Endless Road Trip Boston: Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale
If you’ve never been to a brewery before, you may be expecting some mechanical experience where you are watching them brew on the other side of a glass window. Maybe you expect to see a bunch of hoses shooting beer from one place to another, leading to a huge bottling machine. Maybe, if you’re lucky—you’ll get a free sample of beer. Not the case at Sam Adams…and that’s a good thing.
The tour starts out in a small tunnel shaped like a keg. From there, you show them your “ticket” which is a Sam Adams label. Then, you literally walk right through the brewery. You’ll see some dudes with kick-ass beards working on the freshest brew. Oh, and you’ll be smacked in the face with the delicious smell of grains and can go touch the huge vats that brew “America’s World Class Beer”.
*Impress your friends*: One piece of info that many of you may not know – Sam Adams is one of the breweries around that makes sure their beer is like no other – they harvest their own yeast. So, no – you can not completely replicate any of their brews. Impressed? (with me, obviously…) You should be.
On to the best part of the tour: the bar.
This is where you get your free samples. Except…they refill your cup again…and again…and again… The tour guide will also explain the five steps to tasting and evaluating beer. Since you have the link, I’m not going to explain. What I will do instead is provide a run-down of my favorite beer, out of what we tasted at the brewery (Boston Lager, Oktoberfest, and Fat Jack) using the five steps to tasting. The Fat Jack is available at various distributors and I suggest you give this one a shot.
Sam Adams’ Fat Jack Ale has been around for a while—but the employees at Sam Adams kept it to themselves for their Halloween party. Luckily for us, they finally released it to the public. The Fat Jack is brewed with at least 28 pounds of pumpkin PER BARREL. Add to that various spices including cinnamon, allspice, and ginger and finally: roasted specialty malts. Don’t think pumpkin pie though—this isn’t as much a sweet, desert-like brew, but more of a warm-you-up in the fall brew. Satisfying? Absofruitly.
Appearance: The Fat Jack has a darker, almost caramel-colored look to it. The head is an “off white” color, somewhere between the head of a lager and that of a stout. Foam is moderate, leaving behind lacing (the foam lines leftover as you drink).
Aroma: How can I say this? Think Thanksgiving morning as your mom gets dinner ready in the kitchen, and the sweet potatoes just came out of the oven. There it is. You smell the pumpkin and spices all together, lending a unique aroma that makes you giddy before even taking a sip/gulp.
Taste: So far, this is the first beer I’ve sampled where the first taste of the beer is the pumpkin. The roasted maltyness of the beer gives it a deep flavor that is somewhat sweet and savory. Finally, with all of the malts and pumpkin in the beer, it warms your stomach like a shot of Jack Daniels would—except this has 10 times the flavor.
Body: Medium bodied. What does that mean? It is thick, but not so thick that it comes out like a Guinness. As you drink it, it feels smooth and creamy. After two of these, you may feel full. As in fulfilled.
Finish: Smooth finish that leaves you feeling like you just finished a hot meal on a cool autumn day. But you also can’t wait for the leftovers. In some beers, you taste the malts, hops, and yeast separately, but this brew really comes together to give an all-around taste. It is a unique pumpkin beer that I would rate as the best pumpkin beer I’ve had so far.
Sticking with the holiday theme…I give the Fat Jack “Double Pumpkin” Ale…4.5 Jack-O-Lanterns!