I like history in general, because it seems important to know what went down before I started paying attention, but I'm not a nostalgist. As pertains to beer, I have no interest in reliving the days before reliable carbonation and decent bar dishwashers. I don't want to go to a Prohibition reenactment fantasy camp any more than I want to bleed to death on an old-fashioned pull-tab. But I do wish I was on the scene at the beginning of the modern American craft brewing movement, which is why I was excited to learn that Samuel Adams has teamed up with Jack McAuliffe to recreate New Albion Ale.
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You might have seen this new brand of hard cider on your local store shelves recently, and not realized that Angry Orchard Hard Cider comes from the folks behind the Boston Beer Co., which makes Samuel Adams beers. We recently chatted with Angry Orchard cider maker David Sipes.
Modern beer drinkers may associate Boston with the Boston Beer Company and Samuel Adams, but beer has been an important part of the city's identity since its earliest days—and it's been home to more than one eponymous beer company.
Since Sam Adams launched its Single Batch Series last year, it's been a bit of a mad scientist's lab for craft beer crossbreeds, producing one-off creations like blonde barleywine, Baltic IPA, and rauch bock. They grabbed our attention with their latest releases in the series by dusting off a couple of seriously old and almost-forgotten styles: Gose and Sahti. Sam Adams isn't the only brewery to produce modern versions of these obscure ales, but they're certainly the largest.
This year's winter variety pack from Sam Adams includes the standards—Holiday Porter, Old Fezziwig, Winter Lager, and Chocolate Bock, plus a new coffee stout made with Sumatran coffee beans. It's certainly not the richest, roastiest stout you'll find, but it's pleasantly mouthfilling and offers a a nice coffee-and-cocoa flavor.
I'd been curious about Samuel Adams' Utopias since its initial release in 2002, what with its display-worthy copper brew kettle-shaped bottle, staggering alcohol level, and singularly high price tag. But is this extreme beer really worth $150?
Game day may not be the day for intense brews. You want to toss back a few with nachos or hot wings; it's not the day for beer you have to think about. My pick for the Super Bowl: the latest Samuel Adams variety pack.