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The Sam Adams Boston Lager: really not that bad

September 28, 2018

Our moderately filterless minds were recently asked to give a few buzzwords about what defines a Bowdoin student. We felt that this was an awfully loaded question. How can you define students who hail from wide swaths of the world? We have students here from everywhere—and by everywhere we mean all the towns from Woburn to Weymouth. A lot of Bears identify as proud Bostonians—though, upon closer inspection, most are from surrounding suburbs. Confidently, they’ll say the name of a town pronounced in a way wildly divergent from its spelling, then “Mass.” A few of these Bears have some sort of male guardian in their lives, maybe one who likes beer. So, in honor of them, we’ve decided to take a deep dive into Samuel Adams, the official beer of the father figure of all places from Lowell to South Duxbury, from Boston Proper to Worcester and all the proud J.O.B. land therein.

This is the signature beer from Boston Beer Company, which opened its doors in 1984. This beer is designed for dads. While we’re talking fathers, it’s probably worth noting that the mid-80s were most likely some of the best years of dad’s life. Times were wild: our president was senile, global warming didn’t exist, cigarettes were good for you and, most of all, the New York Mets won a World Series. (Coincidently, like your father, the Mets haven’t had a good summer since ’86, a top-notch year unless you happened to be an astronaut.)

To nail this review, we wanted to head to a “Harvard Bar” where we’d order a pitcher of “the house lager” (which, it stands to reason, ought to be 60 oz. of the City on the Hill’s finest) and then ask all the students we see “what’s your major, dude?” We were hoping to wow them with all of those hours spent at our local library, only to realize we clocked the majority of our youthful bibliophilic hours entering the word “fart” and all its derivatives into every Mad Lib they had.

The SAFC, however, is evidently not interested in dishing out dough so the Orient’s beer columnists can go “embed” themselves in the Boston experience. So the expedition had to be scrapped. This, of course, raises bigger questions about where that $700,000 budget is actually going. We, as newly-minted capital “J” Journalists, will be sure to investigate.

Lacking the institutional backing to get our sorry tails to Cambridge and despite how much we like apples and getting her number, we decided to plop down on the couch with a couple six packs, alternating between the History Channel and “Good Will Hunting”—all while avoiding the letter “r.” After close study, we decided this was the closest dad experience that could be recreated here on campus.

There is something vaguely insulting about the art on these bottles. The smug Son of Liberty knowingly grins at you, as if coming fresh off a dad-joke; you say “I’m starting to feel nauseous and patriotic,” and it quips, “Hi Starting-to-Feel-Nauseous-and-Patriotic, I’m Sam Adams, domestic terrorist and author of the Articles of Confederation”—a watered down precursor to the Constitution, just like this beer is a watered down precursor to something that doesn’t hurt to consume.

This beer tastes like some flavor was injected into a Bud Light. Dads seem to be attracted to the Sammy because it tastes like a simpler time, before all these waxed-mustache, Millennial hipsters—who dad says are ungrateful and are ruining the economy—decided to start putting passionfruit and essential oils into their beer. To quantify it, this beer doesn’t violate something called the “Pie Rule.” This rule passes to us from Associate Professor of Government and Asian Studies Henry Laurence, who explained in an exclusive interview that if anyone could fathom it being a possible ingredient in pie—blueberry, chocolate, rhubarb, ice cream, any ingredients to a “grasshopper” anything, the heinous list goes on—it cannot, for the love of God, go into beer. Remember, Professor Laurence is British, and they put some weird stuff in their pies. He added that this rule was developed in the heady days of the early 2000s, “mostly at Joshua’s.” After this lengthy tangent, our second beers were flatter than that football that Tom Brady used to cheat Andrew Luck out of that AFC championship back in 2015.

As we moved into our third round, Ethan, an avid fan of New England sports teams, let slip that this is the official beer of the Boston Red Sox. Though a Boston baseball buff may tell you the Curse of the Bambino originated in 1918 when Harry Frazee sold off George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. to the New York Yankees, we date the start of this dreaded hex to the mid-80s when Sam Koch began churning this swill out.

Starting our fourth beer—home plate, if you will—we decided it’s not that bad and pairs well with “1776” by David McCullough. If your dad drinks the Boston Lager regularly, he probably owns this book in several different forms. We’re talking first edition, illustrated and, of course, audio. As the History Channel changed to programming about the winter at Valley Forge, showing recreations of the revolutionaries’ trench foot, we finished our drinks.

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