Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
My beer pick today is obvious. I make no apologies, as it's the flagship style from the dominant craft brand in the Boston region, but it doesn't exactly take a wide swath of beer knowledge to come up with this one.
Of course, given the destination this week, I'm going to talk about Boston Brewing. Was there ever a doubt? Their ubiquitous macro-micro brew, Sam Adams Boston Lager, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.
'Sam' may not really have been the first craft beer to be widely distributed, but it was the one that unofficially kicked-off the beer-splosion of the last decade and a half. When the local bar finally started to expand their selection back in the late 90s, it was with Sam. When your uncle finally went off the Coors train for the first time, it was with Sam. In many ways, the current market owes a lot to the 'Brewer and Patriot' brand, as the first intrusion of Sam Adams onto shelves made it seem cool and edgy to leave the macros behind.
If you haven't had one of these in a while, let me tell you, it tastes exactly the same as you remember. It's a classic take on a Vienna Style Lager, with a roasted malt taste, and a small dash of hops for bittering. That's not to say that this classic take on craft beer is bad - in fact, I generally like it, and remember it fondly for being the first beer that I took to AFTER TURNING 21 - just that, in a world of seemingly endless beer choice, Sam seems old and tired. Like a worn shoe that still fits well, but has a little funk to it, and that you'd rather not wear out in public. That edge and cool is gone, replaced by familiarity and corporate magnitude. Shame, that.
Personally, I find their latest round of commercials hilarious - where 'unsuspecting' customers are given some Boston Lager, and react in surprise when they learn that it's actually that same beer that's been around since 1985 - as if anyone who would participate in that sort of taste test wouldn't immediate know Sam when it hits their tongue. Seriously, if you've been drinking beer for any length of time, I guarantee you that you've had one of these at some point. Maybe you were too drunk to remember, but you have... which is kind of the problem.
You can find Boston Lager EVERYWHERE. If you can't find Sam, or one of the other bazillion varietals associated with the brand, you just aren't trying hard enough. Have some on Saturday, why not, and remember the days before the endless aisles of choice that we now take for granted.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Minutemen!