Some people like to put lemons in their hefeweizen, aka wheat beer. But with the latest entry in the ever-increasing Samuel Adams line of beers, you no longer have to. That's because Boston Beer Company has done it for you with Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat, an American-style hefeweizen made with Eureka and Lisbon lemon zest. The lemons all come from select orchards in California, perhaps resulting in the "coastal" moniker.
Rumor has it that Coastal Wheat replaces Samuel Adams Hefeweizen, at least for now. The company has a habit of rotating old styles in and out (which it has done with hefeweizen already under different names). How well Coastal Wheat goes over with consumers may well determine it's lifespan, as well, but I suspect the tart, refreshing character provided by both the wheat and the lemon may make this one popular.
You can get your first taste of Coastal Wheat in the 2009 Samuel Adams Winter Classics sampler, which includes two bottles of this new brew. It's also sold in six-packs and on draft. But let's see how it tastes, shall we?
Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat pours to a hazy yellow white color with a fizzy, fleeting head formation and an inviting nose of tart wheat and spicy lemon. Taking a sip, I get some very tart wheat upfront followed by more tartness from the spicy lemon-more the flavor of slightly bitter lemon zest than actual lemon itself. The label says the beer has a "subtle" lemon flavor, but I think it's far more pronounced than that. The finish is dry, again from the wheat tartness and the sour lemon.
This isn't an overly complex beer. It's much like Samuel Adams Summer Ale, sans the spices and with an extra dash of lemon. It's refreshing enough, but probably more suited to a summer release than a winter one. I think it will be popular in warmer climes and warmer weather, however.
As far as the hefeweizen portion goes, there is yeast in the bottle, so it's fair to claim that this beer falls into the style. Still, this is more an American styled hefe ala Widmer. I didn't get any banana or clove typical of a true German-styled hefeweizen. That shouldn;t surprise, however, since the same would likely detract from the lemon accent Boston Beer is trying for here.
Overall, I think this is a decent enough beer, though not an Earth shattering one. I might enjoy a few bottles on the beach in summer, or after a day of grueling yard work. Definitely worth trying to see if you agree.
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.