Bar to Bar Through Beantown
We interrupt our regularly scheduled cocktail reviews to bring you a post about the great experience we had at the Samuel Adams Brewery last night. Thanks to our friends over at Girls’ Pint Out Massachusetts, we were invited to attend the Samuel Adam’s Single Batch Preview Tasting.
There were four single batch beers being sampled. Essentially, single batch means that the beer is only brewed once…aka it’s a limited edition. All of the beers were paired with an appetizer as well as AMAZING cupcakes from Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe, located in the North End. There cupcakes were made with the beers being sampled, and were to.die.for. Each guest was given only two food tokens (you do the math…two tokens but four tables means you’re missing out on half the goods), so we decided to share so we could taste everything. This was tricky with some of the cupcakes! We’ll provide some of our notes on the four beers below! Warning…image heavy post.
Tasting 1: Griffin’s Bow – oaked, blonde barley wine ale
Food Pairing: Quesadilla (although when we had it they got the pairing wrong so we had a double batch of mac & cheese), toffee cupcake
Tasting Notes: Golden in color and wine-like. Flavors of honeysuckle and grapefruit are layered with toffee, vanilla, and the distinct character of toasted oat. This unique take on a barleywine surprises with its smoothness and balance of fruit, hop citrus, and warming strength.
Stats: 11.5% ABV, 45 IBUs, 12 SRM
Our Notes: Griffin’s Bow was delicious. When we first looked at the color of the beer, we figured it would be light in flavor, but we were wrong! Griffin here packs a hoppy punch that Eric couldn’t put down! This reminded Eric of an IPA as opposed to a barleywine, but that was probably the toasted oat and hop citrus talking. At 11.5% ABV, it’s no surprise that when we left the event we all had a slight buzz.
Tasting 2: Tasman Red- red IPA
Food Pairing: Macaroni & cheese, red velvet cupcake
Tasting Notes: Bold and lively with the grapefruit, piney, and earthy character of Tasmanian hops balanced by a smooth and roasty malt backbone with hints of toffee. This flavorful brew is rounded and smooth with a dry and citrusy hop finish.
Stats: 6.75% ABV, 80 IBUs, 40 SRM
Our Notes: This was a fairly unique play on an IPA. The color was absolutely astounding, but the “citrusy hop” was overwhelmed by the malt and toffee. The red paired fairly well with the cupcake, and this was a beer that we could see ourselves drinking with a burger or sitting with friends. Eric felt the Tasman Red was more “warming” than Griffin’s Bow. Valerie thought it was OK, which is saying a lot since she isn’t the biggest IPA fan.
Tasting 3: Third Voyage- double IPA
Food Pairing: A duo of cheese, lemon (?) cupcake
Tasting Notes: Bright and intense with a vivid hop punch. We were inspired by Capt. James Cook whose 3rd voyage made him the first to navigate a treacherous route from England to New Zealand to the the Pacific Northwest. Using Cascade hops from each of these regions we created a brew that’s citrusy, earthy, and full of bold character.
Stats: 8.0% ABV, 85 IBUs, 24 SRM
Our Notes: A DOUBLE IPA? Talk about delicious and hoppy. The earthy absolutely took control of the citrus in this drink, but Capt. James Cook’s inspiration was good, here, as the double IPA was strong and delicious. We’d never intentionally paired cheese with a beer (except with a burger), but the stinky cheese actually paired somewhat well with the Third Voyage. Valerie had to give Eric about half of her’s as it was strong and heavy! This one is definitely a slow sipper.
Tasting 4: The Vixen- chocolate chili bock
Food Pairing: Marinated chicken, chocolate cupcake
Tasting Notes: this cocoa colored brew is full-bodied, roasty, and slightly sweet. The smooth richness of dark cocoa is blended with cinnamon and the subtle spice and heat of chilies for a flavorful and vibrant brew.
Stats: 8.5% ABV, 20 IBUs, 75 SRM
Our Notes: Eric’s first thought was curry, which seemed to be used in the mole-type sauce for the chicken. This was the favorite of the bunch, as it reminded us of a chocolate stout with a bit of added spice from the cinnamon and chili. The cinnamon paired very well with the cocoa, and was further complemented by the spicy chili flavor. The heat took some by surprise on the first sip, but was quickly smoothed out by the rich cocoa, and wasn’t overwhelming at all.
Overall, this event was great. The beers were strong, and the 7 oz. pours were more than generous. The food was delicious, especially the cupcakes! It was cool to see the brewery in a new light aside from the regular tour, the team here did a great job making it a special event. We’ll leave you with a few last pictures…the first of Eric and Girls Pint Out Rep/friend Julie, the second of Eric smelling the hops topping off the unique centerpieces, and finally one of us (awww). We’ll be back in a few days with a regular post!