As a brewer and self-proclaimed foodie, one of my favorite things to do is pair our beers with food and I know I’m not alone. In fact, many brewers have a theory about pairing IPAs with food: the bitterness in hops affects the heat in spicy food.
To celebrate IPA Day (Thursday, August 6), we put this theory to the test and I joined the awesome culinary professionals at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. to “study” this theory. My excitement level was off the charts to conduct an official sensory experiment with food experts. If tests at school had been this fun, I’d be back in a heartbeat!
We’re proud of an important benchmark we recently hit at Samuel Adams. This milestone isn’t directly tied to brewing, but it’s certainly beer related. We’re excited to share that 16 members of our Samuel Adams team were recently named Certified Cicerones® after passing a rigorous day-long exam. That puts us at over 100 employees that have passed, with 115 in total!
If you aren’t familiar with the Cicerone Certification Program, it is a program that seeks to ensure that beer drinkers receive the best quality beer possible by designating experts in the field who are well versed in five focus areas:
Beer Storage, Sales and Service
Beer Styles and Culture
Beer Tasting and Flavors
Brewing Ingredients and Processes
Pairing Beer with Food
Much like a sommelier is an expert in wine, Certified Cicerones® and Master Cicerones® are experts in beer who have to pass written and sampling exams to be labeled with this distinction.
Studying isn’t anything new for us though… training has been engrained in our culture from the earliest days of the brewery. Jim believes that the more you know and understand about beer, the more you’ll appreciate craft beer. This passion for beer is why we have robust beer and brewing training programs for our employees (yes – even for the folks in finance and IT) including specific Cicerone Certification Program trainings.
All new employees at Boston Beer, no matter what their role is, start their careers off with a week-long intensive orientation program focused on everything from beer ingredients, the brewing process, beer styles, identifying “off favors” in beer and the reasons why, and even pairing foods with different Samuel Adams beer styles. Need help setting up your home kegerator? Chances are our Account Payable manager in Finance can help you.
Congratulations to our newest batch of Certified Cicerones® and cheers to being passionate (and knowledgeable) about beer! More than 600 of our employees have passed the Cicerone Level 1 Beer Server Exam, so we look forward to adding more Certified Cicerones® in the coming years.
Interested in learning more about the Certified Cicerone® program? Click here to learn more and get started.
This holiday season we have been enjoying one of our favorite pairings: craft beer and cheese. We’ve always appreciated the wide range of complex and distinct flavors craft beer and cheese offer on their own , but it turns out the similarities don’t end there. Brewing and cheesemaking share an intertwined history spanning thousands of years. They have evolved together for so long that they are a natural (and tasty) pairing. We wanted to explore this delicious relationship so we met with our friend Kurt Beecher Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to tell us all about the history of cheese.
Brewing and cheesemaking are both ancient arts and Kurt thinks of them as “cousins of the culinary world.” They are both derived from our earliest attempts to preserve food and drink, and they require high levels of skill, precision and the best ingredients possible to create a quality product. We both realized that while today’s brewers and cheesemakers are aided by advanced machinery, at the heart of our craft we are both still utilizing the same techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years. Brewers and cheesemakers alike are passionate and eager to experiment with ingredients and flavor profiles to create the best craft beer or cheese possible.
Kurt and I spent a day tasting a variety of our Winter Favorites brews and his handmade cheese to find the perfect pairings. There are thousands of flavor compounds from the hops, malt and yeast used in craft beers like Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and we discovered that these flavor compounds provide a variety of flavors when combined with different types of cheese. Boston Lager creates a wonderful marriage of flavor when featured in recipes or infused into cheese, enhancing the richness of the cheese with its subtle Noble hop character and beautiful piney, citrus and herbal notes. After a long day of tasting Kurt’s cheeses and our brews, we finally decided on the pairings we liked best. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
We wrote down our tasting notes so anyone can sound like a cheese and beer expert while entertaining over the holidays. But remember, half the fun is trying different craft beers and cheese varieties until you find your favorite.
It’s the holiday season, which means many of us are enjoying the company of friends and family at holiday gatherings. In honor of National Lager Day (clearly the best day of the year), we put together a lager pairing guide with some of our favorite foods that we enjoy during the holiday season. Cheers!
Some people mistakenly think of Valentine’s Day as a “wine holiday,” (we’re using our finger quotes on this one) but we know better. Instead, we think you should impress your Valentine with some excellent beer and food pairings! Chef David Burke and Gianni Cavicchi, the Beer and Wine Expert at Tour de France Restaurant Group NYC, compiled a pairing guide for common aphrodisiac foods and a few of the beers in our Spring Brews Variety Pack. You know, to help make this Valentine’s Day one to remember…
The saltiness of the oysters is enhanced by the citrus notes in Cold Snap. The pairing ends with a light, crisp finish, and the wheat and subtle pepper notes in the beer cleanse your palate. ► Read More
Happy National Lager Day! As a brewery that has been loving lager since 1984 (and well before that, channeling the love of Jim’s forefathers), it’s no secret that we look forward to this day each year. Join us today to celebrate and raise a pint of the style that helped give us our start and continues to be our favorite after all these years.
