Beer: Merry Maker (also known as Merry Mischief)
Brewer: Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
What’s with the names? Merry Maker is in its second year of production, but last year the beer was produced using the name Merry Mischief. The name has changed, but the recipe has remained the same. The bottle I reviewed was from last year’s batch and I can attest that if you find bottles of Merry Mischief around, they are still just as enjoyable.
Description: Merry Maker pours a deep midnight black with a light, coffee-colored head that explodes into a huge froth, but quickly rescinds and leaves a spotty lacing the glass. The aroma is dominated by the spices with cinnamon coming through up front followed by nutmeg, clove, and ginger; the roasted malt serves as subtle background notes. The taste follows the nose exactly with the aforementioned spices, attacking the palate long and hard while the roasted malts wash over the palate to cut through the spices; it’s very reminiscent of a gingerbread cookie in a glass. The body is medium-to-full with very light carbonation that creates a smooth and easy-drinking beer. It’s the perfect sipper to have when you want to relax and recover from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Food pairing: While stouts can certainly hold their own with many dinner dishes – and I have no doubt that Merry Maker could as well – I cannot imagine this beer not being served with desserts, of which there are a plethora this time of year. The sweetness in the beer mixed with the malts and spice make Merry Maker perfect to pair with rich desserts like carrot cake, or something creamy and decadent such as cheesecake and cannoli. However, after having one sip of Merry Maker, it is painfully obvious that this is a beer that is a match made in heaven with ice cream, so be sure to make yourself one more holiday treat in the form of a beer float with Merry Maker and your favorite ice cream.
The final word: Despite the sheer size of Sam Adams and the dominance it has within the craft beer world, it is still a true craft brewery that loves to experiment, with delicious results. Sam Adams already produces a holiday staple in Old Fezziwig, but you now need to also make room this holiday season and every one here after for another holiday staple with Merry Maker. While it’s true winter is stout season, which is reason enough alone to crack a bottle of this open, Merry Maker truly is the holiday season in a glass and belongs under every craft beer lover’s tree.
Rating: W W W W
Where can I get it? Currently available in bottles at: Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Wegmans, Dickson City and Wilkes-Barre; and Goldstein’s Deli, Kingston.
Currently available on tap at: Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre, and Backyard Ale House, Scranton.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Follow Derek’s beer blog at idtapthat.org.