The Beloved Return Of Holiday Beer

It’s still early. Halloween hasn’t even arrived. But the release of beers seems to go on forever. Case in point:  Samuel Adams Winter Classic Collection: probably the best selection ever for this annual sampler. For The Beer Doctor, there is not a single bad selection in the lot. As someone who has seen this offering over many years, I can honestly say this. Gone from the group was the always questionable Cranberry Lambic, which over the many years it kept reappearing I never met anyone who actually said they liked it. Gone too, are the thrown-ins from years past; the Sam Adams Light, the ridiculous lemon concoction known as Coastal Wheat, which was so bad that last year I abstained from buying the collection, which was sad, because that eliminated the possibility of drinking 2 of my favorites, Holiday Porter and Old Fezziwig Ale. Thankfully this year, that has been corrected. Joining these and the Winter Lager, is the extraordinary Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock and their Belgian style White Ale, along with their flagship brand, Samuel Adams Lager.
I often forget that my enthusiasm for flavorful beer often does not translate well to those unaccustomed to it. Watching people try these beers for the first time, folks who normally drink products like Bud Light, is an exhibition of bewilderment and complete surprise, especially upon discovering, sometimes for the very first time, that real beer actually does have real flavor. For the one quarter of the world’s beer drinking population who normally drink their Bud Light, this must come as a bit of a revelation.
The inclusion of the Chocolate Bock is a holiday treat. I have not been able to get over the focus of this recipe, using a bed of Ecuadorian dark  chocolate nibs to produce a smooth as silk chocolaty masterpiece.
Old Fezziwig Ale, their beloved Christmas wassail is always welcome. I remember when this first came out, over 15 years ago, when it was in a 25.4oz bottle. As welcome now as then, a delicious festive experience.
This is equally true of their London-style Holiday Porter. It is difficult to imagine winter without having this, at least once.
The White Ale, a very good take on Belgian Whit, is a more interesting version of the beer style gone mainstream by Coors Blue Moon. Very crisp and lively, and very easy to drink.
In fact, as I said, these are all good. A very auspicious sign for the coming holiday season.


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