I’m reviving a Boa Beer Blog tradition – the mixed 12-pack taste-off. As I dive into the fall beer-drinking season, I’m pitting the Sam Adams Fall Variety pack against the Sierra Nevada Fall Pack on a pleasant September afternoon in the Boa Beer Blog biergarten. Both 12-packs have three bottles of four different beers, with styles similar enough for a series of one-on-one battles. Here we go…
1. The Flagships: Sam Adams Boston Lager vs. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
There’s a good reason these are the flagship brews of each brewery – these brews are eminently drinkable. I could easily drink either of these beers for the rest of the afternoon. Whenever I’m at a restaurant that doesn’t have a good beer selection, I can always count on Sam Adams Boston Lager or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale being on the menu. It’s too difficult to choose between the two, so Round 1 is a tie.
2. The Fall Seasonals: Sam Adams Octoberfest vs. Sierra Nevada Tumbler
A fall mix-pack should include a Fest beer, and I’m disappointed with Sierra Nevada for not including their Oktoberfest in their Fall mix-pack. So this match-up pits Sam’s Fest vs. Sierra’s Tumbler, an Autumn Brown Ale. I like the smooth Tumbler, but I have to give the edge to the Sam Adams Octoberfest, a solid interpretation of the style. Halfway through the tasting, Sam takes the lead 1.5 – 0.5.
3. The Hoppy Reds: Sam Adams Hoppy Red vs. Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA
Both 12-packs offered their version of a hoppy Red Ale, and it’s too tough to pick a favorite here. Sierra Nevada’s Flipside features tropical fruit and citrus hop flavors from the use of Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops, while Sam Adams Hoppy Red brings a spicy and piney character inspired by Australian hops. After a full bottle of each, I’m calling it a tie. Sam still leads 2.0 – 1.0.
4. The Wild Cards: Sam Adams Pumpkin Batch vs. Sierra Nevada Vienna Lager
The fourth match-up of this 12-pack features two completely different styles. I appreciate Sam Adams including a pumpkin brew in their Fall Pack, but I preferred the smooth, easy-drinking Amber Lager from Sierra Nevada.
So after four rounds, we have a tie:
Sam Adams Fall Variety: 2.0
Sierra Nevada Fall Pack: 2.0