Thursday, January 28, 2010

Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat


2.7
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - FEB 10, 2010
Depending on who you ask, the Samuel Adams lineup from the Boston Beer Company is either high-quality macro brew or low-quality craft beer. Sure, they do have a few solid performers and hidden gems craft beer geeks dig. However, in recent years they’ve been releasing overtly pedestrian stuff like the Blackberry Wit, Cherry Wheat, and now a pseudo-hefeweizen called Coastal Wheat.

Usually when you drink a Samuel Adams beer you can tell it’s intended to be as authentic as possible, but with Coastal Wheat I got the feeling they weren’t even trying. It’s a plain, unoriginal, mildly-flavored beer meant to appeal to yuppies and other pedestrian beer drinkers who want to drink something they perceive as being niche when in reality it’s as mainstream as they come.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I used an authentic German wheat beer glass to see if it would make any difference in making this wannabe pass as the genuine article. Boy was I disappointed when I saw the complexion - ugly, hazy, maize-like yellow in color with a very small head (which, despite a vigorous pour, left the glass clean as a whistle).

The aroma is similar to a household lemon-scented dish soap. Wheat beers are known for their citrusy qualities, which come from the use of certain yeast strains, spices and wheat, but the lemon scent here seems like a chemical additive.

TASTE

Coastal Wheat is one of those beers that, upon the first few sips, seems rather tasty and refreshing, but whose charm quickly wears off. The lemon flavor is strong and rather sour up front with a grainy, almost dirty taste on the finish. There seems to be a mélange of spices added to balance out the sour flavor, but the description makes no mention of them.

For a wheat beer there isn’t much in the way of wheat flavor, but rather something akin to a cheap adjunct macro lager’s grainy flavor and texture. There is just a slight bitterness as the beer finishes but nothing that would indicate high quality hops.

Truth be told, there is actually flavor to be found here, unlike many other mediocre beers which are bland beyond belief. However, the lemon and spice are entirely too strong and the malt and hops are almost nowhere to be found (which is ironic since the bottle claims the beer has only a "subtle lemon flavor").

DRINKABILITY

While the taste of Sam Adams Coastal Wheat isn’t very appealing, the only thing that really makes this beer drinkable at all is its mouthfeel and body. Initially, it’s quite crisp and highly carbonated, but it dies down to a completely tepid body rather fast. The mouthfeel at least stays the same from beginning to end as it’s thin, light and so watery as to be a noticeable part of the palate.

At 5.3% ABV this is a very drinker-friendly beer which would lend itself well to drinking in high quantities, but since the taste isn’t very appealing - why would you want to?

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m not sure what the deal is with Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat. First of all, this is clearly a summer-oriented beer so why was it launched in the late fall/early winter? Secondly, why make a lemon-based beer instead of a wheat beer that happens to have a lemon flavor? Lastly, why does it taste so cheap and grainy? I’d expect something like this from Michelob, but not you, Jim Koch - for shame.

Grade: 4/10