Monday, 30 November 2009 10:02

Sam Adams Longshot Variety Pack

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Sam Adams Variety Pack

Beginning in April, 2010, the LongShot variety six pack will be in stores and will feature an old ale, barleywine and a saison, brewed by homebrewers - not a brewery.

This is an American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned homebrewing competition in which the grand champion winners get to work with Boston beer to scale up their recipes for a commercial release in a commemorative Samuel Adams 6-pack.  Each year, two winners are announced at the Great American Beer Festival, along with a winner from a separate Samuel Adams employees' competition.

Look for Jeremy White’s Lemon Pepper Saison, Ben Miller's Mile High Barley Wine and Michael Robinson's old ale.

The competition started back in 1996 with just a couple hundred entries and has grown to more than 1,300 homebrewer entries nationwide. Four finalists are chosen with two of those beers going on to be commercially developed and sold nationwide. The competition also included a separate employee-only segment that selected one winner from nearly 300 entries submitted by the Boston Beer Company’s non-brewing staff.

Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company spoke to Captains Beer Blog, “The diversity of beers at the Great American Beer Festival is mindblowing, and many of these styles are a direct result of homebrewers developing these beers in their garages and on their stove tops,” said Koch. “This competition is our way of celebrating these pioneers, and reminding everyone that the roots of the U.S. craft beer industry are in homebrewing.”

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included Jason and Todd Alstrom of Beer Advocate, Jaw Brooks from Celebrator Beer News and Jim Koch.

Jeremy White works for Boston Beer Company in the IT department, when he's not brewing his own beer. His saison is  nicely balanced with hints of citrus and pepper, and a light malt character. The label describes it as: “Pale in appearance, this ale is light-bodied and effervescent with an interesting combination of both fruity flavors. The initial sweetness of vanilla and citrus notes from the fresh lemon peel is followed by the spiciness from the grains of paradise. The finish is slightly tart yet refreshing.” 6.4% ABV.

The old ale was brewed by Michael Robinson of New Hampshire. Coming in at 9% alcohol by volume, it's described as a matly English-style brew with notes of dried fruit, nuts and caramel. The label describes the beer as: “Brewed with a blend of five malts and American hops, this well balanced English-style Old Ale has fruit and raisin notes with a hint of caramel in the finish. Full-bodied and slightly sweet, this brew is the perfect ending to a fine meal or to enjoy on a cool evening.”

Ben Miller of New Mexico won for his 12% Mile High Barley Wine. It is brewed using several varieties of citrusy American hops, balanced by a caramel malt flavor.  Miller became the first to win both the GABF Pro-Am Competition and the Samuel Adams LongShot competition in the same year since LongShot started in 2006. A member of the popular homebrewing clan called “The BN Army”, Miller entered five beers into the contest, but this one stood out. When he's not brewing beer, Miller is repairing computers in the Albuquerque area.  Though the version he entered was 12% ABV, the one making it into bottles will be tamed down to 9.8%.  Label description: “Ben brewed this ale to mark his 100th batch of homebrew. The beer is rich and malty, with a hint of caramel and plum. Brewed with citrusy American hops and a blend of six varieties of malt, the sweet and dark fruit notes in this beer linger on the palate.”

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