Years ago, Dave Barry wrote a column about touring wine country in NoCal, in which he illustrated the pretentiousness of wine description by highlighting that one review had used the phrase "nuances of toast." (Incidentally, in searching for the link I found a MySpace character named Nuances of Toast. I like him already.) Despite acres of blind taste-testing to the contrary - less than 20% of the wine drinking population can actually tell the difference between a good bottle and a poor one, less than 5% between a good and a fair* - people still claim to detect wide varieties of interesting hints of attractive flavors.
So it was odd to me to open the last of a Samuel Adams Harvest 12-pack I bought last weekend and try the Dunkelweisen. There was this fairly strong suggestion of a familiar flavor. It was bubblegum. Or more specifically, the immediate taste of old-style bubblegum, likely derived from that powdery coating that is probably sugar. Not in the least a respectable beer highlight.
I don't mean to kick the Sam Adams people. I will continue to make their products one of my usual choices, because of locality, because of my approval of the general marketing scheme, and because of taste. But if Dunkelweisen shows up in their variety packs next year, I will skip the whole lot of them and revert to my other standard choices, Guinness or Newcastle.
BTW, I still think all three parties at the Beer Summit - the president, the professor, and the cop - missed their chance for serious one-upmanship and PR dominance by not ordering a Sam Adams. From any of the three, it would have pwned the other two.
*I know one, BTW - or at least, one I believe. My brother-in-law Philippe is from France, and his father was a perfumer for Chanel. I have long since lost contact with him, but I believed his nose.