Samuel Adams has another pale ale! Did you know they’ve made at least five? They have. I’ve come across five in my many years of beer drinking, the most widely known of them being Samuel Adams Pale Ale. That wasn’t the first I came across, though. That honor belongs to Samuel Adams Eleven Pound Ale, so called because it was brewed with eleven pounds of Liberty hops per batch. I enjoyed this in 1997 in the now-defunct Samuel Adams Brewhouse in Philadelphia.
A few months later I enjoyed Samuel Adams Boston Cream at the Mews Tavern in Wakefield, Rhode Island. This draft-only beer was served on a nitrogen pour, almost 20 years before the current canned nitrogen draft line of Samuel Adams brews. To find Samuel Adams Millennium Ale (not to be confused with Samuel Adams Millenium of 20% strength), I traveled to Portland Maine’s Great Lost Bear in 1998.
Now comes Samuel Adams Crystal Pale Ale, the newest Sam Adams pale ale and a limited release beer. Will they brew it again? Who knows, but I am glad I got to try it. From the label:
Crisp, bright, and bold, this pale ale invites you to come in from the cold. American Crystal hops bring citrus and floral notes that spice things up, while English hops reveal a more subtle, down-to-earth character.
Ingredients from the website:
HOP VARIETIES: Crystal, East Kent Goldings, and Fuggles
MALT VARIETIES: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Maris Otter, and Honey Malt
YEAST STRAIN: Samuel Adams ale yeast
Samuel Adams Crystal Pale Ale has an alcohol content of 5.3% by volume with 35 IBUs. This is about the same strength as the classic Samuel Adams Pale Ale though it does have 12 more IBUs. I paid $8.99 for a six-pack which is notched best before June of 2016; I drank the bottle from which my tasting notes are derived on May 15th.
Samuel Adams Crystal Pale Ale pours to a deep amber color with a light head formation on a vigorous pour and a chewy caramel malt nose with a touch of earthy hops. Taking a sip, the beer is a bit thin malty up front with a hint of caramel and then grassy herbal hops, a light hint of citrus and then a balancing bitterness appropriate to the style.
The Crystal hops here are the only variety difference between Crystal Pale Ale and classic Sam Pale Ale. Crystals are a hybrid whose origins include Cascades, Hallertaus, and Brewer’s Gold.
I found this to be an enjoyable enough beer, and it served very nicely to wash down a grilled burger, hot dog and chips for an easy Sunday evening meal. I would buy it again, I think, if it is re-released.
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.