The Boston Beer Company, the brewer of the Samuel Adams line of beers, always brags about the variety of beers they produce. They seem intent on pleasing everyone, and that’s pretty obvious with their Cherry Wheat beer.
The fact they would include the word “cherry” in the name of the product really takes a lot of gumption. For serious beer connoisseurs like me the name itself might be an instant turn-off, but I doubt we’re the intended market for this brew. Most likely it’s meant to appeal to women and whoever else goes for those “foo-foo” drinks like Smirnoff Ice.
And if this is the case, it’s surprising this beer tastes so much like a typical ale with some cherry flavoring and not a flat-out cherry-flavored beer. Beer snobs will find it tolerable and lightweights might like it, but I doubt anyone will truly love it.
Like most brews in the Sam Adams line, Cherry Wheat flows out of the bottle very smoothly and produces an average-sized head. However, once poured the beer is a tall glass of inactivity. The head dissolves quickly and there’s virtually no bubble action taking place. How boring.
COLOR & AROMA
You’d think a cherry-themed beer would be red in color, wouldn’t you? Such is not the case with this ale. It’s a copper color and is surprisingly cloudy. I’m not an expert in the brewing process so perhaps this is intentional, but I find it a bit off-putting. This beer has a distinct cherry aroma as soon as you open the bottle and pour it (not surprisingly). It’s scent is pleasant as it doesn’t make the beer smell as if it’s a wine cooler or some kind of alcoholic Kool-Aid.
Upon the first sip the cherry taste is evident. Beers with gimmicky tastes tend to be overwhelming in whatever niche they’re marketed for, but Sam Adams Cherry Wheat is fairly subtle in taste. After a few more swigs you don’t notice the cherry taste as much, mostly as an aftertaste. This brew drinks like any run-of-the-mill ale as it’s quite smooth, but has no real bite to it. Novice drinkers will like this, but snobs might see it as a total gimmick. Why drink a cherry beer when higher quality ale is available?
For a fruity drink this beer is suprisingly full-bodied. I expected it to be very light and watery, and yet it holds its own as a true ale. Certainly, it’s not the heaviest beer ever made and because it’s sweet and easy to drink you could down quite a few before feeling filled up. Good luck trying to find more than two bottles at a time, though.
Although it’s quite obvious the cherry taste is the entire appeal to this brew, it’s easy to down a pint or a bottle or two very quickly. There’s no bitter aftertaste, although the cherry sensation does linger. It’s more sugary than bitter and makes you thirsty.
As part of a Sam Adams mix pack, Cherry Wheat is a tolerable inclusion and certainly not the worst beer in the lineup, but is far from the best. It’s a beer that’s caught between a rock and a hard place in that it’s rather weak as a beer but much too strong to be a “foo-foo” drink. Personally, I find it a nice change of pace but I’m in no rush for more.