I don’t usually do these head-to-head beer comparisons. In faact, the last one I did was about a year ago when I reviewed two strawberry wheat beers. (Yuck) But, when I happened to find that I had not one, but TWO different blackberry wheat beers in the fridge, I just knew I had to do another head-to-head beer review!
So, we have two blackberry wheat beers. One is from Samuel Adams, and the other is from Long Trail Brewery in Vermont. I should note that Long Trail spells it Blackbeary Wheat because it works with the bear motif they have going on the label. Anyway, let’s see who comes out on top!
Starting out as usual, let’s start by comparing how these two blackberry wheat beers look.
Right off the top, the Samuel Adams beer has a more robust head compared to the Long Trail version which has just the slightest fizzy head. The head on the Long Trail brew also disappears into nothing within a short time, while the Sam Adams seems to maintain a little frothiness on the beer surface. The Sam Adams also displays a bit of lacing whereas the Long Trail has none.
The Long Trail beer is perfectly clear and a very pale golden color – almost like one would expect from a lager while the Sam Adams wheat was noticeably darker and just a touch cloudy as well.
Winner (Looks) – Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier. In the looks department, I don’t think its even close.
Moving along to the aroma, I can say that I’m happy that neither of these beers smells like a fruit beer! Some of the blueberry beers can be over the top I think, and both of these use blackberry as an enhancement to the aroma, and not the dominant factor. So which does the blackberry thing better?
Its a tougher call to make I think but my take on it is the Long Trail is a bit more subtle – to me, I would swear it was a berry lager of some kind it has those same lager type aromas. The Sam Adams, while not over-the-top has a more pronounced blackberry aroma that I just thought was a little better. In addition, there seemed to be some more spices or complexity in the Sam Adams beer as compared to the Long Trail.
Winner (Aroma) – Sam Adams. It’s just a little nicer.
Now for the important bit. Which blackberry wheat beer tastes better? Starting with the Long Trail, again if I didn’t know better I would think this was a berry flavored lager of some kind. Its light and crisp, and it tastes rather plain until you get to the finish when some of the blackberry flavor reveals itself. If you let it warm up a bit the flavor comes through a little more.
Moving on to the Sam Adams version, I’m finding that the beer is much more tasty, especially compared to the Long Trail version. No doubt this is an ale of some kind, and there are some noticeable flavors of spices along with a more evenly distributed blackberry flavor.
Winner (Taste) – Sam Adams. To me, not even close.
So, I think we have a winner. Overall, the Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier is superior to the Long Trail Blackberry Wheat in every category. It looks better, smells better, and most importantly tastes better. Neither beer comes across as a berry-flavored beer, which is good, but if you are looking for a blackberry wheat beer, check out the Sam Adams version.
Winner (Overall) Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier. To me, it was just an overall better version.
Have you had either of these beers? If you happened to have tried both, do you agree with my assessment? Let me know!