Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the beers discussed here were provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.
Recognized beer brewer Samuel Adams has been producing its seasonal beers since 1998. The brewery sent two of its latest seasonal beers our way earlier this month to remind us that Winter’s chill won’t last forever. Spring will be here before we know it, and bearing that in mind, the box that came to us offered up two tastes that, while distinct in style, work well individually as a selection that embodies the coming transition from cold to warm weather. For this review we received one 12 oz. bottle of Samuel Adams Hopscape, a wheat ale that debuted this month and one of Samuel Adams Fresh As Helles, a lager due out this March.
Made using four varieties of hops, the full-bodied Samuel Adams Hopscape pours gold-amber in color and gives up a foamy head of fine bubbles. Woven into its aromatics of resin and floral notes are quiet suggestions of honey. A grassy, herbal bitterness runs through this 5.5% abv beer on first taste, delivering pleasing added depth to its flavor. Its texture carries a marked creaminess that, along with hints of fragrant forest growth and a spicy, ephemeral black pepper note on aftertaste, conjures images of brisk Winter temperatures and fresh snowfall. The honey emerges a moment after it touches the palate, like sunlight heralding a Spring thaw, bringing with it suggestions of toast that recall the bitterness and harmonize with this beer’s wintry aspects to create a pronounced finish that lasts.
Samuel Adams Fresh as Helles is a medium-bodied gold pour with a creamy head and citrus and floral character leading its nose. Crisp and light on the tongue, faint tastes of oranges and flowers in bloom as well as a drizzle of honey join its malted flavor aspect, creating a lively brew that feels well-suited to welcoming Spring warmth with a picnic or backyard grill session. A refreshing and energetic 5.4% abv beer, Fresh As Helles is brewed with Mandarina hops and orange bossom petals, the one-two punch to which it owes much of its roundness and the smoothness of its finish. On that latter note, this beer’s finish is a bit quieter than the bolder, more vociferous Hopscape, but comparable in terms of lasting effect, and carries the same echoes of citrus and floral essences first found in its aroma.
Samuel Adams Hopscape is available nationwide from January through February 2017, with Samuel Adams Fresh as Helles available nationwide from March through April 2017. Both brews will be available in six-packs for a suggested retail price of $7.99-$9.99. To find out where to buy these and other Samuel Adams beers near you, visit www.samueladams.com/find-a-sam.
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.
[Top image: Anthony Beal / FlavorfulWorld.com]