Posts Tagged ‘Sam Adams’

btl_DBThe summer has been a wash out. Today with the rain pounding down and a damp chill descending on the house I thought about the whimsical 4 pack of Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock lager I purchased the other day while stocking up on my summer volume beer, Pabst. (See other posts for the story)
I packed some venison sausage, whole grain macaroni and a fresh egg from under one of our hens into a bowl, popped the mix into the microwave and grabbed a Double Bock from the fridge. As the turntable hummed around, I drew in a long sip of the mahogany lager. Wow! this beer is ultimately smooth! On the label Jim Koch tells us that this “lager reveals a deep mahogany color and velvety smooth flavor.” Well I wouldn’t use the words velvet but I get the image. This double bock is silky smooth. 9.5% ABV is hidden inside this superb brew. Not a hint of harshness; the malt is huge. Drink this for dessert period.
With the Sam Adams Imperial Series and Harpoon’s Leviathan we have a bundle of the finest kind right here. More to come, Sam has an Imperial Stout, also.
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 ballentineSo after trashing Dogfish Head Fort the other night I got to thinking. Why did the three of us take exception to mixing raspberries with beer.   What in that combination or any fruit/beer combo turns us way off… like when someone buys a Sam Adams sampler and gets the Cranberry Lambic which gets slid to the way back of the fridge and left for that desperate night when  no cash, no beer, dark and rainy, and no nearby-open-store,  coincide to make us reach… reach past the partly used Ranch dressing, past the barbecue sauce from last summer, past the leftover slice of pizza and latch onto the Lambic. I think it is in the way  we enter the beer world.

If I open a bottle of beer, which I must clarify, I lean toward ale and am partial to stout, porter, IPA and that ilk, then I have expectations. When I first drank Flemish Sour Ale I thought something had gone horribly wrong in the brewery. Only when I prepared myself for the Sour was I able to appreciate its character. That doesn’t mean I then loved it… I appreciated what it was and I thought of the cold, damp, spring of Flanders and the Ale House, ancient and well loved by the local craftsmen talking about the bicycle racing season just begun on the cobbled farm roads and mud.

My first taste, the eye opening, permanently implanting memory of that remarkable fluid, beer, occurred when I was about eleven years old at a boy scout gathering of some sort. My father, my older brother and I spent that warm early summer day watching and enjoying various activities. A haze fills most of that day except for the clear, sunny skies, the smell of warm, spring earth and damp grass. My father stood at the horseshoe pitch with the other fathers. I tagged along, my brother was out of sight. The men had green bottles in their hands; I wish I could say for sure but I always thought of them as Ballantine Ale bottles. It was a common ale for the old timers. I might add that when I was eleven Ike was President of the US.

Nevertheless, my father – not particularly a beer drinker- handed me his bottle while he stood up to toss the old iron shoes. I remember the dirt, moist and dark, the smell of good earth like behind the Forsythia bushes down near the stone foundation at home. I remember the kahki work pants that my father and nearly all the men wore on Saturday, heavy and soft from wear.I remember the dungarees that I wore with the rolled up cuffs and broken-in feel, the feel of jeans that in those days came from hard use, not purchased that way. I remembered the cold green bottle that I grasped by the neck. And I remember holding it up to my lips and tilting, the fluid sliding down my throat. 

That taste, that day, stayed with me. A bitter, hoppy, strong after-taste ale. Ever after I measured beer with that first taste, the early Knickerbocker, Ballantine – the true gen, the GIQ’s of Pabst or Knick or Schaefer of my early high school years. They had to have that earthy strength, always reminding me of the damp earth of the early summer day with my father.

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