Don’t sleep on this one! Sam Adams has a winner on their hands this summer with a variety pack that is packed (see what I did there?) with an awesome selection of different styles from some really great breweries. In addition to the obligatory Boston Lager from Sam Adams the variety pack features collaboration beers from:
- Roc Brewing Co – Rochester, NY
- Bosque Brewing – Albuquerque, NM
- ChuckAlek Independednt Brewers – Ramona, CA
- Woods Beer Co – San Francisco, CA
- Brewery Rickoli – Wheat Ridge, CO
The variety pack’s focus is independence and the entrepreneurial spirit of the craft beer industry. Sam Adams collaborated with each of the five breweries to celebrate in the best way possible – a one of a kind variety pack. The collaborative spirit of ‘Craft’ is stronger than ever, deeply rooting itself into every aspect of the craft beer industry – and there might not be any industry that showcases these qualities of independence and entrepreneurial spirit better than craft beer, where brewers put aside competition to collaborate creatively and to challenge each other to push the envelope of what beer can, and should be.
Unlike any other beer collaborations before, this pack features brewers who are part of the Sam Adams ‘Brewing The American Dream’ signature philanthropic program. Nearly a decade ago, Sam Adams created the program to provide loans and coaching to craft brewers and small business owners pursuing their passions and the American Dream of starting their own business. All prints from this collaboration pack will be donated to non-profit program partner and small business lender Accionto support loans to food and beverage entrepreneurs nationwide.
Each of the five brewers have participated in the program and received a loan to kick start or to help grow their craft breweries. Most have participated in the Brewing And Business Experience-ship as well, receiving individual coaching from the team at Sam Adams.
“This pack represents the independent spirit, passion and collaboration that is the core to our craft beer industry.”
Says Sam Adams founder and brewer, Jim Koch.
“We’re proud to have collaborated with these creative and passionate brewers in a way that allows us to continue to pay it forward and empower fellow independent craft brewers to be successful and to grow.”
Let’s dig in to each beer then… shall we?
Sam Adams – Boston Lager
I’ve already talked about this beer before – so I’ll keep it pretty brief. If you have never had this beer… you either are a new craft beer drinker, or have been living under a rock, or maybe are extremely stubborn and refuse to try anything that has been around since the “beer dark ages”. If you haven’t had it, you’re also missing out an a fantastic staple beer to keep in your fridge. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t buy this beer as much as I should, but everytime it hits my lips I realize my mistake and I vow to not let it happen again.
This beer is great.
The beer fits in with the collaboration theme of the variety pack in that it is the first collaboration Sam Adams ever did, when owner Jim Koch dug out his Grandfather’s old beer recipe to kickstart a brewery that is now a household name.
The brewery says that this beer uses only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create a perfectly balanced and complex original brew, including two-row malted barley and Bavarian Noble hops. Boston Lager is full flavored with a balance of malty sweetness contrasted by hop spiciness and a smooth finish.
Roc Brewing Co – Rochester, NY – THreeNinetyBOck
ThreeNinety Bock is a slightly roasted Maibock with a sweet toffee and light caramel flavor, crafted from four hop varieties, combined with rye malt and oak smoked malt. Mosaic and Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops provide the balance that gives this dark golden bock a big, juicy character and slightly sweet and dry finish. ThreeNinety is a nod to the distance in miles between Boston and Rochester.
“Over the past 6 years with the help of Brewing the American Dream we took our business from a home brew hobby to a fast-paced brewery with 4 full-time employees and 8 part-time employees,” said founder Chris Spinelli.
My Thoughts on ThreeNinety Bock
I love a good bock. I mean… I really love a good bock beer, so my opinion about this is clouded by my love for the style. The beer is bready, with a great slight spice to it that really fills it out. It’s not a heavy drinker, though – It comes in at 7% ABV, though… so you’ve got to watch yourself with it. It’s a good thing I’ve only got a couple of them in the variety pack, because a 12 pack of this beer would go down way faster than it should!
