The other day, I was sitting in my car listening to CNBC on the radio. As fate might have it, the topic du jour turned to beer. The noontime market analysis was in full swing, and the commentators were touting the amazing upswing (something like 170% price rise in a few months). The quality of the company’s products, the innovative distribution network, the growing market for craft brewed beer, and the business acumen of one Jim Koch were all given as reasons for the company’s success.
Still, every silver lining supposedly has a cloud, and so the discussion turned to sustainability. Could Boston Beer continue its remarkable growth? Would growth continue its trend? Or would the notoriously fickle craft beer drinkers move on in time to other brands? If you ask me, Samuel Adams is always a good decision, and even if it doesn’t always take the business world by storm, you can’t go wrong by ordering up a pint of it. The craft beer market has lots of room to grow, and Boston beer should be right there in the thick of things.
Beers like Samuel Adams Black and Brew are the proof to my pudding. Newly released for 2011 in this year’s Winter Classics Sampler, this delightful coffee stout may just prove to be its highlight. You get two bottles each of this beer, Boston Lager, Old Fezziwig, Winter Lager, Chocolate Bock, and Holiday Porter. Sadly missing is the Cranberry Lambic, but then its not al that easy to fit 14 beers in a 12-pack.
About this brew, Boston Beer says the following:
“For the authentic coffee flavor, we use 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee beans per barrel, added late in the brewing process to provide the most flavor possible….The coffee beans we use are Sumatran. The specific variety is Arabica and it is grown in the northern region of Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia.”
Alcohol by Vol/Wt: 5.8% ABV - 4.5%ABW
Calories/12 oz.: 208
Malt Varieties: Two-row Harrington, Metcalf, and Copeland pale malts, Special B, Roasted Barley
Hop Varieties: East Kent Goldings
Yeast Strain: Samuel Adams ale yeast
Boston Beer released a Molasses Coffee Stout back in 1997 under their Longshot line. Black and Brew seems much different than that one if memory (and tasting notes) serve.
Samuel Adams Black and Brew Coffee Stout pours to a dark brownish black color with a very, very thick creamy head of tan colored foam and a wonderfully roasty malt nose laced with strong notes of black coffee. The palate is roasty at first, then amazingly coffeeish, perhaps more so than any coffee beer I’ve tasted to date. I’ll qualify that to say in the flavor category, but notes of milk chocolate are also clearly discernible as well as a touch of prune. The neck labels suggest you’ll find hints of caramel present too. While I can’t say I did initially, upon careful reflection you can find them, if you look. The body is sinfully smooth, a trait that carries on into the finish. That finish is balanced, but not especially bitter; I had expected more roasty bitterness there, though the beer does not really suffer for the lack thereof.
If anything, it makes the beer immensely more drinkable, and the assorted flavors merge together all so wonderfully it’s hard to stop drinking this one. Indeed, it’s almost like a fine chocolate candy in a bottle.
This may not be the first coffee brew Boston Beer has offered, but it is, to me anyway, the best. Definitely a keeper, this deserves a six-pack of its very own.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.