First Recipe Change in 23 years; New Citrus Boosts Drinkability and Refreshment


PRESS RELEASE / April 23, 2019 (Boston, MA)  The brewers at Samuel Adams today announce the release of a new recipe for Summer Ale – the first recipe change in twenty-three years. The new Summer Ale has all the flavor drinkers know and love with a boosted citrus profile and scaled back earthy, spice note for a lighter and brighter taste.

The Sam Adams brewers knew they were taking a risk experimenting with an iconic recipe that for two decades has become the classic summer seasonal brew. Inspired by the warmer months of the season, they set out to experiment and capture lighter and brighter flavors and aromas, and even more summer refreshment.

The brewers added a handful of new citrus elements including orange, lime and lemon to enhance the citrus profile with the right balance of flavor and aromas. Amped up additions of pureed oranges, limes and lemons give more roundness to the profile of the new brew. The lemon puree pulls double duty by giving a taste like fresh lemon juice with an almost candied note that the brewers thought makes the beer even more drinkable.

Fans of this American wheat ale brewed in the Hefeweizen tradition will still enjoy the balanced notes of citrusy Hallertau Mittelfrüh Noble hops, hint of peppery spice from the Grains of Paradise and a crisp mouthfeel.

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Jim Koch, Sam Adams Founder & Brewer, on New Summer Ale:
“When we introduced Summer Ale 23 years ago it was inspired by the weather and ingredients of the season and had a dynamic flavor profile. As we started experimenting with the Summer Ale recipe, we decided to only update the classic recipe if we were blown away by the flavor and drinkability. With this new recipe, we found a way to give drinkers even more of what they know and love about Summer Ale.”

Below is an excerpt taken directly from a letter by Jim Koch:

When you live in New England, you pay a lot of attention to the seasons. You need to be prepared. In the early 1990s Samuel Adams pioneered the concept of brewing four seasonal beers every year, each brewed to resonate with the rhythm and ingredients of the seasons. 

Samuel Adams Summer Ale was our final seasonal. It quickly grew to be one of our most popular beers and to us, brewing it became a signal that warmer months were around the corner.  That’s why for more than two decades we haven’t looked at changing the recipe.

Until this year!

Just like our forefathers sought to create a “more perfect union”, we took up the challenge to brew “more perfect Summer Ale”. Why? Well, over the years we have seen our drinkers’ palates and preferences evolve – and so have ours.  During the hot summer months, we’re now drawn to lighter and brighter beers, so last fall we started experimenting in our nano-brewery in Boston.  After several rounds of brewing, we created a new recipe that builds on the delicious character of Summer Ale that we love while giving it a more citrusy, refreshing taste.

We literally “juiced up” the recipe, adding more orange, lime, and lemon peel notes and rebalanced the other ingredients. After months of pouring nano-batches of excellent beer down the drain, we nailed it. We shared it with visitors to our Tap Room, and they agreed. We hope you will too.

I’m proud to send you our new, lighter & brighter Samuel Adams Summer Ale. I hope it will be a welcome early kickoff to your summer.


Jim Koch

Founder & Brewer of Samuel Adams

Summer Ale Availability:
Summer Ale will be available beginning in April 1, 2019. The beer will be available in six-pack and twelve-pack bottles, twelve-pack cans,16 oz. cans, draft and Summer Variety Packs. Prices vary by market. To find where Summer Ale is available near you, visit

This isn’t the only change rolling out this Summer. Summer Ale and Boston Lager are the first Sam Adams styles on US shelves that feature new, redesigned packaging.  Twelve and six-packs will feature the iconic Samuel Adams blue. Other new details include images of the Sam Pint showcasing the color and corresponding haze of each beer, a youthful illustration of Samuel Adams the rebel rouser himself, and scripted text drawn in his original handwriting.


About Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams is a leading independent, American craft brewer that helped to launch the craft beer revolution.  The brewery began in 1984 when Founder and Brewer Jim Koch used a generations-old family recipe to brew beer in his kitchen. Inspired and unafraid to challenge conventional thinking about beer, Jim brought the recipe to life with hopes drinkers would appreciate the complex, full-flavor and started sampling the beer in Boston.  He named the flagship brew Samuel Adams Boston Lager in recognition of one of our nation’s founding fathers, a revolutionary man of independent and pioneering spirit.  Today, Samuel Adams is one of the world’s most awarded breweries and remains focused on crafting the highest quality beers through innovation and experimentation in the relentless pursuit of better.  Samuel Adams remains dedicated to elevating and growing the American craft beer industry overall, including providing education and support for entrepreneurs and fellow brewers through its philanthropic program, Brewing the American Dream, which helps others pursue their American Dream.  For more information, visit

Samuel Adams and Sam Adams are registered trademarks of The Boston Beer Company.

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