Here at ithinkaboutbeer.com, I’m a particularly big fan of “sour” beers. So I thought I’d start the year with a series of reviews on sour beers from the United States and Belgium. To start off, I decided to review a newer beer from Samuel Adams: Stony Brook Red. Although this beer has been brewed since 2009, this is the first time it’s made it as far west as the Pacific Northwest. Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red marks a new direction for the venerable Samuel Adams brewery. The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams official name) was founded in 1984. Today, It’s a considered the largest of the Craft breweries and is available throughout the United States. The Stony Brook Red is part of their “Barrel Room Collection” series of specially wood-aged beers.
The Stony Brook Red is Sam Adams’s version of a Flemish Red. A Flemish red is made by blending old, wood-aged beer with younger beer. Usually beer from several barrels is blended together to balance and create a house style.
Appearance: Bright red with brown highlights. Tan head with ok retention.
Aroma: Malt vinegar,black cherries, vanilla, and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Taste: Sweet with a bit of brown sugar, tartness, candied cherries, vanilla.
Overall Impression: I liked this beer. It has a nice range of flavor and complexity. I just wish it had a bit more acidity. The nose had a nice tart bite to it, but it didn’t translate all the way through to the palate. This left the beer slightly out of balance for what is supposed to be a sour style. I’m not the kind of sour drinker that needs to have a beer sear my face off with acidity, but there does need to be enough to fully balance out the sweetness. I think this beer and this project have a lot of potential, especially as the brewers develop their prowess of blending and their barrels get older and funkier. This is a project to watch. Additionally, the price point is very nice and a good way to introduce someone to Flemish-style reds.
Availability: Nationally at better beer stores.