So there it was, barely a month into winter for crying out loud, and the “Samuel Adams Spring Thaw” variety 12-pack was already on store shelves. Wishful thinking, perhaps? It didn’t seem to work, anyway, since as I type its early February, New England just got clobbered by a blizzard and looks like another one is on the way.
You could do worse than to get snowed in with this variety pack. The 2013 Spring Thaw sampler contains three (count ‘em!) new beers, Double Agent India Pale Lager, White Lantern Ale, and my favorite, Samuel Adams Maple Pecan Porter.
Here’s what Boston Beer says about the Maple Pecan Porter, from the neck label:
Sweet New England Maple Syrup and a distinct pecan note define this balanced porter. The roasted character of our blend of malts complements the maple sweetness with hints of coffee and chocolate. Reddish-black in color, this brew has a sweet and slightly nutty finish.
Samuel Adams Maple Porter is made with Caramel 60, Munich, two-row pale, and Carafa malts. It is hopped with East Kent Goldings. Vermont maple syrup and, one assumes, pecan grist are added ingredients. The beer has an alcohol content of 5,6% by volume and I paid a very reasonable $13.99 for the sampler. The brewery says the beer debuted in 2011, though this is the first that I have seen of it.
Samuel Adams Maple Pecan Porter pours to a dark mahogany color with a thick creamy tan head formation and a downright decadent toasted pecan nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace clings to the sides of the glass and follows the liquid all the way to the bottom. At first I get a little bit of roasted malt, a hint of chocolate, and subtle coffee. Some definite sweetness from the maple syrup and dark molasses and brown sugar notes emerge. This is quickly followed by a very impressive pecan presence. The beer tastes a lot like a mouthful of fresh pecans, more so as the beer progresses, and the pecan and molasses notes recall images of a glass of pecan pie.
The beer becomes balanced to slightly sweet in the finish with more of the nuttiness poking through. This really is a delicious beer, and one that combines the best of North and South to good effect, much like my marriage (RI boy marries GA gal and all that). The pecan is well stated, robust even, much more so than in, say, Abita Pecan Harvest Ale. All the elements here work so well together, I could just drink this one endlessly.
For now only available in the sampler, and perhaps on draft, this is a beer that I would love to see in six-packs.
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.