Jim Koch’s Holiday Miracle

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. Sure, there’s the complete gluttony, and the football, but it’s also one of the few occasions when I get an entire day where I can pretty much do nothing but sit around drinking beer.

Photo by Mr. X.

So I take my Thanksgiving beer selection pretty seriously. The last thing I want is for my beer holiday to be ruined by some subpar brew. And if I’m going to be drinking all day, I like some variety. That usually leads me to mixers, and winter mixer 12-packs are some of my favorites.

I’m also a sucker for Sam Adams’ Old Fezziwig Ale. And though I was born and bred on Sam, in recent years I’ve drifted away from it as better craft beers have hit the market and Sam has focused on brewing $100 bottles of beer and its nearly undrinkable Barrel Room Collection brews.

Making things worse, you can only get the Old Fezziwig in the Sam winter mix packs, which for years came with Sam’s god awful Cranberry Lambic in them. Almost every mix pack has one weak beer, and this was definitely the runt of the Sam Adams winter mixer. It was so bad that it was usually enough to dissuade me from buying the mix pack at all — no matter how much I wanted some of that Old Fezziwig goodness.

So this year, when I made my pre-Thanksgiving beer run, I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only were the Sam winter mixers in stock, but they were Cranberry Lambic free. As a bonus, the entire 12-pack was stocked with — get this — real beer. There was a chocolate bock, a porter, a coffee-based brew, the winter lager, and of course, good Old Fezziwig.

They were all fantastic. I love the chocolate bock, and though the coffee brew (“Black and Brew”) wasn’t something I could drink five of, it was perfect for a mix pack.

So I’m going to lay off Jim Koch for a while, and stop whining about how he refuses to bottle the Sam Brick Red that I love so much. He’s done good. Getting rid of the Cranberry Lambic from the winter mixer was a big, bold move.

Now if we could only get Harpoon to stop brewing that Winter Warmer garbage …

Mr. X is a regular contributor to the Beer Drinking Report.