|Also From This Brewery
No, Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company that
makes the Samuel Adams line of beers, has not decided to run for president.
Though it is true that the fledgling democracy in the Russian Republic has
(or had) a beer drinker's party, I have yet to come across one here in the
United States. Instead, my title is a pun on the Boston Tea Party, since
Boston Beer makes Sam Adams, and Boston Harbor is where all of that tea
ended up prior to the American Revolution. Still, Jim Koch too was
responsible for a revolution in America, a beer revolution. And though he
didn't dump cases of imported beer into Boston Harbor, Koch did implore
Americans to "declare their independence from foreign beer" and try his
product, Samuel Adams Boston Lager instead.
Koch's strategy was simple and ingenious: he would build a market for his
beer by comparing it to imported beers, and he wasn't above traveling from
bar to bar pushing his brew personally to do this. Slowly but surely Samuel
Adams Boston Lager caught on, and from humble beginnings in 1984 the Samuel
Adams line has come to encompass numerous styles and is now the best-selling
craft beer brand in America, available in all fifty states. For almost two
decades now the name Samuel Adams has meant great brew to a growing number
of beer enthusiasts.
Koch achieved this success by initially contracting out production of his
beer to larger breweries with excess capacity and then intensely marketing
his brand (he even had it brewed and sold in Germany). Freed from the
expenses of building his own breweries, he could easily concentrate on
marketing Samuel Adams beers, a practice that made him more than a few
enemies in the brewing industry. Ironically, some of those enemies were
among the ranks of microbrewers, perhaps jealous of his achievements. In
fact, Boston Beer introduced many non-craft beer drinkers to the notion that
beer could be something more than a fizzy yellow beverage best enjoyed while
watching sporting events. Some of those adventuresome souls eventually went
on to try beers brewed by some of the microbrewers who would in turn decry
Samuel Adams Boston Lager has become ubiquitous: you can find it just about
everywhere, and thatís a great thing. I canít tell you the number of times I
have walked into a restaurant or bar with the feeling there would be little
of interest to me on tap, only to be relieved by the familiar sight of a
Boston lager tap handle. Iím always happy to drink this beer, too.
Itís rich, refreshing malty flavor and spicy hop character make it a welcome
accompaniment to most dishes but itís also a great beer to enjoy when Iím
simply sipping a few pints and whiling a way an evening. You will almost
always find a few bottles in my beer refrigerator.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager has really become an American classic, and I think
of it on a par with such craft beer icons as Anchor or Sierra Nevada. It
tastes as good now as I remember it the very first time I tried it way back
in 1984. Though it is brewed in several locations across the country, I find
little difference in the locally brewed stuff here in Atlanta from the
Samuel Adams I drank in New England.
Like most of the beers in the Samuel Adams line Boston Lager is based on
two-row Harrington malt. Caramel is used for depth and body, then the malt
is balanced off by generous additions of Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang
hops. This is a truly German-inspired brew using a decoction mash and
krausening (a process by which fresh wort is added during lagering and
allowed to ferment, forming natural carbonation). Boston Lager is cold
lagered for up to 40 days and is dry hopped (aged on hops), which accounts
for its aromatic properties.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager pours to a deep amber color with a thick and long
lasting head formation and a tea-like spicy hop nose. The body is firm with
chewy caramel malt, smooth and slightly sweet at first. There is a floral
aromatic hoppiness to the beer that plays well against the malt background
and truly permeates it. The hops then slowly become even more evident in the
finish where they balance the malt sweetness and add a gentle but lingering
grassy buzz of bitterness. Boston Lager is both flavorful and extremely
drinkable, loosely a pilsner and delicious in bottles or from the tap.
I like this beer before dinner as an aperitif because of its high
drinkability. Try it with roast pork or chicken. I have enjoyed it with
jalapeno-laden Monterey Jack cheese melted over stone-ground tortilla chips
and served with chili and spicy black bean salsa, itís great with spicy fare
like this or just simple Buffalo wings.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.