Time to Sit Back and Unwind: Summertime with Sam Adams

sam adams-summer pack-summer ale-summer beer-beer-Boston Beer Company

It isn’t summer until you’ve had a summer ale. While CraftBeer.com suggests plenty of options, it’s Sam Adams’ seasonal brew that officially kicks off beach season for me every year.

I typically don’t buy 12-packs of beer any more – my wandering eye at my local bottle shop prevents that – but I do like to indulge in each of Sam Adams’ seasonal variety packs to see what the brewers at Boston Beer Company cook up every few months. Along with my annual bottles of Summer Ale, I was excited to try some of the special releases provided in this year’s summer 12-pack.

So as today marks the unofficial start of summer across the U.S., I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight the special brews of this year’s summer pack.

Blueberry Hill Lager

blueberry hill-sam adams-summer pack-summer beer-boston beer comapnyThe name should tell you all you need to know. Made with two-row pale and honey malts, this beer has the light body of a lager with plenty of flavor created by the use of blueberry flavoring. As I’ve noted with my own blueberry experiment, it’s hard to get true blueberry taste from the berries themselves, so natural flavoring would be necessary for Average Joe/Jane Drinker to get that sensation.

Tettnang hops offer a light bitterness to offset the blueberries, but this one is fruity through and through. There’s no disguising what you should expect when you drink this beer. Like Sam Adams’ Cherry Wheat, one bottle should be enough, otherwise the berry flavor may get a bit repetitive.

Blueberry Hill Lager stats:

  • Malt: Two-row pale malt blend and honey malts
  • Hops: Tettnang
  • Additives/Adjuncts: Blueberries and natural flavoring
  • ABV: 5.5 percent

Porch Rocker

porch rocker-sam adams-summer ale-summer beer-beer-Boston Beer CompanyThis is essentially Sam Adams’ take on a shandy – a part beer, part lemonade mix popular with our fellow beer drinkers across the pond in the UK.

The aroma of this beer carries lots of lemon zest and added with a fair amount of carbonation makes this beer smell almost like 7up.

That carries over into the taste, which tickles the tongue in a similar soda fashion while also providing notes of lime and lemon. Thankfully, the brewery’s blend of two-role pale malts backs it up a little, giving a slight malty sweetness that’s hard to pinpoint because Sam Adams doesn’t explicitly say what malt varieties are in their blend.

Either way, at 4.5 percent ABV this is a great back porch sipper that allows citrus smells and tastes to carry the brew, but the malt never stops it from being overbearing.

Porch Rocker stats:

  • Malt: Two-row pale malt blend
  • Hops: Tettnang
  • Additives/Adjuncts: Lemon
  • ABV: 4.5 percent

Little White Rye

white rye--sam adams-summer ale-summer beer-beer-Boston Beer CompanyOh, that’s cute, Sam Adams made a Blue Moon clone.

Everything about this beer screams everyone’s favorite (or not) “crafty” beer. The only difference I found was a slight herbal taste brought on by the use of white sage and this beer’s aftertaste, which featured a touch of rye spice.

Other than that, if you’ve had a Blue Moon, you know what you’re getting.

Little White Rye stats:

  • Malt: Two-row pale malt blend and rye
  • Hops: Tettnang and Saaz
  • Additives/Adjuncts: Orange Peel, corriander, white sage
  • ABV: 5.3 percent

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac


18 thoughts on “Time to Sit Back and Unwind: Summertime with Sam Adams

  1. Beer is my favourable drink

  2. Been wanting to try Blueberry Hill Lager. Looks and sounds tasty. Love me some blueberry brews.

    1. Blueberry is a favorite when it comes to beer flavors, especially since it goes so well with lighter beers. You can throw anything into a porter or stout and most fruits work well with wheat, but the blueberry really hits a nice spot with lagers. It’s unfortunate you can only get this brew in the 12-pack!

  3. I just visited Sam Adams and I’d have to say I enjoy their winter sampler vastly more than their summer. That being said, I do like several of their individual beers. I’ve noticed recently that blueberry beers are very popular in the Northeast! Sounds like it was good, but maybe not the best? Cheers!

    1. I had a different experience with a homebrew version of a blueberry beer – so I may be a bit biased.

      It most certainly tastes of blueberries and isn’t offending at all. That said, the sweetness is enough to keep me at one bottle and move on.

      I think it’s Sea Dog that makes a good blueberry brew from the NE, if you can find it. Do you have a favorite?

      1. My favorite by far is Boston Beer Works’ Bluebeery. It reminded me faintly of a champage. Photos here: http://wp.me/p2tTkJ-ql It wasn’t that sweet, actually. I don’t think they distribute it, sadly.

        Second in line is probably the Sea Dog.

      2. Boston Beer Works is solid. I’ve been to their restaurant by Fenway and if I’m coming through Logan and have time, I always try to stop there, too. Their pumpkin beer is good, but it seems their blueberry is a hit!

  4. I can’t remember specifics, but I remember liking the Belgian Session in the picture above. did you get a chance to try that one out?

    1. I did, but didn’t offer any thoughts on it since it was in last year’s pack, too. That might have been the first time it showed up. I can’t recall.

      Between the Belgian and Porch Rocker, I liked the fact there were two lower-than 4.5 percent session beers in the pack. I don’t think the Belgian blew me away – nothing by Sam Adams really does – but everything they make is usually good. I never hate any of their beers.

  5. I haven’t really been a fan of of the Summer ale, which I’ve come across just about everywhere in the last month. To me, it come across like a shandy, and while I like the idea of a shandy, this didn’t really do anything for me. Too cloyingly sweet, and not refreshing at all. Maybe if it were lighter, more tart and more effervescent, which actually sounds like the Porch Rocker maybe.

  6. I’ve been slightly curious to try the Porch Rocker but not because I think I’ll like it (not a little bit). It just seems as though I have to include it as part of the coming summer brew research. For the most part, my take on SA’s samplers has generally been that they are comprised of mostly forgettable though not offensive brews. They always go over well when brought along to BBQs not filled with craft beer geeks.


    1. You are spot on. In my early craft days (read: when I had no money) SA was a delightful treat. Since I’ve been able to diversify, all their beers are exactly as you put it: fine to drink but nothing to truly stow away.

      I like getting these variety packs once a season to see what they’re cooking up.

  7. Oooh didn’t know that was out. I’m totally interested in that Blueberry one. Wonder how it stacks up to Sea Dog or Blue Point…

    1. It was definitely worth trying, it’s just a shame you can only get it in the summer 12-pack.

      That said, if the downside is you have to get 10 other solid beers with the two blueberry bottles, there are worse things in the world…

  8. I’m on the bus with you, Bryan. Each season, I make sure to grab a Sam Seasonal Sampler; it’s really become a moral imperative.

    1. Their marketing scheme must be working well on us, then. I was just reading Oktoberfest is coming out shortly, just in time to be of questionable taste by October!

      Either way, I’m still excited to see what their fall specials will be…

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