The Session #84: A (Non)Review of Samuel Adams Christmas Sampler

This post is in response to a call for submissions issued by a former classmate of mine who runs the excellent beer blog Literature and Libation. His challenge – to write a beer review without actually reviewing it. Here’s my attempt at answering it.

I like Christmas music. Unlike so many that – like my father – complain when the hear the opening notes to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” more than two days before December 25th, I rather enjoy the sounds of the season. But not on Halloween.

This most recent All Hallows Eve I spent sitting in my girlfriend’s apartment writing away, while she cleaned and listened to Christmas music. Although she was kind enough to start with the soundtrack for Nightmare Before Christmas in an effort to keep me from revolting, I was still less than pleased; but because she’d been so stressed out at work and Bublé’s soothing voice relaxes her, I didn’t have much of an issue. This continued until we left to go to her parents’ neighborhood to help hand out candy.

On the way, we stopped at our local liquor store with the intent of picking up a Sam Adams Fall Sampler – something we had spent the last several months drinking and were huge fans of; however, as we looked through the slightly frosted cooler doors onto the shelves containing the Boston-brewed goodness, that particular sampler was nowhere to be found. In its place, was the Christmas Sampler. Keeping in line with our entire day, we embraced Christmas on Halloween, grabbing the box and throwing it in the car.

Upon arriving, we broke the box open, choosing randomly from the selection, only making sure that we didn’t go for the Boston Lager (knowing exactly what we were getting ourselves into with that one). Moving seamlessly from White Christmas to Old Fezziwig, Juniper IPA to Winter Lager and Cherry Chocolate Bock, each and every beer in the variety pack highlighting something else about the season that we were entering into, I couldn’t help but be astounded by how congruent the experiences of Christmas and Halloween really are. And as I stood there, surrounded by swarms of screaming children and sipping a beer that tastes nearly identical to my favorite piece of candy, learning about the almost absurd level of emotional attachment my girlfriend’s father has for the Baltimore Colts’ marching band, I was truly happy.

-Keith W. Mathias


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