A Holiday Chocolate Box for the Craft Beer Lover

Most of us here at the brewery know what a great pairing beer and chocolate can be (as we’ve alluded to before), but we thought it would come as a surprise to others who might think of wine as THE traditional pairing. So to prove our point, we came together with our friends at TCHO (pronounced “choh”) to design the Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box, a gift box that pairs a premium chocolate style with brews from our Winter Classics Variety Pack. (Who wouldn’t want to find this combo in their stocking?)

Truly the best of both worlds.

TCHO is an artisanal craft chocolate maker in San Francisco. They take their chocolate as seriously as we take our beer, so we jumped at the chance to work with them. TCHO’s Chief Chocolate Maker Brad Kintzer and I sat down to taste, discuss and thoughtfully pair our beers with their wide variety of chocolates. Read More

Taco Tuesday featuring Wee Heavy!

After a month apart, we’ve come together again with a local Boston food truck, Pennypackers Food Truck, to create a taco using one of our beers. Check out some of the great recipes they’ve created in the past.

While the temperature continues to drop here in New England, this month we gave the guys our Wee Heavy, a big beer inspired by both traditional Scotch ales and Scotch whiskies. Pennypackers decided to match the distinct deep roasted flavor and earthy smoke character with braised short ribs to create a delicious contrast.

Samuel Adams Wee Heavy is a complex beer with huge maltiness and peaty smoke from specially smoked Scottish malt. Using the Wee Heavy as a base for a sauce based on a traditional Mole was a bold move but one that paid off. The peat smoke and malt sweetness were a great canvas for all of the complex spice and chile flavors used in braising the short rib; with an earthy finish from the chocolate that perfectly matched the beef. Cooked all day until fork tender, these short ribs showed off all of these complexities while keeping their big beefy flavor. Wrapped in a warm tortilla with earthy Cojita cheese and the snap of fresh cilantro and pickled onions; these were perfect for today’s cold and rainy weather.

Given that not all Sam fans can get to Boston to enjoy these in person, Pennypackers once again was kind enough to pass along the recipe and simple cooking instructions for you to experiment and create your own.

Cheers and enjoy!


Samuel Adams Wee Heavy Chocolate and Chili Braised Short Rib Tacos


  • Samuel Adams Wee Heavy Scotch Ale (Find it here)
  • 4 to 5 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 10 dried guajillo chili peppers
  • 1 habanero
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

    To create our own unique style of Wee Heavy, we added peat smoked malt to bring the unique flavor of Scotland to this complex and satisfying brew.

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 quart red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cotija
  • cilantro
  • taco shells



For the short ribs

1)     Start by stemming and seeding the guajillos. Then soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes.

2)     Clean any excess fat off of the short ribs, and season with salt and pepper. In a hot sauté pan, sear each side of the short ribs. After they’re seared, transfer them to a deep casserole dish with the sprigs of thyme.

3)     After 30 minutes, put the guajillos in a blender with the habanero (whole, with seeds), cumin, chili powder and cider vinegar. Add two cups of the water the chilis were soaking in, and purée. Put this in a pot and warm on the stove. Add the chocolate and allow melting. Whisk together and pour this mixture over the short ribs.

4)     Cover the short ribs with Samuel Adams Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, until fully submerged.  Cover with aluminum foil, and cook in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours, until very tender.

5)     When they’re done, pull the short ribs out of the liquid, and shred. Strain the cooking liquid into a pot, skim the fat off the top, and reduce by half (or more). Mix back in with the short ribs, and re-season with salt and pepper. Hold warm until ready to serve.

For the pickled onions

1)     In a pot, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil on the stove.

2)     Julienne the yellow onion, and put in the boiling vinegar. After adding the onions, allow the liquid to come back up to a boil, and immediately turn off and cool.

To serve

Grill or warm tortillas, add some short rib, crumble a little cotija over it, put on some if the pickled onions, and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.

