They must have changed this thing. Last I remember, this beer had lemongrass in it. Now it seems to have lemon zest instead. I distinctly remember not really caring for this ale last time I had it. So, they have made some good changes.
Of course, the Grains of Paradise are still used. Grains of Paradise get their name from the Middle Ages when traders claimed that they were directly from Eden and must be collected while they floated downstream. Naturally, this raised the price. The Grains of Paradise also add the the perception of lemon (corriander) in the beer. Other qualities they impart are pepper (didn’t get) and cardamom (did get). Anyway, this beer did accomplish its job of being a refreshing summer ale.
The Pour: Typical of many wheat ales, Sam Adams Summer Ale was light golden and hazy. There was also a cloudy white and somewhat foamy head.
The Nose: The lemon aromas seem to be more subtle than they used to be. The Grains of Paradise pushed through with sweetness, as well as touches of wheat. I also noted that there was a slightly soapy quality on the nose.
The Taste: Once again, the lemon qualities were not overbearing, like they seemed to be before. As perceived on the nose, there was a nice touch of residual sweetness. No perceptible hops were in the taste (normally appropriate for a wheat beer), and the soapiness I noted on the nose was gone. The middle to the end of the taste had a nice grainy quality. I also caught some of the cardamom associated with the Grains of Paradise.
Overall, this beer is better than I remember it. I enjoyed the toned down lemon qualities and the touch of grains. This goes to show: never abandon a beer completely, especially if something has been tweaked.
Among other Wheat beers: