Pulse Brew: Sam Adams 26.2 is back

This is not going to be one of my typical beer reviews. It is going to be the first time I will speak of a beer twice in this column. At the end, I will tell you exactly why you should get this beer.

Every so often, an event occurs that is so engrained in our memory, we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about it. For older folks, the “Where were you?” question would be events like the Apollo 1 disaster, JFK’s assassination or Nixon resigning over Watergate. People my age constantly ask the “Where were you?” question about the Columbia and Challenger disasters, the OJ verdict or when President Reagan or John Lennon were shot. The Boston Marathon bombing is such an event.

I was driving when my phone rang. On the other end, the girl I was dating at the time was screaming frantically. She was at a bar drinking this very beer when the explosions went off close by. You can only get Sam Adams 26.2 at select locations, usually along the route of the marathon. She had to try it, as I had waxed poetic about its greatness and exclusivity. I was honored to be one of the few people to receive it in a bottle when it is only sold on tap. I did not share, so she went to the Boston Marathon to try it. She was more than a little upset I did not share my stash with her. Needless to say, we are no longer dating.

This year’s 26.2 is just as good as last year’s batch. Here is the review I wrote then:

Usually when I reach for a craft beer, I am looking for something heavy, dark and flavorful. But sometimes, that just doesn’t work, like when you’re mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, standing in front of the grill or if you just ran a marathon.

Samuel Adams recently released its 26.2 Boston Brew, which is a partnership with the Boston Athletic Association. The BAA organizes the Boston Marathon. This 4.5% ABV Gose-style ale is described as having “light cereal notes from malted and unmalted wheat, rounded out by a spicy, peppery character with a soft, mineral quality from a touch of salt. The result is an unusual and delicate brew that is full of flavors to discover … and worth crossing the finish line for.”

Here is my take:

Appearance: A golden, honey-colored ale with a short, dense head that disappears slowly. It leaves traces of foam (Belgian lace) along the glass as you drink it. That’s a sign of a well-made beer.
Aroma: A light citrus, spice and caramelized malt aroma ~ quite subdued and pleasant.
Taste: Tasted like it smelled. Well-carbonated for such a small head. Finish is smooth, with minimal citrus notes lingering in the background.
Mouthfeel: A smooth, light-bodied beer that’s easy to drink.
Overall: A flavorful, lighter beer that’s refreshing.

boston-strong-1What is different about this year’s edition, you ask? Sam Adams is donating all of the profits from the sale of this beer to the Greg Hill Foundation for the ongoing needs of the survivors and families of the victims of this tragedy. Sam Adams even hosted some of these families to help brew one of the batches of 26.2.

Jim Koch, the founder and brewer of Sam Adams, has always been a class act. I was fortunate to have met him once, and he is just a regular guy with a passion. He constantly goes out of his way to help people ~  whether it is helping out smaller breweries with ingredients during a recent hop shortage; starting the Brewing the American Dream program, which helps small breweries with financing; officiating marriages as a justice of the peace at his brewery; or this generous donation to the Greg Hill Foundation.

Now where can you get it? The locations can be found on blog.samueladams.com. 

By Kerry Cyganiewicz