Reviewing Beer Styles as Samuel Adams Promotes Free Beer as Vaccine Incentive

beer company wiring $7 to 10,000 customers showing vaccine proof on social media

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

A vaccine incentive program offers free beer for getting a COVID-19 vaccination. By posting proof of getting a COVID-19 shot on social media with the hashtag #ShotforSam, internet users could win their choice of Samuel Adams beer. Ales and lagers are the two major beer categories.

Glass of beer on bar top
The type of yeast strain used in fermentation delineates whether a beer is an ale or a lager, contributing to their differences in taste and aroma. Photo By Valentyn Volkov / Shutterstock

The Samuel Adams beer company began hosting a unique promotion to encourage its customers to get one of the vaccination shots against COVID-19. Prove online that you’ve been vaccinated and be entered for one of the 10,000 spots to get a free Samuel Adams beer from your local restaurant or bar.

The #ShotforSam campaign doesn’t require a vaccination card or any private information. Starting April 12, the company will send $7 through Cash App to the first 10,000 people who show them things like an “I’m Vaccinated” sticker or a bandage photo on social media. That $7 is meant to cover the price of a Samuel Adams of their choice.

Samuel Adams, like many beer companies, offers more than a dozen styles of beer. In his video series The Everyday Guide to Beer, Dr. Charles W. Bamforth, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, explained the differences between the two most popular styles of beers: ales and lagers.

A Level of Warmth in Ales and Lagers

The biggest technical difference between ales and lagers is the species of yeast used to brew them.

“Ales are those products made with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and lagers with Sachharomyces pastorianus—a top-fermenting yeast (ale yeast) and a bottom-fermenting yeast (lager yeast),” Dr. Bamforth said. “Now, with modern fermenters—these big cylinder, conical vessels—all the yeast tends to go south. So, the differentiation between top and bottom is not quite so meaningful these days.”

According to Dr. Bamforth, ale yeasts are happier at warmer temperatures than lager yeasts. Ales can be fermented at temperatures as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, lagers are fermented at lower temperatures, usually only reaching up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest. Even the word “lager” offers a hint at its fermentation process.

“The word ‘lager’ means ‘to store,’ and that refers to the fact that still, when people make lagers, many of those brewers have prolonged maturation—lagering of the product,” he said. “So it’s a slower process when you’re making a lager.”

Hopping to It

Lagers and ales are also hopped differently sometimes. Dr. Bamforth said that most hops are added to beer during the boiling stage of the brewing process. However, some brewers add the hops later, in order to increase their aroma and to preserve some of the hops’ oils. Pilsners, a world-famous selection of lagers, are done this way.

“In the production of the famous pilsner beers, there’s a process called late hopping; this is where some of the hops are added late in the boil, or even in the whirlpool—the hot wort stand—and that allows some of the oils to survive,” Dr. Bamforth said. “Then the yeast transforms some of them, and you get a subtle hop character. We call it ‘late hop character.'”

Some ales also offer tricky hopping. According to Dr. Bamforth, in order to get a really strong hop aroma, some of the hops are even added at the very end of the brewing process into the finished beer in a process called “dry hopping.” He said that most of the hops are added to the kettle to boil, so you extract the bitterness, but add hops right at the end to get that “intense hop aroma.” This process is linked to many ales, like North American IPAs.

Whether ale or lager, Samuel Adams is likely to make for some happy vaccine recipients, throughout April.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily