Beer Review 0120: Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier

It has been a while since we’ve looked at a beer from the massive Samuel Adams cannon. I last reviewed some Boston Beer Company beverages near Christmas, when the Winter sampler pack was out. The beer reviewed today, Blackberry Witbier, is a year-round offering brewed with Oregon Marion blackberries, orange peel, and other spices that compliment malted wheat.

The blackberries used in this beer are selected from family farms located at the foot of the Oregon Trail and Cascade Mountains in Western Oregon. Supposedly, the blackberries from this part of the country were selected by Sam Adams because they offer balance in flavor without being overpowering.

The pour showed an average size head, creamy in texture and complete with very tight, almost foamy bubbles. The color was a vibrant golden yellow, slightly cloudy but free of particles or sediment. There was just a smidgen of lacing left behind as I drank; really, nothing to write about. This is a nice looking beer, very reminiscent of summer in a glass.

On the nose, this Witbier definitely showcased the blackberry component front and center, with a sweet, candy-like aroma that almost went into artificially sweetened fruit juice territory. Under the fruit, there was a nice backbone of grain/wheat to be found. A pleasant aroma, especially if you like blackberries. It did fade to nearly nothing as the drink warmed.

And on the palate, we get pretty much the same report as the aromatics. There’s a slightly bitter blackberry up front, cut by a grainy middle, complete with a hit from the carbonation that isn’t too aggressive, but it does get your attention. Then the finish takes over with a very sweet, almost tangy berry. The mouthfeel was thin and light, but the sweetness was played to the hilt, leaving my lips sticky.

Although Samuel Adams says this beer is brewed with orange peel and other traditional witbier spices, I never detected any of that.

Honestly, I was not expecting this beer to be as good as it actually was. Don’t get me wrong — this probably isn’t anything I would seek out on a regular basis, but this is a good change of pace beer. I could see myself going for this after a string of IPAs, or maybe a couple of stouts, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And this would be perfect for that hot summer day when you want a liquid dessert instead of a heavy piece of cake or slice of pie. Blackberry detractors be warned: if you have no use for that particular berry, stay away.

Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier, 83 points. Price: Free to me as a gift, but I’m sure this comes in six packs for about $8.99.


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