Remember Samuel Adams Infinium? I sure do. That extra special specialty beer was released several years ago by Boston Beer and Weihenstephan of Germany. It was an attempt to produce a champagne-like beer with which to celebrate the holidays, and in that I think they succeeded. Intentionally or not (I think the former is true), Samuel Adams seems to have approximated champagne again with Samuel Adams Sparkling Ale.
Since there is no defined beer style called Sparkling Ale, I’ll let Boston Beer have the soapbox early and tell you about their sparkling ale. On the website, they say “Our Sparkling Ale is the brewers’ take on a rare historic Scottish style”.
And on the neck label:
When we experiment, we never look at a beer style the same way twice. Our take on this golden, bubbly brew combines noble hops and pale malt to create a slightly floral aroma and a dry finish. Perfect for the holiday season, no matter what you are celebrating.
Ingredients from the website:
HOP VARIETIES: Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, and Spalt Spalter Noble hops
MALT VARIETIES: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, acidulated malt
There is indeed a very rarely brewed substyle of beer called Scottish Sparkling Ale, and Randy Mosher published a recipe for it in an issue of All About Beer back in 2000. They have it posted here. Samuel Adams seems to be following that recipe quite closely with their use of acidulated malt and noble hops, although they are using German instead of English hops. Perhaps the most famous Sparkling Ale for beer lovers is Cooper’s Sparkling Ale, though that beer is much different from the Sam Adams Sparkling Ale.
Samuel Adams Sparkling Ale is sold only in the 2015 Winter Classics 12-Pack sampler. It has an alcohol content of 4.8% by volume with 20 IBUs. I paid $13.29 for the 12-pack, a good deal indeed.
Samuel Adams Sparkling Ale pours to a pale golden color with a thick creamy head and a pilsner like nose of crisp light malt and earthy hops. A champagne-like stream of bubbles is also evident. Taking a sip the beer has a crisp biscuit malty palate up front followed by a hint of pear fruit and a dry herbal bitterness in the finish. That finish is crisp and even a tad tart from the acidulated malt. The beer is almost champagne like and reminds me of Infinium. That beer was a wheat beer and there is no wheat here, but again the acidulated malt can approximate it.
Sparkling wine is the common term for Champagne-style wines not authorized to use the appellation controlle, and Sparkling Ale is really a stab at Sparkling wine, or seems to be so here. So, when you’re in the mood for a glass of bubbly, why not make it a beer instead of a wine? You can do just that with Samuel Adams Sparkling Ale.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.