Cream of Sam’s Crop?

Samuel Adams Cream Stout (4.69% ABV bottle)- Milk/Sweet Stout- Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams), MA

Grade: B+ 

Poured from bottle into NERAX imperial pint glass.

Appearence: Nice dark brown, not quite black. 3/4 in. tan head which drops to a thin covering. Good lacing that sticks around to the bottom of the pint.

Smell: Coffee and some very faint chocolate and smoke. Not an overwhelming aroma, but not bad either.

Taste: Coffee and smoked malt are right up front. There’s a touch of chocolate and caramel sweetness in the undertone. A slightly bitter/metallic finish, but it’s not bothersome. Solid, enjoyable taste.

Mouthfeel: Generally good. Not as creamy/rich as many stouts out there, but still has a full enough body to let you know you are drinking a stout. Carbonation felt a little harsh.

Drinkability: With an ABV of under 5% this has session written all over it if you are a fan of the dark.

Notes: This is one of the better “Brewmaster Collection” brews I’ve had from SA. Seems like they do their version of good cop bad cop with that program and unfortunately bad cop tends to show up with a punch in the mouth more often than not. I wish the cream stout had better bar distribution as it would make a great alternative to the usual dry stout triumvirate of Guinness/Murphy’s/Beamish on offer at most places. One can dream, no?

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Jan/Feb Quick Hits

Lack of Internet at home combined with the seasonal upswing at work have left me little time to update with any length or depth. I still wanted to get some beers up so here’s some brief notes on brews that passed my way lately.  

Export Ale (5.1% ABV bottle)- American Pale Ale- Shipyard Brewing Co., ME
Grade: C-
     I’ve had this beer before. Many times. It’s a chameleon. If it’s the first beer I have in a session, no food, just straight to it, it tastes OK. Not a lot to write home about, except for a bit of butteriness underneath its general beer taste that is intriguing an yet a little off putting. No real hops bitterness. If I drink it after something else or after I’ve eaten, it tastes a bit sour like sweat. Basically unpleasant. And yet I still drink it.

Long Trail Hibernator (6.0% ABV bottle)- Scottish Ale- Long Trail Brewing Company, VT
Grade: C+
     Drinkable, but not exactly enticing. Though it is pretty when poured; a nice ruby-tinged brown. Taste is fairly middling. I don’t see myself grabbing this from the store again when it shows up next winter, but if someone handed me one I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it.

Mayflower Pale Ale (? ABV draft)- American Pale Ale- Mayflower Brewing Company, MA
Grade: C+
     Mayflower is a new brewery to MA so I figured I’d have a got at it. Yep, it’s a pale ale. Not bad, but not great either. We’ll see what else this brewery can bring to the table in the future. Hopefully something with a bit more presence.

Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale (5% draft)- Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)- Stoudt’s Brewing Co., PA
Grade: B-
     I’m not real familiar with ESBs, but this Scarlet Lady didn’t strike me as anything all that fancy. Kind of a standard micro brew ale. Not overly hopped, but not completely bland either. A beer to drink without having to think about it.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel (5.3% ABV bottle)- Dunkelweizen- Brauerei Weihenstephan, GER
Grade: A+
     As if a hefe couldn’t get any better, it’s dunkel (dark) cousin has a touch more malt than the traditional making one of my favorite styles of beer even more drinkable. Love this stuff. Highly recommended!