Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dogfish Head/Samuel Adams Savor Flowers

This is a pretty special review for a lot of reasons: 1) this is a collaboration between two titans of the craft beer world - Jim Koch of Samuel Adams and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head. This is an extremely rare beer that was only sold (as far as I know) at the SAVOR Food Fest held in Washington, D.C. back in June. 2) I had to drive from Albany to Brooklyn just to be able to try it - this beer belonged to my friend Brett Vanderbook of who also does occasional editing work for fellow BeerTubers If you check out my other channel I'll be posting a vlog of my roadtrip to NYC that day and the beer hunting I did while in the area.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (642) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 26, 2011
When two titans of an industry team up the result is, ideally, something amazing. But what happens when the result is something that’s only okay? That’s how I feel about Savor Flowers - an experimental beer devised by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Jim Koch of Samuel Adams. The hook to this beer is that it’s brewed with rosewater instead of regular water. The end result is a beer that is a sweet syrup bomb of honey and ginger with some floral characteristics. Originally and tasty to be sure, but nothing Earth-shattering.

I split a 750ml corked bottle with a friend (thanks, Brett!)

Appearance: Dark honey/orange color - mostly transparent with slight haziness. Forms a small, yellow, sudsy head which evaporates quickly and cleanly.

Smell: As soon as we popped the cork the ginger aroma began to fill the area. Like ginger snap Christmas cookies it’s very sweet, spicy and bready. Honey is also quite prominent in the nose as well as an earthy, flowery backbone like a mélange of every plant in a greenhouse.

Taste: I’ve often said I have a sweet tooth, so I often find myself enjoying beers with infused flavored palates of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, or fruit. But Savor Flowers is a different type of sweetness - massive ginger syrup and honey tea followed by vanilla flowers and spiced rum. Even at fridge temp it’s robust as hell - like stuffing your entire mouth with as many lollipops and suckers as you could fit.

Not that this is repulsive in and of itself - just something that takes getting used to. After having reviewed over 500 beers in the last three years I’ve honestly never encoutered a palate like this before. I do enjoy its uniqueness and appreciate the balancing it accomplishes of all-natural sweetness and spice. As it warms it leans more towards the sweet side, becoming richer and cloying and difficult to drink. By the time I finished my glass I really had to think about just how much I liked it.

Mouthfeel: Very fizzy at first, like freshly-poured soda. Eventually becomes quite tepid but still imparts a warmth despite being quite thin.

Drinkability: What keeps this beer from contending for any type of Hall of Fame status is the fact it’s a challenge to get through. The sweetness is so intense, coupled with rum-like spice that it’s a sipper, even at cooler temperatures. The 10% ABV is buried under the genuine palate, although there is some warmth and dryness on the finish and aftertaste. A beer where one modest serving is more than enough.

Overall, Savor Flowers is an interesting beer and definitely worth the experience for those looking for something new. Just don’t assume it’s going to blow your mind because of who made it.

Grade: 7/10

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