Back in February, I reviewed a whole bunch of imported beers. In the process of
getting tipsy on a nightly basis critiquing random foreign brews, I came across Britain’s Samuel Smith brewery and it’s Oatmeal Stout. Reviewing that bottle of suds was a pleasure. I figured I’d try to find as many Samuel Smith beers and give them a whirl.
I didn’t hit the Oatmeal Stout again; I stand by my review from the winter. I was more curious about the Samuel Smith beers I hadn’t gotten a chance to drink. Would they taste as good as the Stout? Can Smith Brewery deliver the goods with other types of beers? Will I enjoy getting tipsy over the course of several weekday nights?
Yes, Yes and YyeEeeEesssssSSsssssSsssssss.
Old Brewery Pale Ale
Ya know, I’m not really seeing a ‘pale’ ale here. Instead, I get almost a Newcastle Brown Ale vibe. Like that, this beer has lots of carbonation. Kinda surprising amount of fizz, to be honest. On the initial pour, it almost has the look of a glass of Pepsi.
Thankfully, that vibe goes away pretty quick. The Pale Ale shows a thin white head that dissipates very quickly. Lacing is minimal, but I’m not a lunatic for a lot of foam hanging on the glass, so I don’t care. The burnt red appearance is really quite handsome. This is a nice beer to look at.
Even better, it’s a nice beer to drink. The hoppy scent had some bready notes running around in there. The taste basically follows the aroma. The beginning is a little sweet, but it had a slightly tinny finish.
Again, is this a ‘pale’ ale? Eh, maybe. Does it matter? Only if you’re a die hard beer purist. No matter what you call it, it’s a quality beer.
Pure Brewed Lager
I was most curious about Samuel Smith’s Lager. In my mind, lager suds are the best style of beers. If a brewery can nail a lager, they can do good business.
In this case, we have a lager that pours out with a frothy white head, over a finger thick. It leaves some lacing on the glass as it dissipates. The beer itself is a bright translucent golden orange. At first sniff, the beer presents a nice floral scent. Not hoppy per se, and not flowery in an obnoxious way, but just very pleasant. Unlike the Pale Ale, there was not an exorbitant amount of carbonation.
As for the taste, the beginning is rich. For a lager, this feels just a little thick. Still, this is a very drinkable beer. The beginning is smooth, with a touch of hops. The finish has just enough bite at the end to make it interesting. This is a great lager.
Nut Brown Ale
The Nut Brown pours out thick, with a sort of toasted reddish brown coloration. The head is a thin greyish dirty tan which kinda reminds me of dishwater suds. I’m not exactly sad that the froth leaves almost no lacing.
Luckily, the aroma is nice and hoppy, which takes my mind off the idea of drinking used sink soap. I’m also detecting hints of caramel. All in all, the scent is rather complex.
This is a different sort of ale. It feels quite thick to drink. Not shockingly, the beginning is very nutty. I’m catching some shades of walnuts and almonds in the front, which is very cool. The finish is very bitey. This might be a little jarring for some drinkers, as the front was pretty smooth. As for me, I liked it just fine.
This is the only beer in this collection that I had drank beforehand.
The porter pours out black. There is no accent coloration. Just…none more black. There is a itsy-bitsy off-white head with little lacing. I’m not seeing a lot of carbonation going on after the initial pour. It pours out fairly thick as well.
I dig the scent a lot. The main vibe here is roasted coffee beans, which are very pleasant. The flavor follows the aroma. Maybe because I have my fridge’s thermostat set almost as low as it can get, the Taddy is very cold. This might explain the fact that the beer has an iced java feel. I’m not a coffee drinker, but this is a delicious beer.
The Porter is also surprisingly light on it’s feet. For something that pours out like wet cement, you’d think the beer would be almost unbearably heavy. Instead, I find it just a little thicker than the Lager.
Winter Welcome Ale
Some of you might be wondering why I am reviewing a winter beer in the middle of summer. I’m kinda surprised by that as well. In my travels looking for various Samuel Smith beers, I came to a liquor store that had a whole case of the Winter Welcome just laying around. I figured I’d give it a shot. The fact that there were so many leftovers didn’t strike me as a good sign.
Because this is a cold season ale, I am drinking this down in my basement, where it gets kinda frosty even in the summer. Let’s see if that makes this beer work.
The Winter Welcome displays a reddish amber coloration. Like most of the Samuel Smith brews, we get a thin white head with little lacing. I’m catching a strong malty scent with some bread notes in there too.
As for the taste, it’s not really spicy like some winter warmer ales. What it does have is a really hoppy almost tinny bite at the end. This isn’t all that great. For the first time, I don’t care for a Samuel Smith product.
To be fair, the alcohol content on this feels high (6% alcohol by volume, so yeah a little stronger than normal) . I’m definitely getting a little toasty. This might’ve tasted a slightly better if the temperature was closer to 45 rather than 85. You definitely feel the buzz with this one, which isn’t the worst thing considering the kinda not-so-rad flavor.
The Samuel Smith Brewery has a fine line of beers. With the exception of the Winter Welcome, the brews I tried were all very drinkable. This was sorta surprising because I’m not a huge fan of ales. The Nut Brown and the Pale Ale were both strong products. The Taddy Porter was a great beer which packed a few pleasant surprises into the mix. As for the Pure Brewed Lager, that was one of the best lagers I’ve ever had.
Could you slam these beers? Fo’ shizzle. We’re talking about very easy-going beverages. They’re all quite gentle on the palate and on the stomach. Even the Winter Welcome, with it’s kinda yucky taste, could be annihilated in fairly short order with little ill effects. In fact, if you were just looking to get drunk, the Winter Warmer might be the quickest route to get there. After a pint and half of that stuff, you’d probably stop noticing the taste.
The only issue with the idea of chugging these beers is that they’re a little pricey. You’re looking at almost $4 for a 1 pint 2.7 ounces of product. It seems like a waste to use Samuel Smith beer for your next turbo cups tournament. The Taddy Porter would be sorta out-of-place being the featured suds at a beer pong rally.
But really, who cares? You pretty much can’t lose with any of these brews in nearly any setting you’d drink them in. Whatever your preferred style of beer and how ever you choose to enjoy them, this company probably has something good for your quaffing pleasure. If you like well-crafted beers that get you to HappyLoaded Land in very pleasant ways, Samuel Smith is for you.