Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic Ale....Cranberry?

So, in the spirit of the near-upon holiday season, I've started seriously pursuing interesting (and hopefully tasty) holiday style microbrews, mostly searching in the limited bottle shops in my general vicinity. It's slim pickins for microwbrew variety here in Western Pennsylvania for sure!

Anyway, this past Saturday my wife and I stopped by a new establishment and were extremely impressed with the overall selection of microbrews of all styles (hundreds and hundreds to choose and I'll be returning there for certain). The prices were high however, but still a better deal to be able to try a single bottle of something new for $3.00 than to purchase a whole case of 24 for $40.00 only to find out it's not something I'd want to drink more than one of anyway.

My wife created a mixed brand sixer and I as well. This evening, we agreed to sample an interesting looking Samuel Adams offering called Cranberry Lambic. I understand that this beer is an annual offering in the Sam Adams mixed sampler holiday beers case.

What I didn't understand was what the word "cranberry" was doing on a beer bottle. Either way, it piqued our combined interest and seemed worth a shot. Well, a shot was about all of it I could drink. It was that bad! The cranberry taste was not just a subtle background hint in this brew but an overbearing, sour pungent punch to my tastebuds and my wife's as well. Not even the aroma of this beverage was appealing to me. Very little of this Cranberry Lambic reminded me of beer at all let alone something which was craft brewed for enjoyment while celebrating in the "holiday cheer mode" of the season.

I have tried other Samuel Adams products with great kudos for many of them, but this one I wouldn't even split for a toast amongst friends let alone finish an entire 12 oz. bottle. I think that's what shocked me the most is the extreme of how much I disliked this libation compared to everything else I've tried from Boston Beer Company. Cranberry Lambic is a violent mood swing from the Boston Lager and most of their other lineup members. I will try other beers from the Samuel Adams seasonal holiday sampler case, but not this one ever, ever again. Maybe, just maybe someone who is into "fruity" beers, and cranberries in particular, will enjoy this. But my guess is, probably 95% of the microbrew market wouldn't like it. I'm sure there's a niche market here with Cranberry Lambic, I'm just not sure who and I'm pretty sure I've never met any of them.

My final word on Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic.....I'll give it a 1.50 out of 10.00 (in my humble opinion). Please try it though, and let me know if maybe I just got a bad bottle or served it too cold or too warm or poured it incorrectly into the wrong glassware, or drank it on the South side of the house instead of the proper East or I should've saved it until next Easter or whatever. I just didn't get this (whether I'm just too sud savvy or hopelessly ignorant) and I'm sorry if this was too harsh. I'll have better reviews to come for the Boston Beer Company. Cheers! :)

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!


Blogger W√∂rtwurst said...

Ah, c'mon, it's not that bad! You have to take these beers for what they are: fruity ass beer! A more reasonable fruit beer is probably Pyramid's Apricto Weizen.

3:26 PM  
Blogger David James said...

Hey wortwurst. Okay, I'll give. I guess I'm just not a fruit beer guy. I have tried the Pyramid Apricot Weizen (wasn't enthused) but my wife loved it! I'd say my favorite "fruit beer" to date is the Dogfish Head Aprihop though. I could drink that all day (and have actually). IPA with just subtle fruit. I know people who hate it though. Just depends on the palate I spose. Thanks for stoppin' by!

12:34 AM  
Blogger JT said...

What? Seriously. You slam something and then say you aren't a fruit beer guy? You can't review something then say you don't like it in the first place. You are just telling us what your palate prefers not what or how the beer is supposed to taste and if it achieved it. This wasn't a beer review.

Samuel Adams Lambic is an excellent refresh of a classic line of Belgian beers. It is not a lager, ale or a porter. Is not smooth like brown ale or chocolaty like a stout? Nor is it hoppy like an IPA?

What it is, an explosion of taste, and tart like a good cranberry should with a lot of carbonation.

You can tell this beer is brewed with the berry and is not made by adding a cranberry flavor afterwards.

A decent rosey bouquet witha gorgeous dark maroon color. Definitely reminiscent of a brown ale. Far better on tap than bottled as it seems to age quickly from the secondary fermentation of the fruit sugars. Best enjoyed soon after it's bottled if that is the only way you can get it.

Comparable to Lindeman's.

It's a good beer in the style and you need to go back to reviewing school 101.

1:52 PM  
Blogger bil said...

i'm havin' a glass from a bottle and i like it. fruit doesn't overwhelm but is certainly there, backed by a good solid brew. i might have it colder next time. and i wouldn't drink a case, but it's a nice taste. got the 12-pack holiday sampler and i'm getting two more just to tide me til my brew comes in, imperial stout kit from northern brewer.

8:23 PM  
Blogger David James said...

Thanks for the frank and honest comments everyone! It's great to get an open exchange of microbrew/craft beer review opinions and ideas whether in agreement or not. Great feed back from all sides on the beer and the blog makes a beneficial and informative read for everyone (at least those who like good beer!) Happy New Year !!

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me who gets a slight salmon taste?

I'm not a big fan of cranberry, but I can eat it. In this case, I can't drink it, far too overwhelming. Cranberry just doesn't go with beer, it tastes odd. There are so many nicer fruit beers than this (I'd go so far as to say a lot more)

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Eric Lindquist said...

I agree with the reviewer- 1.5 out of 10 is what I would give it too. I had one yesterday before Christmas dinner,and couldn't finish it. The cranberry flavor at the start, doesn't mesh with the beer taste at the end.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the cranberry lambic, but I'm an unabashed fan of fruity ales (looking forward to SA's pumpkin ale for Halloween!). Wish Sam Adams still marketed cranberry lambic in six packs during the holidays instead of just putting it in their holiday variety pack.

11:05 PM  

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