Beer Wednesday: Long Shots Homebrews by Sam Adams

Sam Adams recently released a six-pack featuring the winners of their Long Shots Homebrew Contest. The winning beers: a Lemon Pepper Saison by Jeremy White, the "Mile High" Barleywine by Ben Miller, and "Old Ben" [English] Ale by Michael Robinson. You can read summaries of the three beers here and here.

All of these beers are pretty freaking good. The lightest of the three by far is the Lemon Pepper Saison. I agree completely with Stephen Wright's review of this beer - it is easy drinking but has a ton of nuanced flavor. The lemon zest and white pepper are actually really subtle. While this flavor profile and body weight isn't what I would have normally expected from a saison, don't let that put you off. The great flavors and subtle complexity of this beer made me think to myself that I never want to drink a plain, boring pilsner or lager again when I could be drinking an equally quaffable but infinitely more interesting and delicious lighter style like this Lemon Pepper Saison. A great job by brewer Jeremy White (who is a Sam Adams employee, by the way).

In contrast, both the Old Ben Ale and the Mile High Barleywine are very heavy at 9% ABV and 10% ABV (I believe), respectively. Despite being heavy they are pretty drinkable; in the words of Samuel Jackson: "it'll get you drunk!". The Old Ben Ale was a little off balance to me, being a little too heavy and round with its dried fruit and caramel flavors. It also leaned towards rich and sweet, which doesn't bother me but might bother other palates. I liked how the flavors transitioned from nice and malty to raisins and prunes to caramel on the back end very nicely.

The Mile High Barleywine also had very rich flavors, but instead of the raisins and prunes of the Old Ben, think more dried cranberries and figs. There is also caramel flavor and a little citrus - like ripe nectarine - but not as much citrus or hops as the descriptions above make it out to have. I am generally not a huge fan of barleywines, but I really enjoyed this beer. A really interesting and delicious take on the style.

I would caution that all three of these beers are relatively hopless, so for the hop heads out there be warned that there is nary a hop to be tasted herein.

The six-pack was $10 at my local Whole Foods, but I consider it well worth the price to try three delicious and very unique beers.


  1. Yes they deserved to die. And I hope they burn in hell!

  2. Now for 100 bonus points to everyone except Scott and 25 bonus points to Scott...which movie does that quote come from?

  3. As for the beer, I'm definitely taking a field trip to BevMo (and if they don't have this six pack I will solemnly go to Whole Foods) to try them. I love Sam Adam's variety packs, but based on my enjoyment of their previous variety packs, including the Winter Styles and Summer Styles, I am going to love two of these and be indifferent about the third.

  4. Haha nice Aaron... I should point out that I bought this six pack probably back in May, and I haven't paid attention to whether it's still in distribution. I assume so.

    Aaron I'm really curious to see what you think of these beers... like I said they are NOT hoppy at all, which I know is your favorite style.

    Gonna get some more beers this weekend. The BevMo near me opens tomorrow... I'm very excited.