889: Samuel Adams Irish Red

Name: Samuel Adams Irish Red
Brewery: Boston Beer
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Boston, Massachusetts
Style: Irish Red Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.5%
First Brewed: 2007
Price: $1.65

Tasting Notes
The deep red color that defines this style sparkles like the clearest ruby gem. Sweet malt with a touch of fruit is matched by an earthy hop aroma. Its man-sized portion of malt is biscuitlike, but not overly sweet: a triumph of superb, full-bodied balance.

Ricky’s Thoughts

There are several “boring” and “generic” beers in our fridge right now. This is one of them. It’s the Samuel Adams Irish Red. Sam Adams, produced and brewed by the Boston Beer Company, is a good starting point for folks wanting to get into craft beer. But it’s nothing to write home about. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some beers worth writing home about… they do. But this isn’t one of them.

In the Glass: The beer produces an impressive white head. For a beer that is not only affordable, but to be considered a typical “Sam Adams beer”, I am impressed by this. I also got a whiff from the bottle while I was pouring. The beer did overflow when I opened it, but that might just be because of the transport from Indiana to the Valley of the Sun.

Nose: Like I said, I could smell this as soon as I opened the bottle. If the nose is doing anything, it is giving me some subtle sweet notes. That’s about it. We are drinking this right out of the fridge, and I worry that it would only get worse as it warms up. This isn’t a typical craft beer that you need to take time to appreciate. (I really hope this doesn’t sound like I am destroying Sam Adams here.)

Flavor: You know, for the price… this beer is actually pretty great. It has a VERY sweet start and finishes strong. The sweetness is quick to disappear, but I am stoked to experience the sweetness that I didn’t expect. This is just a lot sweeter than I expected. I wonder what other Irish reds out there compete with this one…

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. There aren’t a lot of bubbles, and it quickly floats across the top of the tongue. When I swish it around a little bit, the carbonation explodes on the palate. But even then it’s not unbearable.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is nice. It’s also sweet, but it doesn’t last very long. For a beer that is only $6.99 for 6, I would happily introduce this to someone that says, “What does a barleywine taste like?” It has that smoothness you get from a barleywine, but doesn’t provide the same levels of complexity a good barleywine would deliver.

I have to admit, I was’t very excited when we picked this bottle tonight. But I am glad we did. I have never been let down by Sam Adams, and this one (from their traditional portfolio of beers that includes the Sam Adams Boston Lager) I am quite happy with the end result. Granted, this isn’t a beer I would typically order. It’s the style, more than anything. But I will keep this in mind the next time I tailgate for insert sporting event here. Bottoms up, people!

Samuel Adams Irish Red – The bottle says: “This rich and malty ale originated in Ireland in 1710. I has a deep red color and distinctive caramel flavor from its pale and caramel malts. The malt sweetness is balanced by the earthy notes of the East Kent Golding hops. Cheers!”

Rating: 3/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Tonight’s beer is actually a pretty common one.  Sam Adams Irish Red is pretty easy to find.  It’s not a bad beer, just nothing all that special, really.  Don’t get me wrong, Sam Adams makes some good beers, and their Boston Lager is a go-to beer for me, one I get when there’s nothing else available that I really want to try.  It’s just a good old standby.  In fact, most of their beers aren’t half-bad, and definitely better than most regular domestics.  But today, let’s check out the Irish Red.

The beer looks pretty good in the glass.  It’s a brownish-red, as you would expect.  It looks pretty thick, or at least you can’t see through what’s in the glass.  It almost looks like a barleywine, although I know the taste is pretty far from it.  This particular bottle had a lot of head and foamed up over the top when Ricky opened the bottle.  The foam quickly dissipated in the glass, though.  It smells a bit like cinnamon, but nothing really overpowering.  Let’s see how it tastes.

The beer has kind of a spicy taste… spices like cinnamon, not spicy as in hot, though.  It actually does have the beginnings of a barleywine, but isn’t nearly as sweet and rich.  It’s really not a bad beer at all, though.  This might make a good one for a go-to beer as well, something I could be in the mood for when I am out shopping for a six-pack to take home.

Rating: 3/5

888 bottles of beer on the wall…

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