Mission 1: Beer 3 - Noble Pils


Noble Pils is one of the beers I really wanted to try. I have never had a Samuel Adams beer and have been curious. Samuel Adams is one of the largest craft breweries in the nation. I have shied away from Samuel Adams for years, mostly because of their size. I frequently lump them into the same disdained category as Coors, MGD, and Budweiser. Noble Pils was the beer that made me decide to give Samuel Adams a shot.

I must admit, I judged the beer by it's cover. The label says "brewed with all 5 Noble hops", there is not a beer sales pitch that could work better on me. I bow to the altar of hops. I was unaware that there were "noble" hops, but hell, they had me at "five hop varieties" they could have been pauper hops for all I cared. I was very excited to try this beer, in fact I had to stop myself from opening one the day we went shopping for all our beer.

We drank this beer before heading out to the Ubar. My best friend Jill and her husband Dan were in town from Monterey. While Jill was freshening up from a long traveling day, Keith and I opened the Noble Pils. Keith was not a fan, he didn't hate it nor did he like it. He said it was ashy tasting. I disagree. I was disappointed in the beer but I didn't taste cigarettes like Keith claimed, I thought it was dry.

My biggest problem is that I think Samuel Adams falls into the mass market trap. They are a nationwide, large scale distributor, and that I think affects their craft. I thought the Noble Pils was bland. The punch I expected from "Five Noble Hops" was no where to be found, although it is a pilsner and they are notoriously light in flavor, I still expected something with a little more bite. It had more flavor than Coors or Budweiser, but not by much. I think the problem is that when you cater to the masses you have more people to consider and your product becomes more bland to accommodate all those palates. The smaller craft brews are focused on the craft and the tastes of a small sampling of people in their area. I would say that people in Chico are conditioned to Sierra Nevada and that is the standard to which all other beers are held. I am sure people in Fort Bragg are the same with North Coast Brewing and so on. Samuel Adams has Boston and the entire nation and I think some of the craft has gotten lost in the growth of their company. Take this commentary with a grain of salt, I have never had any other Samuel Adams beer and I am making a big generalization towards the character of their other beers. I feel comfortable doing so based on the one beer I tried and the standard I have for something that claims to have "five Noble Hops"

On the positive side, if you are a craft brew lover and know someone who is a Coors fan, give them a Samuel Adams and see if they like it. It might be a good craft brew to cut their "good beer" teeth on.

Comments (2)

I am in complete agreement with you on Sam Adams, and I have had a much larger sampling of their product. The Noble Pils had very little bite for the amount of hops advertised and the rest of their beer definitely lacks the flavor punch of a good craft brew, probably (as you stated) due to having to appeal to a much larger market. I fear that Sierra Nevada is starting to head in that direction (especially with their release of Glissade) as I've noticed a yearly decline in Alc% of nearly all their brews, save for the pale. Sam Adams is still a major step up from the domestic beers and I find myself gravitating towards a glass of their lager when I need something easy to drink while not being overly concerned with strong flavor.

- Mark Cunha-Rigby

Also, thankfully Sam Adams does provide variety 6 and 12 packs of their beer, which is a good way to sample what they offer without getting stuck with a bunch of something you don't like.

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