New Sam Adams entrant for next yr in line with a bunch of much-discussed trends these days: cans (see above), sessionability, hop flavor instead of bitterness. Sam ’76 coming early next yr in 6- and 12-pks of 12oz cans and single-serve 16oz cans, Boston Beer shared this morning during media brunch at GABF. Sam Adams calls out beer as a “crisp & refreshing lager” on cans, but beer actually made with a blend of lager and ale yeasts. Clocking in at 4.7% ABV, the bright, golden lager focused squarely on balancing hints of fruity esters from ale yeast, blend of classic and new hops du jour (mostly employed for flavor and very little bitterness) and “a light-bodied refreshing crispness.”
Sam ’76 doesn’t slap drinkers in the face or call too much attention to itself. Instead, it fits in with session craft launches over last few years. But unlike other Sam mainstays that may fit similar bill, like Boston Lager, Sam ’76’s use of Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Galaxy hops alongside classic Cascade clearly establishes it in modern craft brewing era. Interestingly, though these hops clearly a key piece of the beer’s flavor, can artwork doesn’t reflect that, certainly in the way Sam’s Rebel brands have. Instead, cans riff on its namesake patriotism, featuring light blue star emblazoned with “1776” and white ribbon with scripted “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” If craft is playing more in the mainstream these days, Sam ’76 certainly seeks to play too.