Every year the folks at Sam Adams hold a competition for homebrewers: Contestants submit their recipes to the company along with samples, the lab rats have a taste test, and the three winners (one is always a Sam Adams employee) get produced, bottled, and sold on an experimental basis.
Here are the three 2010 winners for “Category 23″ LongShot brews, which invites the oddest and most unusual beers. They hit the market late last year.
Samuel Adams LongShot Honey B’s Lavender Ale (pictured) is the brainchild of Caitlin DeClerq, a Sam Adams staffer, and it’s exactly what you’d think a lady brewer would come up with (no offense intended, I like it a lot!). It’s a simple idea: A dry ale is brewed with lavender petals, then honey is added to add a bit of finish in the end. Honey B’s lives up to its promise: Distinctly floral up front, then slightly sweet and very refreshing on the finish. The perfect style of very light ale, and just 5.5% alcohol. A-
Samuel Adams LongShot Friar Hop Ale is a Belgian style ale from Richard Roper, brewed with various spices. Lots going on here, with coriander and citrus playing atop a malty, creamy, very slightly sour body. Enjoyable if you are into something bit, hoppy, and hearty. Or if you are a friar. 9% alcohol. B+
Samuel Adams LongShot Blackened Hops is Rodney Kibzey’s crazy brew, a stout-colored monster of an ale. Full of hops and wood notes, it is intense and complicated. There are nuts, citrus notes, evergreen, and a finish that brings on, finally, coffee tones. Surprisingly this offers a refreshing and pretty clean finish, though a touch of coffee lingers on the palate. Fun. 7% alcohol. B+
$10 per six-pack of 12 oz. bottles (2 of each beer) / samueladams.com