the bunch. A-
Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen – A dark wheat beer, with big smoky character and a dark color. A touch of cinnamon on the finish intrigues, but otherwise it’s fairly straightforward, if definitely worth drinking. B+
The sextet above are available as part of a Harvest Collection Variety Pack, about $15 for 12 beers.