Beer Review: Sam Adams’ Boston Lager (Craft Beer Classics)

Recently Sam Adams released the following commercial:

The premise is simple; Sam Adams’ Boston Lager has been around for so long, and in some senses has been a ubiquitous beer option for so long, that people no longer consider it when shopping for a craft beer. I’ve had fellow beer drinkers say to me, “Well, you know, Sam Adams isn’t REALLY a craft beer any more.” Oh really? Why not? Because they sell a lot of them? AB-InBev (makes of Budweiser and hundreds of other macro-beers) sells $1.8 BILLION worth of product each year. Miller Coors sells $1.2 BILLION. Boston Beer Company, while the largest craft brewery, only sells $97 Million. That’s less than 1% of either AB-InBev or Miller Coors. Sam Adams doesn’t even make the list of the top 15 beer brands. Hardly a “macro” brewery. Maybe because it’s not a unique style of beer? Okay, name me any 2 other Vienna Lagers out there on the market. Didn’t think so.

I like Sam Adams’ ad campaign. It says, “Hey, we’ve been making this beer that we think is really awesome, and we’ve been making it for years. We busted our asses to make craft beer available to the masses. Now that you’ve become one of the people that has embraced craft beer, and you’ve tried all these awesome beer there are out there, and you’ve developed an awesome, sophisticated craft-beer-palette… how about giving our beer another shot? It might surprise you.”

So I say to you, Mr. Koch and crew: challenge accepted.

Sam Adams Boston LagerFrom Sam Adams:

Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-bodied brews that are robust and rich with character.  Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced, complex and full-bodied original brew.

HOPS: Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger Noble hops
MALTS: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend and Caramel 60
YEAST: Samuel Adams lager
COLOR: A deep amber to golden, 11 SRM
ABV: 4.9%
IBU: 30

RateBeer: 68, 97
Untappd: 3.38
The “challenge” from Sam Adams has inspired me to do this “Craft Beer Classics” series, where I’ll review beers like Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Arrogant Bastard, et cetera. Leave a comment if you have a suggestion for a “forgotten” beer.

Appearance: Clear as a bell. Amber, orangish in color. Solid white head that leaves some nice lacing. This is a pretty beer.

Smell: Sweet and pleasant. I get a lot of the Tettnanger hops’ floral characteristic. There’s a little Hallertau spice in there, too. Not overwhelming, but mellow.

Taste: Malt sweetness and a nice spicy hop flavor. A hint of caramel, too.

Mouthfeel: Clean, dry, the right amount of carbonation. A medium body throughout and a pleasant finish .

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5. Buy it.

Boston Lager is older than I am. Not by much, but still that kind of staying power is impressive. I’ve barely hung around this long, but we’re talking about beer here. If you turn your nose up at Sam’s Boston Lager, or if you just haven’t a glass of it recently that you’ve bothered to enjoy like a newer, flashier brew… I really recommend giving Sam another look (and taste).

Sam Adams Boston Lager 2

Bonus! Here’s a shot of me with the man, the myth, the legend Mr. Jim Koch from Extreme Beer Fest this year. That cross-eyed look on my face is from the Utopia I had just sampled. Incredible stuff.




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