Beer Review: Sam Adams Longshot – Grape Pale Ale

June 28, 2008

Sam Adams has had a home brewing contest the last couple of years, and at least one random person’s brew and one Sam Adams employee’s brew get bottled for sale. This is one of the 2007 winners, developed by Lili Hess, winner of the Samuel Adams employee homebrew competition.

According to the bottle, this beer is an ale brewed with natural grape flavor and maple syrup added. Lili Hess describes it this way: “It’s like you are drinking a pale ale after biting into a fresh green seedless grape.”

Here’s what I thought…

The Pour
I poured this into a good pilsner glass with a little trepidation. I was afraid it would taste like grape jelly or be overly sweet. It pours with a loose thick head and a light golden coppery hue. The carbonation looks minimal and minimal lacing is left on the glass as the head dissipates.

The Nose
This smells like a nice hoppy pale ale. There is a slight sweetness to the nose coming from the maple syrup. This smells clean and fresh, but doesn’t have an exceptional nose. Good, but not exceptional.

The Taste
This has a good pale ale flavor. There are nice crisp hops but it’s a little sweeter than a typical pale ale, not dry or bitter. You can taste the green grape in the background and it really is nice. The maple syrup also starts coming through on the finish but it’s pretty subtle, so it’s not cloying. Good depth of flavor profiles here. It’s a light bodied brew and is crisp and clean. There is medium carbonation and a very clean finish.

It would be a very drinkable pale ale without the grape and maple syrup, but the added complexity and depth that come with the added flavors make it a standout among this type of beer. This is, I think, a pale ale to be savored more slowly than the usual pale ale. It could be a good session beer but it also is worth sipping and noticing in order to enjoy the interesting flavors.

Recommended: Yes, I would recommend this to any fan of pale ale looking for something new and interesting.

Price: I paid $8 for a 6-pack of this and the Weizenbock (the other winner) at a charity auction.

ABV: Unknown


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