I figured it out. This is the Twilight of beers: seems like a fun idea, initially appealing if you like that sort of thing, but with a core of something deeply, deeply wrong.
PAIN, THY NAME IS Sam Adams Cherry Wheat
Origin: Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
Style: Fruit Beer
IBU: not given
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Overland Park
Calories: 176 in a 12 oz bottle, meaning that (pending my calculator still works) I had to work off approximately 234 calories from drinking this.
Clearly and obviously, I do not like this beer. I’d had it once before, back when I was roughly 21/22 or so and trying everything I could get my hands on. I’d had a raspberry wheat and liked it (I forget if it was from 75th Street or Free State), so I figured the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat would be good too. I mean, the assumption makes sense is what I’m saying.
Of all the beers I’ve ever had, this beer stands out. The memory of drinking it has stuck with me because it reminded me of nothing more closely than Robitussin. The entire time I was drinking the beer, I was forcibly reminded of having a sinus infection. As this is not why I drink beer, I refrained from ever ordering another and relegated it to my shortlist of beers to warn people about.
That particular Cherry Wheat was bottled. This time, it was on tap. I figured that, being on tap, maybe it would be better. Because beer is always better on tap.
So, to review. Looks-wise, this is a cloudy light amber with a soft pink tinge. It has a foamy finger or so of head. It gives off a scent of cherry Kool-Aid and popsicles: nice, sweet, fun, like childhood. Up to this point, I love it, because it reminds me of sunny summer days spent stuffing myself full of sugar, and those are good memories. Because SUGARRRRRR.
When I had this beer last Friday, I was with (among others) my brother. I had gotten through the scent in my reviewing notes when I watched him take a drink. He gagged almost immediately and summed up the experience by saying, once he’d caught his breath, “that has between three and five different tastes, all of which are bad.”
He’s not wrong. I came up with three:
1) dark cherry (YUM)
2) sour wheat (um)
3) aspartame evil (Blerg. I’m sure there’s no aspartame (i.e., Nutra Sweet) in this beer. It’s a mark of its innate terribleness that I noticed aspartame as a note. It’s in the aftertaste, mostly.)
So picture those three – four if you’d prefer to separate evil into its own category – flavors combined together, pleasantly fizzy and with a foamy, slightly sharp mouthfeel. And you have Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Or, to put it another way, it tastes like someone dumped the liquid contents of one of those cherry freezer popsicle things onto a loaf of moldy bread and then allowed it to ferment.
Warning: for the love of the deity of your choice, DO NOT DRINK WATER AFTER DRINKING THIS BEER. It only spreads the taste around and makes it worse.
The best thing I’ve heard anyone (in this case, my brother again) say about this beer is that it’s the liquid equivalent of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, snarky commentary provided by the friends people watching you drink it. (If they were true friends, they wouldn’t let you order this beer.)
So Sam Adams, I feel betrayed. But I promise I will review something excellent of yours soon, because you do brew some excellent beer. Just. Just not this.
To sum up: