Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer seasonal twofer: Sam Adams Summer Ale, bottle; and Sierra Nevada Summerfest, bottle, poured into pint glass

Below is a terribly photographed sketch of my D&D character. He doesn't have a name yet--I'm open to suggestions--but he's a cleric. An anarchist cleric. He has a mace and 17 wisdom points. He is not your father's clergyman.

Tonight was my maiden Dungeons and Dragons experience. At 26 years-old, the inner-weirdo I suppressed during my actual adolescence has come out in force, so when I was invited to join a D&D group, I couldn't resist.

I've always stereotyped D&D players as big Mountain Dew drinkers. Also teenagers. They are teenagers, ergo they drink Mountain Dew. Since all of us are over 25, we had beer. My contribution was Sam Adams Summer Ale. I normally wouldn't buy it, but I was in a hurry to get downtown for the start of the game and stopped at the first empty-looking liquor store I passed. Summer Ale was the only thing in the cooler I'd never tried.

My first sip was a flashback to Skippy's--the leftover keg beer, lemonade, and vodka concoction of Sundays past. Perhaps I'm being harsh; I never rate lemon-flavored beers well. Maybe they have some merit. Heck, I love a good hefe with a lemon, so it's not that I'm anti-lemon. Sam Adams seasonals are usually pretty good; Noble Pils and Octoberfest come to mind first. But I think Summer Ale is a lazy effort. Lemony! Refreshing! Hot weather! You'll drink! Blech. Give me something better.

Grade: H, for half-assed. This is a total throwaway to placate an easy market. Pure Lamesville.

After returning to my dog-sitting post in the burbs for the night, I poured myself a nightcapper, a Sierra Nevada Summertime.

Good old steady Sierra Nevada. They may not be the boldest innovators, but they do many types of beer very well, without succumbing to any of the ABV oneupmanship or extreme hopification nonsense. Summerfest is a no-frills light lager--refreshing, flavorful, good in big bubbly swigs. And no fucking lemons! (A little citrus in the aroma but nothing on taste.) There's no reason they couldn't market this year-round as Sierra Nevada Pilsner.

Grade: P, for prototypical. It was enjoyable, yet I could probably be fooled into thinking it's a Schlitz if you hid the bottle. This isn't a knock on either beer; I love Schlitz. Just keep that in mind when you consider the price disparity.

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