I’D TAP THAT: Sam Adams’ Winter Lager perfect for those cold, dark nights
Glassware: German styled beers are brewed to be malt forward emanating wonderfully sweet aromas. The addition of spices makes Winter Lager even more aromatic with a wonderfully sticky sweet malt quality. The perfect glass for this beer is Sam Adams own glassware with the perfect shape to capture the aroma and allow the beer to warm slowly.
Description: Winter Lager pours a clear dark ruby brown with frothy khaki head that leaves behind a thick web lacing on the glass. The aroma has sticky sweet caramel malt notes up front with roasted malts and hints of cinnamon and citrus in the background. The taste follows the nose with a wonderful smooth and sweet caramel malt flavor hitting the palate first followed by hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus that coat the palate before leaving a long semi-dry finish. There is a definite sweetness but it is far from cloying and is a decadently smooth and easy drinking bock that anyone can enjoy. The medium-full mouthfeel and moderate carbonation aid in this beer’s smooth easy drinking qualities. Winter Lager is one of Sam Adams first seasonal beers and is still one of their best, if not one of the best, seasonal offering eagerly awaited.
Food Pairing: As winter closes in, warm hearty foods find places on our tables and Winter Lager makes the perfect accompaniment for all of them. Try pairing Winter Lager with roasted chicken or duck, the natural caramelization of the meat will melt into the delicious malt bill while the spices will sink their teeth into the fresh juices of perfectly roasted meat. If you are a bit more adventurous with your meat, try Winter Lager with wild boar sausages, venison medallions, or elk. Any gamey flavors from the meat will be dissipated by the wonderfully sweet malt bill and the beer has enough body and carbonation to scrub the palate clean between bites. With the approaching holidays, sweets are always lurking in the background whether you are making them for yourself or for loved ones, a great cookie always is a nice match with a great beer. Gingerbread cookies are king of the cookies this time of year and make the perfect counterpart with Winter Lager. Don’t be afraid to pile them high with icing!
The Final Word: Sam Adams has brewed its delicious Winter Lager since 1989, far before the current craft beer craze took hold. This truly shows how far ahead of any trend curve Sam Adams has been within the craft beer market. The wonderfully smooth body and subtle spicing make Winter Lager the perfect seasonal beer that has enough heft to help keep you warm on a cold winter night, but not too much that it causes you to pass out on the couch. This is also one of their most popular beers with craft beer aficionados, newbies, and even non craft beer devotees all showing their love for this delicious brew. While the craft beer industry has grown in leaps and bounds since this beer was first brewed, it is still just as delicious today and remains a great way to celebrate the holiday season.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Sam Adams Boston Brewing Company
Beer: Winter Lager