There are only two types of beer in this world… ales and lagers. Everything else is a style that belongs within one of these two types. For those of you not familiar with lager, it’s a type of beer that encompasses a wide variety of styles ranging from light pilsners to rauchbiers to darker bocks. So what links them together? Lagers are fermented and conditioned longer than ales, and at lower temperatures which yields smooth, crisp flavors and allows the malt and hops in the beer to shine.
Our Samuel Adams Boston Lager is brewed with two-row malted barley to give the beer its body and flavors ranging from slightly sweet to roasted, and Bavarian Noble hops which impart floral, piney and citrus notes. We then take an extra step and age Boston Lager longer to maximize and enhance the complex flavor combinations.
CELEBRATE WITH US!
To help you get in the National Lager Day spirit, we’re asking Sam drinkers like you to:
Valentine’s Day tends to be a wine-centric holiday, but pairing beer with Valentine’s Day favorites, such as chocolate, is a great way to take your relationship with craft beer to another level. In case you didn’t have a chance to try our holiday chocolate box, we have once again teamed up with our friends at San Francisco-based craft chocolate maker TCHO to offer a surprising combination that’s sure to satisfy the craft beer lover in your life: The “Love of Beer” Chocolate Box and Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
Beer and Wine Sommelier Gianni Cavicchi of the NYC Tour de France Restaurants put it best when he said, “Just as there’s someone for everyone, there’s a beer to perfectly pair with any food or dessert – it’s all about letting the flavor of one enhance the other. ► Read More
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
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.” ► Read More
Before you get the wrong idea, this post is not a fluff piece pandering to bloggers in hopes of securing a few positive pieces for Sam Adams. Variety is the spice of life and we know people have a wide variety of opinions on many of our beers and craft beer in general. The community of beer bloggers helps keep the beer industry healthy and dynamic. While we’re always happy to read a positive review, we respect the not so nice reviews and the downright negative ones as well. Honest feedback is the only way to get better at one’s craft and brewers are no different. We take feedback and review however we can get it… beer forums, blog posts and even check-in applications such as Pintley and Untappd. Of course the feedback we receive in a face to face conversation is always the best as it gives us a chance to really dive into the positives (or negatives) of a person’s thoughts of a beer we’ve created.
This brings me to the Beer Bloggers Conference I attended in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. Talk about a passionate group of people who love beer! While my visit was short due to family obligations back in Boston, I had a great time chatting with many of the bloggers in attendance. I loved feeding off their energy as we discussed their favorite beer style, the first Sam Adams they’d ever had, and what homebrew might have been aging back home. I was asked the tough questions too, like if we were ever going to can our beer (Jim’s said that day will come someday, I just don’t know when) and when I expected Jim to “retire” (I can’t envision that day, let alone speculate on when it would happen!) ► Read More
Looking at the level of innovation in brewing today, it is exciting to see so many new ingredients being introduced into brewing. We, along with many of our brewing colleagues, have utilized a variety of ingredients including coffee beans, coco nibs, bourbon, and even human saliva, to make some really interesting brews. However when you look at Germany, one of the pioneering countries for beer, these styles brewed with eclectic set of ingredients are hard to come by (if they are being brewed at all). This is because of Reinheitsgebot, a German beer purity law that was signed on this day (April 23) in 1516.
What is Reinheitsgebot?
Wilhelm IV of Bavaria passed Reinheitsgebot as a proclamation that required all beer in Bavaria to be brewed utilizing nothing more than water, hops, and
Wilhelm IV of Bavaria passed Reinheitsgebot on this day in 1516.
barley. (Note: Yeast would become the 4th allowable ingredient in the 18th century). ► Read More
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” a classic circular conversation that can be applied to tasting a beer. Which has more importance: taste v. aroma?
The answer: both.
How do I know? It’s my job to help make “sense” of beer flavor.
Consider your tongue a tasting device. The taste buds send signals to your brain and let you know what you are sensing. There are 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. The sensation, umami, is a savory or mouth-watering sensation.
All other flavor sensations result from the sense of smell. Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold eating isn’t as much fun? You almost can’t taste the food. This is because your nose is stuffed and you’ve lost your sense of smell! So when your beer’s aroma doesn’t (positively) stimulate your senses during the evaluation process, chances are your palate will agree. ► Read More
The Boston Beer Company is America’s leading brewer of handcrafted, full-flavored craft beers. Founder and Brewer, Jim Koch, brews Samuel Adams® craft beers using the time honored traditional four-vessel brewing process, and the world’s finest all-natural ingredients. With over 30 distinctive, award-winning styles of craft beer, Samuel Adams offers discerning beer drinkers a variety of brews. The brewery has won more awards in international beer tasting competitions in the last five years than any other craft beer brewery in the world.
The Boston Beer Company is America's leading brewer of handcrafted, full-flavored craft beers. Founder and Brewer, Jim Koch, brews Samuel Adams® craft beers using the time-honored, traditional four-vessel brewing process, and the world's finest all-natural ingredients. With over 30 distinctive, award-winning styles of craft beer, Samuel Adams offers discerning beer drinkers a variety of brews. The brewery has won more awards in international beer tasting competitions in the last five years than any other craft beer brewery in the world.