Craft Beer vs. Red Wine

More and more, drinkers are appreciating craft beer in the same way they would a fine wine (i.e. smelling, tasting and proper pouring). They’re expanding their palates to include full-flavored beers as an alternative to red wine – in cooking, food pairings and gifting. Craft beers, like red wine, are brewed with the finest quality ingredients, yet can be more accessible and approachable, making them a great pairing for many foods.

Below we have outlined two different suggestions for a craft beer versus red wine tasting experience you can try at home. With Thanksgiving coming up in a little over a week, we feel it’s a perfect time to see why craft beer deserves a seat at the dinner table.  We’re not the only ones either… take a look at what Black Book magazine has to say about craft beer pairing with “fancy foods.” 

For comparing how craft beer and red wine complement beef, check out our suggestions to get you started:

  • BEEF: Order a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cut Tasting Package from our friends at Robinson’s Prime Reserve. You can enter the code SAMADAMS in step one of the checkout process for a 30% discount on your order.
  • RED WINE: Select a medium-to-full bodied Cabernet.  NYC Beer & Wine Sommelier, Gianni Cavicchi, suggests Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California, 2009.
  • CRAFT BEER: Pick up a 6-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

You may notice the upfront malt flavor in our Boston Lager matches the caramelized flavors of the meat, and its hoppy finish cuts through the richness to prepare the palate for the next bite. We enjoy Boston Lager’s lighter and less viscous appeal on the palate in comparison to the Cabernet, which creates a more delicate pairing and allows the flavors to echo the long finishes of both the meat and the beer.

Now move away from a savory piece of beef and try a sweeter dish like chocolate. To get you started with your comparison:

  • CHOCOLATE: Order TCHO PureNotes™ Dark Chocolate 70%, available online at TCHO.
  • RED WINE: Select a dry, medium-bodied Zinfandel. NYC Beer & Wine Sommelier, Gianni Cavicchi, suggests Bonterra Zinfandel from Mendocino County, California, 2009.
  • CRAFT BEER: Stick with our Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

When pairing chocolate and beer, rich sweet malt flavors are your friend. It’s this flavor, along with a subtle bitterness from the Noble Hops, that makes  Boston Lager a great pairing for chocolate. Beers carbonation can also lighten heavier chocolates and cleanses the palate between bites. Dark chocolate’s intense flavor can actually overpower wine, creating a lack of balance with wine’s acidity.

Where do you stand on craft beer vs. wine for special food pairings like beef and chocolate?  

Latitude 48’s ‘Hop Belt’ Gets another Notch

Like any true craftsman, brewers never stop working at perfecting their craft. No matter how delicious a particular beer might be, a brewer will take each sip with the thought of “what could I do to make this brew even better?”

This brings us to our latest release of Latitude 48 IPA.

In furthering our experimental brewing process around India Pale Ale style, we’ve been experimenting with different hop styles over the past year and have decided to add Mosaic hops to the hop line-up in our Latitude 48 IPA. This newer style, from the Yakima, WA growing region, provided our brewers a floral and tropical fruit character and a fresh, unique flavor that we felt would be well received from Sam drinkers with a love for hop-forward brews.

Jim first encountered this unique hop style during one of his trips to the west coast back in the mid-2000’s and picked-out thirty pounds of the variety.  He first used Mosaic hops in the creation of our limited-edition beer, SAVOR Flowers, which was brewed in collaboration with Sam Calagione and our friends at Dogfish Head for the SAVOR Festival back in June of 2011. If you were at SAVOR or had a chance to try this one-time brew can attest to the great floral notes that Mosaic hops provides in a beer.

Our 2013 batch of Latitude 48 IPA is driven by the new Mosaic hop variety, which adds a fresh, unique flavor to this already-complex brew. Latitude 48 will stay true to its name, showcasing only hops from 48th latitude along the “hop belt” of the Northern Hemisphere which includes: Bavarian Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops for a citrus and spicy note, UK east Kent Goldings hops for an earthy and woody character, and US Simcoe and Zeus hops for piney, grapefruit flavors. An upfront sweetness will also will be present within Latitude 48 along with notes of honey and caramel from the malt, which nicely complement the complex hop character.

The 2013 release of Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA will roll out in February and will be available in 6-packs and 12-packs nationwide.