Boston Beer Company, brewers of the Samuel Adams line of beers, is the largest craft brewer in the nation. Despite their immense size (in relation to most other craft breweries), they churn out a wide variety of beers. I’m impressed with how much leeway their brew crew is given to develop new products. They’re not always home runs, but you can’t score if you don’t take a swing.
On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout, Boston Beer Company, 9.0% ABV
Merry Maker is a very dark colored beer, essentially black, with a brown colored head. The aroma is predominantly of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and some cinnamon. I also pick up some roastiness from the malts. The flavor is of roasted malts, slight chocolate, and nutmeg, cloves, and some ginger. Hop bitterness is medium-low/medium, not much discernable hop flavor. The body is medium-full, carbonation is high, finish is on the dry side. As the beer warms up, the alcohol character shows a bit more.
I like the idea behind the beer, take something the Holidays are known for, and use it in a beer. It makes a lot of sense and is very festive. On the other hand, this beer remimnds me why I don’t enjoy spices in my beers. More often than not, I find breweries that develop spiced beers tend to overuse the spices. Some people go nuts for that sort of thing, I’m a little less enthusiastic.
I’ve thought about why I don’t really like these spices (nutmeg, clove, et cetera) and it’s because I don’t really use them in any of my own cooking, nor do I actively go searching for foods with them. Many of food products that feature these ingredients tend to be desserts or other baked goods, and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
Don’t call me a spiced ale Scrooge though, as there is one spiced ale I’ve had in the past that I’ve really enjoyed. I thought it had a great balance between spices and beer. It also tasted a lot more like gingerbread than this one.
But just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean you should for forgo it. Pick up a bottle and make up your own mind.