It’s time for another beer review. This time I tasted a limited edition Samuel Adams, and and anniversary beer from Stone Brewing.
Samuel Adams NORSE LEGEND: This is a Sahti style beer. I found/bought it at Total Wine last week. It’s a good beer, but first a little disclaimer. I had no idea what Sahti was. On the label below the style (Sahti), Samuel Adams identifies it as, “Ale brewed with juniper berries and aged on juniper berries.” Hmmmmm, that sounded interesting, so I bought a bottle.
Now for a little beer lesson (one I just learned myself). Sahti is a traditional beer of Finland – it’s been around for hundreds of years but I had never tasted it or even heard of it. Well, let me be ignorant no more! I looked up Sahti on the website where I purchase most of my brewing equipment. I’ll quote their description, “Though modern brewers have taken some liberties with modern brewing materials, this anachronistic style is still being brewed by sahti masters as it was 400 years ago: in wooden vessels with a filter bed made of juniper twigs. As they say in Finland, “Kippis!”
So now you know as much about Sahti as I do. But, let me continue with my review. This beer is wonderful. I would describe it as an amber ale, both in color and taste. It’s very malty, with no hops in the aroma or flavor. Obviously Samuel Adams didn’t filter this on a bed of juniper twigs, but they brewed it with and aged it on juniper berries, to (apparently) give it an authentic quality. I really like amber ales, but most of them are so malty sweet that I only want to have one and then move on to another style of beer. This Norse Legend did not leave me feeling like that (I don’t know that it’s even an amber ale, but it looks and tastes like it). I drank two glasses yesterday, and did not feel overwhelmed. It was DELICIOUS!!! I highly recommend this beer
13th Anniversary Ale (brewed by Stone Brewing): This is the 13th anniversary of Bottleworks, not Stone Brewing. Bottleworks commissioned Stone to brew their anniversary ale. It’s brewed with 13 different grains and 13 different hop varieties. This is unlike a typical Stone brewed beer. It’s very good, but not hoppy (as one would expect with a Stone ale). I would describe it as a sweet stout, in the tradition of an Imperial Russian Stout. It’s 11% ABV, but is easy drinking. The flavor is chocolatey, but no hint of coffee, as is typical of an IRS (no roasted barley in the grain bill). No bitterness, and no boozy taste. This is a very enjoyable beer. Obviously, with 13 different hop varieties, it’s got a lot of hops, but it is very well balanced, not overly sweet, and not overly hopped. I think it’s excellent, and would recommend it.
Both of these beers are limited release, so if you are interested (after reading these descriptions) you better purchase them pretty soon. There are limited quantities, and they are both excellent beers. They probably won’t be on the store shelves very long.