It’s not often here at The Brewclub that I get the chance to review a Sam Adams brew.
Indeed it’s rare that we get their seasonal brews over here in Blighty, but when I spotted an imported case of their ‘Noble Pils’ I simply couldn’t resist.
The ‘standard’ Sam Adams Boston Lager is now being brewed under licence by Shepherd Neame in Kent, and while ‘Sheps’ have had their brew signed off by representatives from Sam Adams in Boston, I just don’t do beers brewed under licence.
‘Noble Pils’ for the unitiated refers firstly to a beer brewed in the Pilsner Style – a dry, crisp pale lager, and in this case brewed using the four classic (or Noble) European lager hops – Hallertau, Saaz, Spalt, and Tettnanger. The bottle’s neck label refers to five, so I’m guessing that they’ve also included Hersbrucker, which is often used instead of Hallertau. (Hallertau hops are prone to a ‘wilting’ virus, while Hersbrucker are not – but you probably knew that already ).
It pours a pale golden colour with a brilliant white head, in classic pilsner style; the nose is complex, with zesty Saaz hops to the fore, but underlying hints of something deeper, more earthy lurking behind.
The flavours are equally complex, bright, crisp and refreshing. Well balanced with grassy, citrussy high notes, a trace of pine and the richness of light ‘lager’ malts. There are hints of honey and orange in the background, I would like to claim that my palate can distinguish the individual hops, but I can’t; I can spot the Saaz hops in the nose, but the overall complexity of the flavours is almost overwhelming.
As a summer lager, this is great, I’ve poured some for friends and every time the response has been a double take and something along the lines of ‘whoah, this is something a bit special’. So, not one of Scott’s ‘lawnmower beers’, but one I’m happy to spring on friends, to see their reaction.
It also made number 20 in the 2011 ‘Best Beers in America’ list, who am I to argue?
So, what or your Lawnmower beers? Or your ‘spring a surprise on your mates’ beers? Let us know here at The Brewclub.