Boston Brewing Company is best known for their reliably quaffable Sam Adams Boston Lager. With a one-half of one percent share of the domestic market, they are small fries compared to the likes of Budweiser or Miller. But in terms of craft brewers, they are the big kid on the block. While their regular line up keeps their cash flow positive, it's the specialty offerings that founder and brewer Jim Koch comes up with that keep things interesting. His Chocolate Bock is a holiday favorite, and for as a summer release, Boston Brewing has introduced the Patriot Collection.
Packaged with this line: "The birth of our nation involved many things: leadership, determination ... and beer," the collection retails for $9.99 and includes four different bottles based on recipes created by the founding fathers. The Traditional Ginger Honey Ale pays tribute to Thomas Jefferson, who brewed some 15 gallons of ginger brew biweekly. This version sports a slightly hazy straw-colored hue akin to Hefeweizen. Lightly floral notes backed by soft herbs just come through on a nose that's dominated by rich, spicy ginger. Things are a bit more subdued in the mouth with tangy ginger, honey and spice all balanced by a nice kiss of citrus on the finish.
The George Washington Porter offers dark espresso hues with a nicely frothy cream-colored head. Certainly more robust than the ginger ale, the flavors are dominated by heavily toasted malt. Light notes of toffee and chocolate add interest, but this one is a bit overwhelming given our current heat wave. If the James Madison Dark Wheat Ale is any indication, our fourth president had more reserved tastes than our first. A rich and earthy brown in color with a very persistent light tan head, it has a creamy mouth feel with a very clean finish and offers fresh wheat flavors with a slightly nutty component. Subtle undertones of spice and apple come through backed by a touch of smoke on the finish. This one makes you want another.
The 1790 Root Beer Brew honors Sam Adams, the brewery's namesake. This cloudy copper-colored beer reminded me of the sassafras tea my grandmother use to brew, but with bit of a kick. Flavors of licorice, vanilla and molasses come through, and at 5 percent alcohol, it's definitely not for kids. It's an interesting concoction that, like the other three, is worth trying at least once.