Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sam Adams' Summer Ale - or is it Ail?

Tonight, we stopped by the Conewago Inn in Manchester, PA.  We always enjoy the ambiance and tasty food, and of course, I look forward to a pint of frothy brew.  I was just in time to try Sam Adams's seasonal Summer Ale.
Image courtesy of 
The golden-colored liquid had very little head and looked to be a refreshing beer.  Scents of zesty lemon wafted up from the glass of this 5.3% ABV wheat ale.  Upon first sip, Summer Ale was a real taste-pleaser.  The citrus combined well with the spicy Grains of Paradise to produce a flavorful sensation.  After savoring its essence in my mouth, I swallowed - and that's when it hit.  The spice-and-citrus mixture left a grapefruit aftertaste.  There are those who like grapefruit, and then there is me.  The sour suggestion didn't leave until I washed it down with some water.

While I choose not to partake of this particular draught again, I would recommend it to anyone that has a predilection for grapefruit.  I was disappointed by Summer Ale, but Sam Adams has a good selection of some other, fairly palatable pilseners and beers.  Prost!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shock Top - A Beer with a Twist (of Orange, Lemon, and Lime)

We visited Coakley's Restaurant and Irish Pub in New Cumberland, PA this weekend and had quite an enjoyable dining experience on their sidewalk cafe.  I was in the mood to try a new beer with an intriguing-sounding name, and "Shock Top" fit the bill.  Little did I know what was in store for my taste buds!

When the waitress delivered my Shock Top, I admit that my expectations were low because there was an orange slice on the glass (the nerve!).  This is the very reason that I've always shied away from ordering a Blue Moon - you serve orange slices with fruity beverages with even fruiter names, not beer!  At any rate, I decided to keep an open mind, and I'm glad I did.

The yellow-gold-colored beer had a light, frothy head and a mouthwatering aroma reminiscent of a fruit basket.  When the first sip of brew hit my tongue, I immediately understood where this drink got its name.  The flavor shocked my taste buds with orange, lemon, and lime.  As I washed it down, I was left feeling refreshed.  This Belgian-style wheat ale is low on the bitterness ("hoppiness") and has plenty of flavor to go around.  The quaffable libation really hit the spot on a warm day.

My First "Shock Top" at Coakley's Sidewalk Cafe

I was surprised to find that Shock Top is brewed by Anheuser-Busch.  I tend to overlook mega-breweries when I'm searching for a new great-tasting beer.  I feel like they are all about production and not so interested in creating innovative, flavorful varieties of beer.  Thank you, Anheuser-Busch, for making me drink my words.  I'll be back for more.  Prost!