Thursday, October 7, 2010

Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier Review

Brewery: Boston Brewing Co. | Beer: Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier
Style: Witbier | ABV: 5.5%
| IBUs: ~15
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Samuel Adams Blackberry WitbierWhile my review of Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat didn't go so well, I'm back to give the other the other year-round Sam Adams fruity wheat beer a shot.

Unlike Cherry Wheat, which is just sort of a general wheat beer with added fruit, Blackberry Witbier is brewed with a specific style in mind (guess which one!). According to the marketing, it was brewed as the companies own version of the Witbier, with all of the the classic flavors along with some subtle sweetness and tartness from blackberries.

It was first brewed as part of the Beer Lover's Choice promotion in 2008. In that contest it defeated a coffee-themed Stout by a margin of 60-40 and became part of the regular year-round lineup.

These guys are always generous with the ingredient details, and this particular beer has an interesting roster. Its backbone is built from Two-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale malts along with malted wheat and it's hopped exclusively with Hallertau Mittelfrueh noble hops. In addition, there are Oregon Marion blackberries and the orange peel and coriander traditional to the style. Everything is brought to life with the house ale yeast.

Here's how the describe the finished product:

The blackberries are brought together with a hint of traditional orange and coriander to complement the malt character and give a smooth finish that’s both sweet and tart.
Sounds good to me. Let's dig in!

Appearance: A nicely hazy golden-honey body with lots of particles in suspension. Certainly a little darker than the average Witbier. On top, one finger of creamy, off-white head that features good retention and lacing.

Aroma: Lots of juicy blackberry over a bit of pale-ish malt and some subtle spiciness. The blackberries are more sweet than tart and somewhat grapey.

Taste: Not quite as berry-like in the flavor profile, but still rather grapey, spicy, and now somewhat sour. Underneath, there's a solid bready malt backbone to keep everything grounded. The aftertaste is grainy and slightly juicy.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and dry with sharp carbonation.

Drinkability: I'd call it about average for a Wit; nicely refreshing.

Verdict: While it's probably more of a Fruit Beer than a true Witbier, the end result is not particularly exciting regardless of style. Compared with Cherry Wheat, this is a much more pleasing proposition.

Grade: B

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