Review: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Winter Lager (2014), Cold Snap (2015), and White Christmas

Review: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Winter Lager (2014), Cold Snap (2015), and White Christmas

samadams-bostonlager--en--c2e3a813-e407-463c-bc95-efd9e8fda221The Boston Beer Company produces over 100 varieties of beer, but the biggest of them all is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Oddly, we’ve never reviewed it, but today we’re taking that opportunity, along with a look at three winter/spring seasonals now on the market. Thoughts follow.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager – The original (though surely it has changed considerably over the years as Sam Adams has grown). Technically a Vienna-style lager (along with many darker Mexican beers), this brew is malty and lightly hopped, making for a nicely balanced, yet slightly chewy brew. Bready with almost pretzel-like overtones, its long and savory yet quite simple finish makes it is surprisingly hard not to like. 4.9% abv. A-

Samuel Adams Winter Lager (2014) – This winter wheat bock is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel, making for an appropriately festive winter brew that is nonetheless a touch overspiced. The cinnamon notes are a bit drying, the orange peel a bit too bitter. Lots of bready cereal character rumbles along on the finish, washing away much of the spice. Enjoyable enough in small doses, but not a favorite. 5.6% abv. B-

Samuel Adams Cold Snap (2015) – A spiced white ale (witbier) studded with orange peel, plum, and coriander. Jarring and heavily perfumed at the start, that strange, plum-driven sweetness keeps growing, compounding itself with the herbal character to reveal a flower petal character with a citrusy finish. Not a huge fan of this one. 5.3% abv. C-

Samuel Adams White Christmas – Another witbier, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel. More straightforwardly Christmasy than Cold Snap, White Christmas is easier-drinking, more full-bodied, and simply more enjoyable from start to finish. The citrus peel is understated and makes for a pleasant natural companion to the wheaty body, the baking spices just a mild dusting of sweetness that leaves behind a pleasant, frosty finish. 5.8% abv. B+

each about $10 per six-pack

Samuel Adams Boston Lager




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. John S. Steidler on January 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Out of the 4 that are listed I like the Lager and the October Fest the best. I drink a lot of Miller 64, but when I want a change once in awhile I will pick up some Boston Lager and then October fest whenever I can get it!!

  2. Christopher Null on January 28, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    OK, but the Octoberfest isn’t in this review, John ;)

  3. Marc Wisdom on January 29, 2015 at 6:00 am

    I think you are spot on regarding Boston Lager. It is a go to beer for me when there are no other choices than mega-lagers. As a pioneer in the craft brewing industry, Jim Koch hit on a brew that is different enough to mega-brews to lure drinkers away and lead them — as a sort of gateway beer — towards the pleasures to be had in the much wider world of beer available from craft brewers.

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