Highlights The Samuel Adams 2016 Winter Classic Variety Pack (New Hopflake & Ginger Beer)

imageEvery year in early December we start thinking about Christmas gifts.  Our thoughts turn to that jolly old elf that we know and love and we can’t help but dream about the holiday cheer he’ll soon be bringing.  Of course that “jolly old elf” is our pal Jim Koch and the “holiday cheer” once again arrives in the form of the 2016 Samuel Adams Winter Classic Variety Pack.

Each year Samuel Adams loads this variety “sleigh” with something old, something new, and some classic Samuel Adams seasonal beers; making it the perfect variety pack to share as a gift or at a holiday party.  The Samuel Adams Winter Classic Variety Pack includes something for everyone, and for 2016 it includes:  Hopflake White IPA (new), Ginger Beer (new), Boston Lager, Winter Lager, Chocolate Bock and Old Fezziwig.
First off you have to check out the photos and see how cool and eye-catching the new Samuel Adams packaging is.  Whether it’s in in the bottle shop cooler or even in your own ‘fridge, these labels will get your attention.

We’ve samples several of these beers before so we’ll first highlight the new brews and then remind you how much we enjoy the returning favorites.
Up first we circled the wagons around the new Hopflake White IPA.  This new IPA is actually a wheat-IPA brewed with Lemongrass.  Hopflake pours a light straw color and while the aromas lead with lemon, there are some really nice punches of grapefruit and herbs that follow.  We found some sweet honey and bread-crust flavors early followed by some lemony, citrusy, herbal and even resinous flavors to follow.  The beer finishes with some resinous pine flavors, but the grapefruit, lemon and orange cut nicely through it to create a well balanced and hoppy IPA.  Hopflake White IPA hits 6%-AbV and 55 IBU and we found it to be very drinkable and refreshing.
Next we broke into the new Ginger Beer.  If you guessed this beer is brewed with ginger, you’d be right, but it’s also brewed with lime peel and Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops.  Ginger Beer pours a bright and deep golden color with aromas of ginger and citrus.  The flavors begin with citrus, lemon and lime, and you can’t miss the ginger puree on board, especially at the end.  The body was lighter than I expected and the ginger and spice flavors lasted late into the finishing flavors.  Ginger Beer finishes clean and crisp and a bit dry, but the really bright finish also makes it very drinkable.  This beer hits 6%-AbV and 18 IBU.
We next moved on to a seasonal favorite of mine, Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock.  This beer remains a really nice chocolatey-sweet treat brewed with a proprietary blend of cocoa nibs from Ghana, Ecuador and Madagascar, and I really enjoyed the flavor combination once again.  Chocolate Bock hits 5.8%-AbV and 11 IBU, and I think the new packaging really suits what this beer has always been about for me….Chocolate!
Old Fezziwig returns each year as a gentle reminder for me to start baking my Christmas cookies.  This Christmas cookie-inspired beer is brewed with orange peel, ginger and cinnamon and it remains one of my favorite aromatic beers from Samuel Adams.  Old Fezziwig returns at 5.9%-AbV and 25 IBU and once again I think the new label looks great, although I admit I’d like to see actual Christmas cookies ON the label.
Finally we sampled Samuel Adams Winter Lager.  This spiced wheat bock has winter written all over it, and while the orange peel, ginger and Southeast Asian cinnamon really shine, the combination of malts Samuel Adams uses really steals the show.  This malty brew is balanced out by the use of lager yeast and citrusy hops and it finishes clean and slightly sweet.  Winter Lager remains at 5.6%-AbV and 22 IBU…and yes the Christmas tree on the new label looks great.
2016 Samuel Adams Winter Classic Variety Pack has a really nice variety of new and returning beers, but more importantly, your friends and family will all find something to like in the pack.  Whether it’s the familiar Boston Lager or the new Hopflake White IPA, this variety pack will be the perfect pack to bring to any holiday party.  So get out there and try all of these beers for yourself…and when you do, be sure to let us know what YOU think.

About Bil Cord

Founder, owner, author, graphic designer, CEO, CFO, webmaster, president, mechanic and janitor for Producer and Co-host of the WILK Friday BeerBuzz live weekly craft beer radio show. Small craft-brewer of the craft beer news sites and one-man-band with way too many instruments to play.

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