Sam Adam’s Light

First, I’m a huge beer drinker. There’s a good chance that if a bar has fifty taps I’ll have tried them all, and if not, I’m going to start down the list.

Second, I’m not a beer snob. When I had money, I loved my Deschutes beers, and Anchor Steam is my favorite beer, but I’m happy to crack open a can of Budweiser at a barbecue or have an MGD with my father-in-law, who only buys Miller.

This is a valuable trait: I’ve been unemployed since July to write the book. I’ve been shopping off the right-hand side of the beer aisle for a long time. If I could only buy the most expensive beers, I’d have gone insane.

Anyway. I always used to make fun of Samuel Adams, because:
– they pretend to be a microbrew but really, they’re brewed by the same regional breweries turning out Mickey’s and all the other huge brands
– they advertise like crazy, and I distrust brands with huge marketing budgets
– their advertising annoys me

But at a really great party, they had Sam Adams Light handy, and a sucker for trying new beers, I tried it. It’s easily the best light beer I’ve ever had. It’s tasty, balanced, drinkable, and if I hadn’t looked at the label, I wouldn’t have suspected it was a light beer at all. I liked it.

Which meant that all of their advertising for it, which I hate, was totally, entirely, correct.

Crow, as it turns out, tastes pretty good paired with Sam Adams Light.

8 thoughts on “Sam Adam’s Light

  1. Scraps

    That’s really funny. I too am a beer omnivore — Liberty Ale is my favorite beer, but Budweiser is an excellent example of the kind of beer it is (“Yeah, shit beer!” I hear friends of mine retort) and I happily drink Carlsberg or Schaefer at the local barbecue.

    And I’ve always been annoyed at Sam Adams — Pete’s Wicked Ale, too — for being a fake microbrew (back when I lived in Seattle, that position was held down by Henry Weinhard’s — and they had great advertising, not annoying — but I get the sense that the microborew revolution knocked them out of the market, which is what happened to New Amsterdam here in New York). Where was I? Oh yeah — and yesterday I had a Sam Adams because it was the only beer on tap, and it was pretty good. Oh well.

    I’m kinda fascinated by the beer business and marketing since I copyedited a book on it (by a guy who was also a microbrew enthusiast who still had good things to say about Bud). It’s weird how susceptible we are to marketing, even those of us who react against it. I know people who sneer at Red Hook and Widmer now that Anheuser Busch has got them distributed everywhere, but the beer’s still good. And I’d like to read a story about how Pabst Blue Ribbon managed to move themselves from being just another shit beer to being beloved of hipsters. How the hell did that happen?

  2. DMZ

    PBR’s turnaround is a really interesting story, as it turns out – they don’t do any traditional advertising, but they do music/event sponsorships.

    For a long time, in certain hipster bars I’d wander into sometimes, I’d find 7 micro/import taps and then PBR for half the price. It was there for irony, I guess, but that’s not a bad place to be.

    The PBR people like to attribute their resurgence to their fine flavors (and among cheap beers, it’s fine) and how kids remember their dads drinking it or whatever, but I don’t think that’s true. I think it has a lot more to do with happenstance and their good choices in finding ways to appeal to hipsters by picking good events to sponsor over putting ads on TV.

  3. DMZ

    I should admit that at this point, I have a ton of PBR in my fridge because it was on a frankly ridiculous discount at the store yesterday. Mmm.

  4. Scraps

    Thanks for the info.

    I’ll happily drink PBR if it’s, say, three dollars a can in a Brooklyn bar. (Though a little less happily now that one risks looking like an ignorant hipster.) But I’ll drink Schaefer, Lucky, Old Milwaukee, Schlitz, whatever. I draw the line at the horrid high-alcohol cheapass Get Drunk Quick concoctions like Midnight Dragon (now I’m remembering Phil Hartman’s News Radio character dead drunk on “Rocket Fuel”).

  5. Scraps

    As for my dad, when I was a kid he drank Rainier, and when the microbrews started happening he gave me a bit of a hard time for preferring them. I went away for a few years, and when I returned his refrigerator was stocked with Red Hook and Pyramid, and he insisted he had never resisted them.

    I miss Pyramid, and Grant’s. For a while I could find Pyramid taps out here, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in some time. Grant’s, almost never.

  6. Fnarf

    I used to think that all “lawnmower beer” was the same, but a friend of mine convinced me otherwise with taste testing. He was able to instantly pick out Budweiser from glasses of six different cheap light American-style beers. He also instantly identified MGD, which he absolutely hates and won’t drink, because it’s too sweet and “tastes milky”, which is lactose, or milk sugar. PBR is also sweet and horrible. Bud’s very good. Freshness really does matter with a beer like this, maybe even more than with the good stuff. Miller High Life is good.

  7. PositivePaul

    I, too, have been searching for a good light beer, and I’m probably a bit more of a beer snob, since I won’t drink Bud/MGD/PBR, etc (with the exception of the occasional Oly cans, which, when completely cold, are very decent as lawnmowing beer). I finally settled on Henry’s Amber Light. Brewed in Hood River, at the Full Sail brewery, it’s an EXCELLENT light beer that’s cheap enough.

  8. NewEnglandRob

    Well I have to say that I, too, was a snob towards Sam Adams until last october, when I went to their Octoberfest. It was an eye opening experience. I feel that their Octoberfest is one of the greatest domestic beers in existance. I also live in the Boston area, so it is possible that the New England Shipments of Sam’s still have that lovely Microbrew Taste that they so adimately claim to have. By the way, I am a big Anchor Steam Beer drinking, and pick it up whenever I get the Chance, but it’s waaayyy expensive on the East Coast – What’s it look like for a six pack out there? Cheers!

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