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Samuel Adams quenches summer thirsts

Samuel Adams poured its first beer in 1985, the year of Lee Iacocca's best-selling autobiography and "Back to the Future." A gallon of gasoline was $1.09.

It's both easy and hard to believe that Samuel Adams has been around that long.

Starting with Samuel Adams Boston Lager, pretty much the whole repertoire has become an essential part of American brewing. Although Samuel Adams represents a fragment of the U.S. market, its very good influence is undeniable.

So, before you're tempted by Bud Light Lime, Miller Chill or the calorie-count catastrophes posing as beers, consider the Samuel Adams Summer Styles group of brews.

The newest addition is Samuel Adams Latitude 48, named for the location of the "hop belt." This is a very refreshing, balanced number, a full-bodied and satisfying alternative to any mega-brewer production.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale has a citrusy style to woo any lime-oriented drinker. It also contains the slightly peppery "grains of paradise." Along with Latitude 48, it's ideal for a barbecue.

The classic Boston Lager is included in the summer package, with the fine, dry Samuel Adams Pale Ale, sweet-tart Blackberry Witbier and the most dependable light beer, Sam Adams Light. The 12-pack is about $14. Six-packs of Boston Lager and Summer Ale go for about $8.