Friday, September 14, 2012

Sam Adams Barrel Room Collection

Long ago in a faraway galaxy there existed a time where the notion of "craft beer" was something I had yet to explore and Samuel Adams was high end and exotic. As I drew away from the dark side and began to see the light their beers became a reliable staple. However as time progressed and my tastes matured Sam Adams became pedestrian and while I'd order it if there were few other choices it was certainly not something I sought out.

A period of time went by and they came out with their Longshot Homebrew Contest which reignited my interest in at least a small percentage of their offerings. Besides bringing some different styles of beer to the thirsty masses it was a good marketing ploy to reengage some drinkers, like myself, that might have drifted away. Now they've done it again.

Brought to my attention by Mag's coworker, Sam Adams has recently introduced their Barrel Room Collection. This set of four beers includes American Kriek, New World, Stony Brook Red and Thirteenth Hour. According to their website, "Although inspired by Belgian brewing traditions, each of these beers is a truly unique taste experience due to their ingredients, process, and of course the character of the yeast. From deep cherry, to floral, to rich and earthy, there are layers of complex flavors to discover and enjoy in each."

We found the latter two, Stony Brook Red and Thirteenth Hour, at The Beermongers and had to give them a try. First up was the Red which is a mildly sour beer using both Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. Now before you sour lovers out there get too excited this is by no means a Casacade-quality sour. It is most certainly a gateway sour, yet there's enough bite to make it enjoyable and at 9% ABV the $8.50 price tag is easier to swallow.

The Thirteenth Hour is an entirely different beer in which they've, "combined the roasted chocolate and coffee flavors of a stout with the spicy character of a Belgian ale aged in oak." This one drinks much more heavy, readily reflecting its 9% ABV. It is tasty, still falling on the drinkable side for one who isn't in to malty brews or anything screaming Belgian.

On the strength of the first two beers in this collection I'm inclined not only to try but perhaps even to seek out the other two, American Kriek and New World. I don't expect anything mind blowing but I am interested to see if the other half of the collection will live up to the positive experience I had with the first two.

Have you tried any of the beers in this collection yet? If so I'd be interested to hear your take on them and if not, think about looking for them the next time you're beer shopping.

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