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Brew Review: Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic

2010 April 9

Brewery: Boston Beer Company Boston, MA

Style: Fruit Beer

ABV: 5.9%

Served in pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Purchased at supermarket at $12.99 for their seasonal mixed 12-pack.

Sam has often been hailed as the retroactive godfather to the now quarter-century old craft beer revolution. And in some respects, it is deserved. I believe they are still the only brewery that has bridged the gap between the mainstream and niche beer cultures, and kept the integrity of their product. But their success, while widespread, is not uniform.

This “lambic” (more on this later) pours a thick, cloudy coppery red. This isn’t much crown to speak of, though considering other reviews I’ve read of this beer, that may be unique to this bottle. Aroma is heavy on the fruit punch, light on ale. The sweet, harsh acidity on this nose is more reminiscent of a flavored malt beverage than something out of a brown bottle. Taste is juicy, thin, and overly sweet. Finishes with a whimper.

The body of work Sam has produced over the years keeps my opinion of them high in spite of this beer. That said, my respect for them doesn’t extend far enough to curve my grading scale in their favor. This is not a true lambic, a style which is known for its tangy apple and berry overtones caused by a special strain of bacteria during the fermentation process. No fruit is actually involved, unlike Sam’s Cranberry Lambic. This is akin to a mediocre wheat ale mixed half-and-half with store brand fruit juice. Like someone tried to spike a punch bowl, but forgot to buy hard liquor. Avoid. D

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