Review: Sam Adams' Spring Thaw beer pack

Sam Adams sent over its Spring Thaw variety pack of specialty beers. It took us a while to get to them—they're already rare on the shelves—but I'm glad we did, because it's a fun lineup with only a single dud, and I'd like to encourage more of you to send us alcohol.

The standouts are the lager and the porter, excellent beers that avoid the citrusy flavors showing up just about everywhere else.

Boston Lager, a well-heeled golden brew, saw no new complaints, and we fell in love with Maple Pecan Porter after the first gulp. You can really taste the chocolate, present but not showy, and it's a reminder that dark beers are being done right in America. Adds Heather: "Dark, sweet, surely good with pancakes and waffles." But you'd never guess it had pecan in it.

Alpine Spring is some kind of kellerbier-like deal with a smooth finish—Heather detected citrus "popping out"—while Double Agent IPL brought so much hop that The National Hop Reserve must have been raided. We didn't like it much; your hopheadedness may vary.

Sam Adams White Lantern is a white beer said to bring hints of tangerine and coriander to the table. I found it unlikeable and mealy despite those unmissable flavors, and it was our least favorite from the set. Someone stole the Irish Red before we got to it, which surely suggests something or other. (Per earlier samplings: it's quite good!)