are certain beers that are milestones in the history and development of
the American craft beer movement and Samuel Adams Boston Lager might be
one of the most significant of them. We literally have an embarrassment
of riches when it comes to the craft beer selection, so old standbys
like this tend to be overlooked and underappreciated. But when given the
same treatment as the must-have beer of the moment, this does hold
under scrutiny and over time.
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Samuel Adams Boston Lager
glass. It came as part of a 12-pack for $15.99 ($1.33 a bottle or $0.11
per ounce). The freshness date was notched at 12/15.
Appearance: Beautiful dark amber/copper hue. Completely clear with
consistent carbonation visible. Pours to a fairly large, white, frothy
head which retains and laces extremely well.
Smell: Mostly a standard lager scent, though cleaner than most with a slight malt presence. Faintest floral aroma from the hops.
Taste: This beer tastes how a standard, traditional, no-frills,
well-made lager should. I get distinct malt and hop notes at right
times. First, a slightly toasty malt character with a touch of
nuttiness. At the crest the hops appear and create for a light spicy
sensation; akin to rye bread (which really complements the bready malt
character well). There’s a dry bitterness on the finish with a mild
floral sensation in the aftertaste. These flavors repeat and become a
little stronger as the beer warms. This isn’t a massively complex brew
by any means – but it’s not supposed to be. For a lager it’s plenty
flavorful and enjoyable and that’s why it’s endured for literally
Drinkability: There was a time when this beer’s 4.9% ABV was considered
rather heavy. Certainly, it’s got the body of a beefy brew when compared
to other lagers of the potency. The mouthfeel is fairly soft in
texture, but still light enough and carbonated enough to create for a
crispness as it goes down. I would not consider Samuel Adams Boston
Lager refreshing, though it’s arguably sessionable and yet strong enough
to stand up to any American fare.