Sam '76

Review Date 1/23/2017  By John Staradumsky

Sam ’76! What the hell is that? It’s a new beer from Samuel Adams, a secret and mysterious beer that may not be a secret anymore, but is still a bit mysterious. It’s a hybrid of ale and lager and a revolutionary beer, if you listen to Boston Beer Company. Certainly, there are hybrid beers already (cream ale, Kolsch and steam beer being prime examples). These styles, however, use a warm ale top fermentation with a cold lagering, or a cold lager bottom fermentation with a warm conditioning. Sam ’76 uses both ale and lager yeast in the fermentation, not a technique I am familiar with.

Do you want to know more?


Sam says:


Sam ’76 is a revolutionary new beer that is an unmatched combination of refreshment, craft flavor, and aroma. By experimenting with both lager and ale yeast strains, our brewers developed a unique brewing process that takes two active fermentations and blends them together to create a deliciously harmonious result. This process delivers a distinct flavor that showcases the slight fruitiness of an ale with the balanced drinkability and smoothness of a lager. So whether you’re tailgating, watching the game, or headed to a party with friends, Sam ’76 can be your go-to beer.


I started seeing pictures of Sam ’76 on Facebook in the beer groups, and folks seemed to like it well enough. I found it at Publix on Saturday, January 20th and picked up a six. I was going to Taco Mac to watch the Patriots play in the AFC Championship the next day, and popped a few cans in the fridge for when I returned. My daughter tried a can that very night-and liked it a lot. That was a good sign.


Ingredients from the website:


HOPS VARIETIES: Cascade, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe


MALT VARIETIES: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt, White Wheat, Carafoam


Sam ’76 has an alcohol content of 4.7% by volume with 12 IBUs. The latter shows how drinkable they intend this to be, and a beer approachable by the BudMilloors crowd as well as the craft drinker. The beer is fairly priced. I paid $7.99 for six cans at Publix, and Target has it for $14.24 a 12-pack. My cans are stamped as best before May of 2018.


Sam ‘76 pours to a pale yellow color with a thick creamy head and a bright citrusy grapefruit nose. Taking a sip, the beer has a medium maltiness mostly clean from fruity esters but with a hint of them, and from the hops citrusy grapefruit is hard to miss. The malt is not overbearing but light like an American Lager, a bit crisp with a bit of biscuit yet free from adjuncts the latter are prone to and plagued with. It finishes balanced but not at all bitter.


I found Sam ’76 to be quite well done for what it is. You certainly cannot argue with the price. It really is a smooth and drinkable fusion of ale and lager, and I’ll definitely be enjoying it again.


Where the heck do you style this? It is, to me, an attempt at an American Light Lager (which is not light beer) so that is where I will peg it.



And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.