Boston Beer Co. is rolling out two new mixed 12 packs of Samuel Adams brews that offer some teachable moments.
First up is the summer seasonal pack with two new additions to the lineup. The Rustic Saison is a very accessible Belgian-style farmhouse beer. The style brings a spicy character along with floral, herbal, and citrus notes to the party for an ale that satisfies and quenches thirst as it did when the style was first brewed in Belgium for farmers just in from the fields.
Also gracing the summer variety pack is the new Samuel Adams East-West Kölsch. The brew mixes up the classic German style with Alsatian hops, and is aged on a bed of Jasmine Sambac blossoms to impart floral aromas and bring the “East” into the equation.
Standards contained include Boston Lager, Sam Adams Light, Summer Ale, and Latitude 48 IPA.
The second new 12 pack is a hop seminar in a box. The brewers at Sam Adams riffed off the basic Latitude 48 IPA, but changed out the hops for five more variations featuring a single hop.
Latitude 48 is brewed with a combination of hops including Hallertau Mittelfrueh, East Kent Goldings, Ahtanum, Simcoe, and Zeus, all grown in various prime hop-growing countries along the 48th latitude line.
The Spoetzl Brewery is once again heading to the produce aisle for inspiration. The new Shiner summer seasonal Ruby Redbird features the Rio Grande Valley pink grapefruit and a hint of ginger. The hops used are Mt. Hood, Citra, and Cascade, all of which already have a bit of a grapefruit-like flavor and aroma profile.
Shiner Cheer, the Christmas holiday offering for the last few years, features Hill Country peaches and Texas pecans and has been a bit of a hit for the brewery. The Shiner Smokehaus, the previous summer seasonal featuring mesquite-smoked malts, looks as thought it is on hiatus.
Out of 477 entries from around the state, judges narrowed down the best of the best over the weekend at the annual Alamo City Cerveza Fest homebrew competition.
Best of Show honors went to Mark Schoppe of the Austin Zealots club for his eisbock. This is a bock-style brew with higher alcohol levels achieved by freezing the beer and removing water content. Best of Show for cider and mead went to Cesar Gonzalez of the Bay Area Mashtronauts; local Bexar Brewer member Ben Bunker took runner-up honors with his fruit cider.
Funkiest of Show, awarded by Freetail Brewing Co., went to the brewing team of Taylor and Burton of the Austin Zealots for a brew dubbed Pomegranate and Bitter.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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