I found this bottle of Samuel Adams White Ale as part of the Sam Adams ‘Winter Variety Pack’. I was recently impressed with their Fall variety pack, which included some winners like the Sam Adams Octoberfest and Harvest Pumpkin Ale, so I thought I’d see what the Winter pack had to offer.
Along with this White Ale, one will find the very good Chocolate Bock for the first time, along with Holiday Porter, Old Fezziwig Ale, Winter Lager, and a couple of bottles of the regular Sam Adams Lager for good measure. What you won’t find is the love-it or hate-it Cranberry Lambic. (Put me in the hate-it camp, thank you.) Happy to see it not part of this otherwise solid seasonal variety pack!
The White Ale is supposed to be a Belgian White or Weisbier. Usually, I think of this style of beer for the warmer months of the year, and truth be told, this used to be the Spring seasonal ale from Sam Adams, but it was replaced this year by the Noble Pils. I suppose it could work during the Winter too. Heck, one of my favorite beers of last year was a Belgian White from Long Trail, so I guess the season isn’t important really.
What is important is this beer! How is it?
The White Ale is an unfiltered brew, so it looks a little hazy in the glass which is to be expected. Its a nice enough color, but again it just seems too light for the cooler months of the year. I know, its a silly preference but what can I say?
I’ll tell you that I was a little disappointed in the head that formed when I poured this beer. I know the style isn’t supposed to create a big, billowy head necessarily – but a little effort would be appreciated! Sam Adams White Ale falls a bit flat in this regard. (Pun intended) Giving this brew a workover from my nose, I’m picking up some spices, but nothing like what I would expect from a nice weisbier. Again, some spices, some light malt aroma, but that’s about it here.
Taste is the main thing to me, and again the Sam Adams White Ale comes up a little short. There are some spices in the flavor, but the distinctive flavors of coriander typical of the Belgian White is minimal at best. Same goes for the orange. I’m really working the palate to pick up on it! Here’s a direct quote from their website. “Samuel Adams® White Ale is brewed with 10 exotic spices: orange and lemon peel, dried plum, Grains of Paradise, coriander, anise, hibiscus, rose hips, tamarind, and vanilla.” Sounds really good right? Well, to me those ingredients are so well blended that nothing really jumps out at me and gets my attention. If you recall, those ‘Grains of Paradise’ are also used in their Summer Ale, which I thought was an excellent beer. Seems paradise is somewhat lost in this rendition.
So, what’s good about the beer? Well, let’s see if I can turn a negative into a positive. As I mentioned, this brew creates the lamest of heads. Its not that carbonated, not that bubbly. Its not strong on hops either – or bitterness for that matter. This is a non-challenging beer! So, I did find the White Ale to be a very easy drinker. No bite, no burn, no bubbles. Just almost flat beer goodness. Almost.
Other than that, I was disappointed in the Sam Adams White Ale. It didn’t even come close to some of the other Belgian Whites I’ve tried – actually, it might be one of the rare disappointments for me from Sam Adams. Sorry, I’ll pass these off on some ‘friends’ so I can enjoy the other great beers in the variety pack!