Those of you following us on social media know that we received $7 from Samuel Adams as part of their Don’t Miss Your Shot campaign to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. We got our seven bucks at the end of April, did some quick math and realized that amounts to almost 50% discount off a Sam Adams Sips of Summer variety pack. (Yes, we can do math in our heads when it comes to beer!)
So we plunked down 15 simoleons at the local grocer and came back with a dozen brews and spiffy cardboard box for the cats to play in. After giving them a proper chilling (the beers not the cats), we cracked a few open to let you know what we think.
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Sam Adams Summer Ale is the leader of this pack and is commonly available on its own in six packs, twelve packs and cases. Summer Ale weighs in at 5.3% ABV (the strongest in this variety pack), 151 calories and a piddling 8 IBUs. This American wheat ale is brewed with Hallertau hops, which is one of the (usually) four noble hop varieties traditionally used to brew European beer. You can usually find Summer Ale on store shelves from April from August.
This beer a very light aroma, almost undetectable to my substandard sniffer. The beer is nicely carbonated and has a slightly sweet, bready/biscuity taste with just a little hoppy bitterness. The taste is bright and clean, especially compared to German wheat beers like witbiers and hefeweizens.
Lawn Chair Lager
Lawn Chair Lager is exactly what you would expect it to be: a light, crisp American style lager made for day drinking at the ballpark or the beach. Lawn Chair is made with Bavarian Huell hops, which are noted for their very mild honeydew-like flavor that is extremely subtle. The beer is bright gold and crystal clear, bubbly but easy drinking and has a light, bready aroma.
This lager comes in at 4.5% ABV and the 14 IBUs are not really noticeable with only a little bitterness coming through on the finish.
Porch Rocker Lemon Radler
I know what you’re thinking: Radler? What’s a radler? A radler is a shandy: beer mixed with fruit juice or a carbonated beverage. While “shandy” is English, “radler” is German for cyclist as the drink was reportedly created to satisfy the thirst of a peloton that descended on an unprepared beer hall. Blending the beer with a slow-selling lemon soda allowed the proprietor to stretch the beer supply, and the new drink was a hit among the bikers.
Porch Rocker Lemon Radler is a Helles beer (a traditional German pale lager) mixed “with a blend of real lemons” (a lemon puree, according to the can). The beer’s ABV is 4.5% with 8 IBUs, which puts in the same range as the popular Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. A radler in Europe is going to be substantially lower in alcohol content, usually around 2.5%. The difference is likely due to commercially produced American shandies being mostly beer with some flavoring rather than being diluted with lemonade or soda (mostly water).
Porch Rocker is a clear beer that smells mildly of citrus and forms a thin, bubbly head the disappears quickly. As you would expect, it is quite lemony with a mild sweetness but not tart like lemonade. If you like fruit in your beer, Porch Rocker is light, easy drinking and certainly worth a try this summer.
Beach Session IPA
A session IPA is brewed to be easy to drink. Sam Adam’s Beach Session IPA fits the bill with an ABV of 4.7% and 30 IBUs, which is significantly lower than what you would expect from most styles of IPAs.
Beach Session pours hazy with a thin head and gives off an aroma of grapefruit mixed with a little bit of pine. This IPA is brewed with Mosaic hops, which is a relatively new (created in the last decade) hop recognized for its complex flavor profile and for being a stronger version of Citra hops.
As you would expect, the beer has a noticeable hoppy bitterness that lingers on our tongue, but it isn’t very strong. Even though the bitterness is relatively mild, I didn’t think any other flavors were able to punch through enough to be noted. The hoppiness is pleasant and doesn’t get in the way of drinkability, which is appropriate for a session beer like this.