Beer of the Weekend #621: Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout

Last night I drank Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout, brewed by The Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts. (The brewery’s location is listed as Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts on BA. Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood in Boston.)

Serving type: 22-ounce bottle. A batch code is printed on the neck but there is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Pours black into a tulip glass. I do not think it is opaque; I only held it to a weak overhead lamp, though, and no light passed through. Two fingers of dark tan head leaves a spotted and bubbly skim and a ring around the edge with a short trail of lacing.

Smell: The ginger and cinnamon are noticeable from an arm’s length away. Up close, it smells like a holiday cookie. A big burst of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I do not smell the cloves that are noted as a special ingredient on the label. When the aromas mingle in the worst way possible, the smell reminds me of something wet and unpleasant, perhaps a soggy gingerbread cookie. It is big and spicy, and it is difficult to smell anything beyond the spices, which is sad. Except booze. There is a light hint of booze.

Taste: The spices are prominent in the flavor but are not overpowering, as they are in the aroma. Ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are most noticeable, and the cinnamon hangs out in the background. Some roasted malt emerges, as well as chocolate, toffee, and dark fruit. The alcohol lingers on the tongue with each sip; it is ever-present in the background. As the beer warms, the ginger becomes more prominent. It then fades, however, and light roasted malt and toasted malt blend with the spices as it continues to warm. The back label mentions wheat. Okay. Sure. If it is there, it is overpowered by the spices.

Drinkability: Merry Maker truly lives up to its billing as a gingerbread stout. It is very festive, though perhaps a little too festive for my taste. It is not something I would drink a lot of during the holiday season, but it is something I would buy again for the sake of having a gingerbread beer to share.

Fun facts about Merry Maker:

-Style: Gingerbread stout.

-Price: $6.49/bomber at the Drug Town on First Avenue in Iowa City — which is cheaper than I expected for such a “big” beer.

-Alcohol content: 9 percent ABV.

-Food pairings: Listed on the beer’s webpage are multiple suggestions, based on how one wants to pair the beer. It complements coffee or espresso ice cream, cuts potato leek soup, and contrasts Samuel Adams Lager baked beans. The page also features a link to a very helpful pairing feature, which allows users to input the beer they want to pair and how. Mad props!

-Color: 75 SRM.

-Calories: 300 per serving, which I assume would be one 22-ounce bottle.

-Merry Maker is only available in November, so grab yours for the December holidays now. (Christmas, I think, is a much more fitting holiday for gingerbread beer.)

The Quiet Man’s grade: A-.

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