Samuel Adams Norse Legend Sahti, Cincinnati, Oh
Date: February 4, 2019
The Story— Samuel Adams would love you to think that the Sam you’re drinking was brewed in Boston. It’s not. The showpiece brewery in Boston is a tiny brewhouse the brewery picked up from one of the first (and best) craft breweries in the East — Albany’s Newman’s Brewery. It does turn out beers and, we think, allows them to play with some ideas for the big facilities, but the beer in your hand (or tap) comes from Cincinnati or Breinigsville, Pa.
Breinigsville is the major production facility — the Samuel Adams Lager you’re drinking almost certainly came from there, but most of the lower volume specialty beers come from the former Hudepohl-Schoengling brewery in Cincinnati. There’s a wonderful irony — the founder of Samuel Adams, Jim Koch’s father worked in the brewery at one time.
Samuel Adams (Boston) bought the beer and for a while continued to produce the Cincinnati beers for a while, but dropped them to focus on their own brands. (Hudepohl-Schoengling are still produced as small volume beers from a revived Christian Morlein Cincinnati brewery.) The brewery was a big move for Samuel Adams at the time, but it’s a shadow of their Pennsylvania operation. Which is fine if you like crafted beers because the Samuel Adams barrel series is some of the best beer they’ve ever produced.
The Beer— Samuel Adams Norse Legend ages remarkably well. After five years it shows no sign of deterioration and it seems to have picked up a bit of sweetness and a deeper juniper. Our problem with the beer at the time was that it seemed restrained for the style, but it’s come into its own in five years. We’ll have another of their barrel craft beers later in this series.
Value — Very good — if you’ve got the cellar space.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
In February, we’re digging into our legendary “vault” where we’ve been storing hundreds of bottles of beer waiting for the right time to taste them (or sell them for charity). The charity market has slowed, so we’re working through them in front of a fire and finding some disappointments, but more very surprising delights.
>>>We’re often asked to share our tasting notes on over 33,000 beers; this blog is in answer to those requests. Not all our notes, though. The great beer writer Michael Jackson admirably followed the Thumper Rule, and we’ll try to do the same. (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”) All the beers we post are from the top half of our ratings and most are from the top quarter. Of greater value, we think, are the stories behind the beers, and we try to give you enough about the brewery, the style and the places to find great beer to help you on your own beer journeys. At CulturAle Press we try to write books and publish posts that will help you “Drink Well and Travel Safely.”