Style: Vienna/Amber Lager
Cal. Per Serving: 175
Hops: Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger Noble hops
Malts: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend and Caramel 60
Yeast: Samuel Adams lager
From: Boston, MA
Brewer’s Note: “Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-bodied brews that are robust and rich with character. Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced, complex and full-bodied original brew.”
This is one of the beer’s that started the American Craft Beer Movement (in my mind at least). Between Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Anchor Steam Beer you can be find the formation of craft beer, and I am eternally grateful for it. Putting that aside, it is still a damn good beer and is constantly overlooked. With its release in cans I felt that I should finally review this beer, if for nothing else than to use it as a measuring stick. The can, for those unaware, was an a million dollar venture by Jim Koch and the Boston Beer Company to redesign the beer can, which they then opened up for use to every brewery, further showing the good nature of the Boston Beer Company. Today.com sums up these changes nicely when they say: “The ‘hourglass ridge’ where the bottom lip meets the edge is deeper and more rounded than on a standard can. It’s designed to create turbulence as the beer flows over it and deliver the beer to the front of the palate, maximizing the sweetness of the malts./ The can’s opening is placed further inboard on its wide top to allow for better airflow while drinking, which means the beer’s aroma, a major component of flavor, has a little more room to breathe.” To the mundane eye, the beer looks like it has a skinnier and taller lip, and perhaps a sipping hole that is a little larger than the normal can. The label is funky and textured with an old colonial-esque town scene, though it is a little miss-leading with its barrels since Boston Lager (to my knowledge) has nothing to do with barrels, and is instead fermented in nice metal fermenters. That being said, the color scheme is eye catching, the fonts are funky but not too hard to read, and overall this can is a great redesign of the Samuel Adams labels, which were becoming a little dated and boring in my mind. Clutter is kept perfectly in-line of this can. It is worthy of the shelf, in fact.
For this review I will pour a little into a taster, and sip the rest from the can. I will provide a side by side comparison of the two drinking experiences except when it comes to appearance, as the can is not see through… From the can the beer pours a crystal clear, amber-orange color with a beautiful head of creamy, medium sized bubbles. The head leaves a lacing of sticky thin lacing that leaves spider webs on the glass. From the glass, the beer graces the nose with a clean, crisp, fresh cut grassy smell with a light biscuit smell wafting beneath the grass and giving a warmth to the nose. From the can, the smell is slightly intensified to provide slight citrusy notes with the grassy hops, alongside slight hints of wet dog and metallic can though those might just be me. The glass has the better smell. From the glass, the beer tastes cleanly bitter with a warming bready sweetness that balances out the beer. Acids are very light in the mouth, only providing a slight wetting to the tongue. From the can the beer tastes slightly sweeter, mellowing the bitters into a more manageable taste. In flavor from the glass the beer begins as medicinal bitters, but quickly blooms into wet, bitter grass with a warm backed biscuit dough and a touch of caramel. The beer finishes grassy bitter with a touch of lemon citrus. The aftertaste is very light with bitter grass. From the can, the taste carries some slight citric lemon from the start, mellowing out the grassy bitters and bringing the caramel malt more onto the palate. Doing this review, I am a little surprised that I am liking the can more than the glass. On the mouth, in the glass, the beer feels on the heavy side of light with a heavier carbonation of fluffy bubbles that blanket the tongue nicely and provide a slight scrub. From the can, the carbonation scrubs the tongue slightly more, perhaps due to the smaller hole. After the beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly damp with saliva. Overall, this beer is quite similar from the can and the glass, which is surprising since I have had several of the cans now, and actually thought it tasted a little different… That being said, this is a terrific simple lager with light complexities that make it interesting, while at the same time inviting you to drink more and more. Boston Lager is nearly sessionable, and is a great lawnmower beer in my mind. A true classic.