Bosque Brewing – Albuequerque, NM – Desert Kaleidoscope IPA
Desert Kaleidoscope, pays homage to the Albuquerque balloon fiesta and features a mixture of flavors including citrus, tangerine, pine and honey malt to create a brew with a bold, hoppy aroma. With a 7.0% ABV, Desert Kaleidoscope is a deep amber, medium-bodied brew that leaves a clean touch of lingering bitterness on the palate.
“Nearly five years ago, we set out to provide great jobs and be an integral part of the craft beer community we love.” said Founder Gabe Jensen. “We currently have 90 co-workers that we are thrilled to be both learning from and growing with as a company -this is what inspires us.”
My Thoughts on Desert Kaleidoscope
In a world where it seems like a lot of brewers are trying to “out hop” each other – it’s refreshing whenever you can find an IPA that is just a good, solid IPA – which is exactly what I found with Desert Kaleidoscope. It makes me sad that Albuquerque is a bit of a haul from Cincinnati, Ohio – because I would love to saddle up to the bar at Bosque Brewing and see what they’re all about after tasting this.
ChuckAlek Independent Brewers – Ramona, CA – Time HOp Porter
Driven by co-founders Grant Fraley and Marta Jankowska’s mission of creating “Old School Beers for New School Palates,” Time Hop Porter utilizes Zeus, Chinook, Cascade and Goldings hops and is 5.3% ABV. The hop character is balanced by three malt varieties: Sam Adams pale two-row blend, Crisp Brown, and Black malt. This porter has strong notes of citrus and pine that are balanced by a smooth, roasted malt character.
“We were at a cross roads with our brewery when we met with Jim Koch, and after our conversations we knew exactly where to take the business,” said Founder and Brewer Grant Fraley. “When we opened our second location in 2016 we saw over 300% growth in revenue.”
My Thoughts on Time Hop Porter
This is a well balanced, and easy drinking dark beer. It’s in the dead of summer when I tasted this one, and it fit in perfectly with the hot night staring out at trees full of fireflies. Maybe I’m weird… but this beer is a solid reminder to me that you don’t need to relegate dark beer to the cooler months – I dig it.
Woods Beer Co – San Francisco, CA – Boston Tea Party Saison
Boston Tea Party Saison is a bi-coastal twist on the classic Belgian style, combining Woods’s yerba mate-infused saison with Sam Adams’ wild yeast blend, Kosmic Mother Funk. Mate’s earthy spice plays on the rippling, fruity haze of KMF’s funky bacteria, and gives a signature snap to the amber saison’s traditional dry finish.
“Our loan from the program helped us build a brewpub and four tasting rooms, and pursue more innovative collaborations like this one,” said Woods founder and brewer Jim Woods. “That creative, supportive spirit is the best part of this industry.”
My Thoughts on Boston Tea Party Saison
I love the addition of tea to this beer, it rounds out the spicy and crazy yeast in the Saison. There is a crazy good funky bite to this, though and it’s dry finish would be awesome if I had been able to hold back and save one of these to pair up with a good meal (which I wasn’t). This beer is unique, creative, and certainly delicious.
Brewery Rickoli – Wheat Ridge, CO – Oats McGoats Stout
Oats McGoats is an American stout brewed based on founder and brewer Rick Abitbol’s commitment to brewing full-flavored, gluten-reduced beers (if they didn’t say it, you wouldn’t know). At 6.5% ABV, the full-bodied, moderately carbonated beer is accented by earthy, spicy flavors and a hint of roasted coffee notes.
“The best advice we’ve gotten has been from our friends at Sam Adams!”, said founder Rick Abitbol. “If we hadn’t gotten our loan, we wouldn’t have been able to open our doors.”
My Thoughts on Oats McGoats Stout
Full bodied, packed full of layers of flavor this beer is a sipper, even if it’s only packing a 6.5% ABV punch. As the glass warmed up to room temperature I continued to find more and more earthy roasty flavors that I enjoyed immensely.