This week Beersurfing returns to the Samuel Adams Winter Classics pack, which packed 6 different beers into a 12-pack case. We here at Beersurfing appreciate variety, and decided to stretch the goodness out over two weeks. At this time, we have only drank half of the winter classics pack, but after this week we will have sampled one of each! What we’ll do with the leftovers is anybody’s guess – I wonder if I can donate them. Is that even legal?
The Holiday Porter
Anyways, on to the beer! First up is the Holiday Porter – naturally, the first thing I noticed about this beer was the taste. The flavor of chocolate and coffee in this beer is extremely evident, though the slight nip reminds you that you’re drinking a Sam Adams, not a Starbucks latte! The aroma reminds me slightly of prune juice and chocolate with a stronger hint of coffee. Flavor-wise, it really isn’t that strong, especially compared to the Yeti from a couple of weeks ago. In my opinion, the alcohol content is way below normal; 5.8% alcohol by volume is pretty weak for a porter. Not being much of a coffee (or a porter) drinker, I initially found myself struggling to swallow a 12 oz bottle of this, and without an overwhelming amount of flavor or alcohol, what’s the point? Sam, this beer leaves me conflicted – if you’re going to make me swallow a whole bottle of porter, at least give it some kick to warm me up on a cold night, like any dark beer should! Fortunately, since I live in Phoenix, cold nights are hard to come by, so I’ll let you know when I get one. Some parting words and saving grace before moving along – the Holiday Porter starts tasting a lot better after about 6 ounces. Either I’m a lightweight, or the good stuff sinks to the bottom!
Is it just me, or is it glowing?
Next up is the Cranberry Lambic, which is a wheat beer brewed with cranberry juice and a hint of maple syrup. I found myself scratching my head in amazement that the Lambic passes as a beer at all, but I will admit that it sure is tasty and works well as an after dinner treat! This beer reminds me a LOT of Sam’s Cherry Wheat usually sold during the American summer; in fact, I suspect that this is the very same wheat beer only brewed with cranberries. Unlike the siblings found in the Winter Classics pack, this beer is incredibly easy to swallow, very easy on the palate, and foregoes leaving that sour taste in your mouth. It almost glides down your throat, and whatever alcohol is actually in the drink is completely masked by the aroma and the flavor. If I didn’t enjoy beer so much, I would almost call this a wine and never drink it again. Hell, the alcohol in this is hidden so well I would almost feed it to children after school if I didn’t know better, but the label clearly indicates that this is a strong drink, especially by fruit-juice standards! I was surprised to note that the Cranberry Lambic actually has slightly more alcohol in it than the Holiday Porter, which one would expect to be loaded with booze. Of the entire bundle, this one is among my favorites, and in terms of enjoyment I would rank it just below our next beer – the Winter Lager!
The Samuel Adams Winter Lager
I actually did some tasty research on the Winter Lager while writing my last review, but alas, I misplaced my notes from that night so I begrudingly started over. This is far from a bad thing, as I had another bottle of the Winter Lager just begging to be consumed. I am not one to deny a beer a shelter in my warm belly, so I poured myself another glass for, um, safekeeping. A darker lager, this beer offers peppermint and gingerbread tastes to it when it first enters your mouth, and it will actually numb your taste buds a little if you’re enjoying a gulp. In sips, this beer has a LOT of flavor to it; it’s very sweet and is very enjoyable on its way down. I found myself savoring this beer slowly by the sip, rather than quickly by the gulp. The alcohol content of this lager is unknown, though there doesn’t seem to be much alcohol in it; regardless of the amount, it is hidden very well by the full-bodied flavor offered by this beer. Of all six beers found in the Winter Classics pack, this one is by far my favorite.
And that does it for the Samuel Adams Winter Classics! Beersurfing will be updating a little more frequently over the next week – my birthday is on Sunday, and after shopping around for some utter randomness at one of the local beer stores, I found myself a tasty beer brewed only a couple times per year that can only be best enjoyed in good company. See you soon and thanks for reading!
(from left) - The Cranberry Lambic, Holiday Porter, and Winter Lager