Beer Review: Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (5.3% ABV)

 

This one is a little different for us. None of us are really into the fruit beers, but a friend brought over some Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat, so we decided to give it a try. Read on to see what we thought about it.

From the Brewery: Crisp and fruity with a hint of honey, this cherry brewed ale has surprising depth while being light on the palate.

DSC01069Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange color, with a small bright white head.

Aroma: Strong sugary cherry smell, almost like Cherry Garcia ice cream (for those of you familiar with the Ben & Jerry’s wonder…), that totally dominates the nose.

Taste and Drinking Experience: This one doesn’t taste as sweet as the smell would suggest. The cherry is present throughout, but in a more subdued sense. Up front, it’s light a very light wheat beer. The problem is that there is no flavor on the back at all. It’s like drinking cherry seltzer, but your mouth really expects something else to happen. This beer is incredibly palette cleansing, almost to the point of overkill.

Overall: This beer might be refreshing in warm weather. It’s not undrinkable, but there is not  much substance in terms of the flavor. We would personally probably reach for a regular wheat beer, but if Sam Adams was trying to make a very refreshing fruit beer that would appeal to those who like fruit in their beer, or who are not really beer drinkers, then they succeeded. This one isn’t that bad.

Grade: We are going to waffle on this one a bit. In terms of just judging it as a “good beer” that we would want to drink, we only give it a C+. But in terms of the style, it seems Sam Adams accomplished what they set out to do, and from that perspective, this might warrant a grade as high as a B.

Let us know what you think of Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat in the comments.

Thanks for reading. You can catch us on Twitter (@thebeerdoctors). Be sure to check back soon, and, as always, cheers!

Cellar Adventures: Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2004)

This is only our second Cellar Adventure, and like the first, it was interesting. This time, it was a bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale from 2004.

DSC01066Background and History

Thomas Hardy’s Ale dates back to the late 1960s. In 1968, the Trumpet Major pub in Dorchester, England was renovated. It was the 40th anniversary of the death of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy, and Eldridge Pope Brewery decided to commemorate him by creating a strong, complex beer that was aged in oak casks and would age nicely. It was brewed in 1968 and then began (mostly) annual production in the mid-1970s. The beer quickly became famous, and was included in the book, “1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.”

This beer will supposedly age extremely well, for as long as 20-25 years. Ours is not nearly that old, but still, at nearly a decade, it’s been aging for its fair share of time. (It’s worth noting that, starting in 2003, production was done by O’Hanlon Brewery).

Our Experience

The beer is presented well. The bottle is nice, and its classy label and gold foil wrapper make you think you’re about to drink a classic brew. As a nice added touch, the label has a quote from Hardy’s novel, “The Trumpet Major”:

It was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset; free from streakiness of taste, but, finally, rather heady.

DSC01068

The ale poured quite murky, like dark apple cider, with virtually no head (to be expected). The aroma had some very pronounced sour notes, with hints of prune and cider. It was almost overpowering in its sweetness. The taste was very similar. It was sweet, almost molasses-like, with strong notes of cider, chocolate, and candied sugar. It was very complex, but almost undrinkable in its sweet-and-sour-ness unless you were taking the smallest of sips. It may pair well with food, but is certainly not a regular-drinking beer.

In the end, we are learning that we may not enjoy these English aged beers, likely because our palates are more tuned towards savory instead of sweet. However, the experience of drinking these aged brews is worth it. And hey, at least we got to knock off one of the 1001 beers we need to taste before we die, right?

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check back soon. You can also catch us on Twitter (@thebeerdoctors). And as always, cheers!

 

Beer Review: Widmer Alchemy Ale (5.8% ABV)

This one comes to us from Portland, a cool city with a great craft beer scene. Widmer Brothers has developed a solid reputation for making tasty beers, so read on to see if this one lived up to their potential.

From the Brewery: We practice alchemy every day turning water, malt, hops, and yeast into liquid gold. Alchemy ale melds years of experimentation and our special alchemy hop blend, in a pure expression of brewing art and science. Join us in unlocking the mystery to the perfectly balanced, perfectly hopped ale. Alchemy Ale has a bright, distinct hop character balanced with hints of caramel and a remarkably smooth finish.

DSC01062Appearance: Pours a clear amber/gold with a small white head.

Aroma: Nice citrus fruit aromas, some orange and tangerine, but nothing overpowering; Smells incredibly fresh

Taste and Drinking Experience: Well balanced with good carbonation. Nice sweet malt with some citrus and estery notes. Lingering bready malt and orange, with some bittering on the finish

Overall: Great session beer, good for people who may have never had a “real” beer. When trying it, we compared it to Switchback’s standard ale: there is nothing in particular that jumps out, and it’s not trying to do anything special. But if you just want a good, fresh craft beer, this is a great example.

Grade: B+

For more on Widmer Brothers and Alchemy Ale, click here.