You may not know
it, but for many years the Boston Beer Company, makers of the Samuel
Adams line of beers, has been kicked around by more than a few hardcore
beer geeks. I have never been able to figure out why this is so, because the
company puts out an amazing array of well-crafted styles and offers them for
sale nationwide. Sam Adams beers often serve as a gateway brew to budding
beer enthusiasts, and open a door to a wider and incredible array of micro
and craft brewed beers.
Then too , Boston Beer salutes the home brewers of America by holding an
annual contest in their honor. Home brewers are encouraged to submit samples
of their recipes for judging, and three winners each year are brewed
commercially and sold under the company's Longshot series. A six-pack
of Longshot beers will get you two bottles each of three different styles,
which is not a bad deal for around eight bucks.
This year, I was beginning to wonder if it was a long shot that the beers
would even hit the shelves. Boston Beer sent an e-mail to fans on its
distribution list announcing that the beers were delayed due to last year's
hop shortage (one of this year's selections, a double IPA, requires 7
different hop varieties, and lots of them, too). Still, although an April
release was mentioned, this guru of brew did not see them until late June,
and then in Virginia, not Atlanta.
As it turned out, the beers were well worth the wait. The first beer I
sampled, Longshot Cranberry Wit, is an interesting variation on the
Belgian Witbier style. Witbiers are wheat beers, and the "Wit" (white)
moniker refers to the cloudy yellowish white color imparted by the high
amount of wheat in the grist bill.
Never afraid to innovate, Samuel Adams already released a Blackberry Wit
earlier in 2009. But the Cranberry Wit, recipe of Boston Beer employee
Carissa Sweigart, works even better than that fruity refresher in this beer
enthusiast's opinion. Combining the classic witbier ingredients of barley
malt, wheat, coriander, and orange peel with grains of paradise, a touch of
cinnamon, and tart cranberry produces a wonderfully refreshing spicy treat
that's just the thing for the summer heat.
Longshot Cranberry Wit pours to a cloudy whitish yellow color with a
very thick and creamy head formation and spicy cinnamon and tart cranberry
nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace was deposited on the side of my glass
as well. The palate is crisp and refreshing at first, then exceedingly
bright with citric orange and a hint of tart cranberry. There's a lot going
on here all at once: refreshing, crackery wheat which is in itself tart and
invigorating; the cranberry only makes it more so. But you'll get a trace of
spicy coriander and festive cinnamon, the latter being especially noticeable
in the finish. Spicy, dry, and aromatic, the beer finishes a tad fruity and
with drying pungent spiciness.
A very innovative and interesting brew, and one that refreshes nicely on a
hot summer day. Try it with a dish of vanilla ice cream for a real cool-down
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.