3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
The connoisseurs often scoff at American brewers who attempt to co-opt European niche beer styles and try to make them more drinker-friendly. However, just because a beer is intended for a wider market doesn’t necessarily make it bad. Samuel Adams White Ale is a good example of this as it has the spiciness of a European beer, but the body and finish of an American brew.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer is based on the Belgian White style, which are known for having a chalky white complexion. However, Samuel Adams’s take more closely resembles an India Pale Ale with a hazy orange body. There is some carbonation present and just the slightest bit of sediment. It pours to a large, white, fluffy head which lasts until the last drop and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is bursting with sweet spices – hinting of clove and citrus notes.
Just before drinking my White Ale, I decided to visit Samuel Adams’ website for a detailed description of the beer. In retrospect, I wonder if there were any spices they DIDN’T use in this beer!? Not that this is as intense as any kind of winter warmer, but for a light spring beer it’s a very complex palate.
Orange peel, lemon zest, coriander, and grains of paradise are all prominent ingredients in this beer and are definitely noticeable form the first sip to the last swig. Clove and banana might also contribute to the sweet, spicy taste. But, paradoxically, the composition seems a little thin and watery. So as varied as the palate is, the flavor itself seems a little subdued. It’s sweet with noticeable hop presence, but in the end it still tastes like beer (at least it’s not gimmicky).
The spicy nature of this beer gives it a bit of an intense mouthfeel. Although it’s lightly carbonated, White Ale definitely makes its presence known. However, since the overall taste is rather mild and the beer has a thin viscosity, it finishes smooth.
Belgian Whites have always been one of my favorite styles of beers because of their genuine flavor and light body. While Sam Adams White Ale isn’t quite as slender as a summer beer, at least not statistically speaking (5.4% ABV, 175 calories), it certainly feels like it.
A beer like Samuel Adams White Ale is a great introductory beer for those looking for more genuine flavor but with the drinkability of a mainstream beer.