2023 is looking to be an interesting year for legacy brewers in the U.S. We’re seeing closures and contractions, and changes to beloved brands.
Of course, the most noted right now is that New Belgium announced that it completely reformulated Fat Tire, turning it something that bears no resemblance to the amber ale that raised and delighted a generation.
The changes, or “remastered” version of Boston Lager that Samuel Adams announced earlier this year are not as drastic, but are important and do have an impact on what is poured into the glass.
It’s impossible to imagine the modern American beer landscape without Boston Lager. When the Boston Beer company launched in 1984 Jim Koch and co-founder Rhonda Kallman were hand selling samples to accounts all over the city.
The beer, based in part on a historic Koch family recipe and further developed by Joseph Owades, a brewing scientist who is credited as the inventor of light beer, was seen as an alternative to the macro offerings of the early 1980s.
The beer won early accolades at the Great American Beer Festival in both the consumer preference polls and the formal judging. Top honors gave it bragging rights as “best beer in America,” something the brewery still uses in the beer’s marketing nearly 40 years later.
Boston Beer has grown. Brands like Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Twisted Tea, Truly Hard Seltzer, and Dogfish Head are now all part of the company. Samuel Adams has released hundreds of beers, some that landed well with consumers, and others that faded quickly.
Boston Lager endured. On draft, in bottles and cans, and in every variety pack the brewery releases, the familiar lager is ever present. But as consumer preferences change, and technologies advance, and as brewers strive for a better version of their vision, the beer has evolved.
Koch shares insight on how hop harvest helped evolve the beer, and how historic brewing processes are being used to help the lager taste smoother. If it’s been a while since you last had a Boston Lager, now is a good time to give it a fresh try.
Hear the whole conversation on the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast. Download via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you download shows.