Samuel Adams is releasing four higher-alcohol, limited-edition beers in 22-ounce bottles: Tasman Red, a red India pale ale; Third Voyage, a double IPA; The Vixen, a chocolate chili bock; and Griffin's Bow, an oaked blonde barleywine. The beers will be sold by the bottle and range in price from $4.99 to $6.99. Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch even recorded video tastings of the beers. (Click on the beer to watch the video.) The Vixen is a bit of a headscratcher for me. A while back, Samuel Adams had experimented with a chocolate chili beer and sent out samples to the media. I was really intrigued by it. But the beer was never released to the public. When Koch and I met up last fall for a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery in Cincinnati, I asked him why and he told me that chili is a skin irritant and doesn't belong in a beer. We had a good laugh over that. I'm curious what changed his mind.
Meanwhile, the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack will include a new beer: Black & Brew, a roasted coffee stout. The brewer used 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee beans per barrel, adding them late in the brewing process. The 12-pack, which retails for $13.99, also includes seasonal mainstays: Chocolate Bock, Holiday Porter, Winter Lager and Old Fezziwig Ale.