So, I decided to take the plunge and check out the Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA ‘Deconstructed’ variety pack for The Brew Club. I figured for $14, its an affordable way to train my palate a bit on what different hop varieties bring to the beer table so-to-speak.
I really enjoyed the regular Latitude 48 IPA, and I even thought aloud had that been my first IPA instead of the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, (which is rather challenging for a noob like me) I might not have almost completely avoided IPAs since 2008! Granted I’ve grown to acquire a taste for these hoppy, bitter gems, but I think the Sam Adams version is good enough to get a good IPA experience while not beating you up at the same time. Does that make sense? I didn’t think so. Moving on then…
The variety pack has 12 bottles. Two of them are the regular Latitude 48 IPA. I guess you can use them as a baseline for your hop research. There are then two bottles each of the same IPA, except with only one hop variety used. Here’s the breakdown, blatantly stolen from the damn labels!
Hallertau Mittelfrueh: …hops contribute a soft bitterness, along with delicate lemony citrus and resinous pine notes, balanced by a light sweetness and full body from the five different malts.
Simcoe: …hops contribute a profound bitterness and dramatic grapefruit peel and pine resin notes to this brew, with the slight sweetness and full malt body balancing the concentrated hop character.
East Kent Goldings: …hops contribute a mellow bitterness to this brew, along with earthy, floral, and apricot notes, balanced by a slight sweetness and full body from the five different malts.
Zeus: …contribute bitterness and an intense, pungent resinous pine flavor. The brew leans strongly toward the hop charicter, but is softened by the malt sweetness.
Ahtanum: …hops contribute a balanced and typically “American” orange peel, piney, and floral flavor and aroma to this brew, balanced by the slight sweetness and full body from the five different malts.
So, what did I think? I thought it was really cool to taste the differences in the individual hops, while brewed with the same malts and such. Did I have a favorite individual hop variety? I’d say that the Ahtanum single hop version was my favorite, and thought it was an excellent IPA in its own right!
Will I be able to pick out different hop varieties in the beers that I drink as a result of this little beer education in a box? Absolutely not! At least, not yet! But, I do have a better idea of what to expect when I read a beer label and find that it has East Kent Goldings, and/or a combination of the other hop varieties I got to try.
So, I’d say if you are interested in tasting the differences between hop varieties, go check out a Latitude 48 Deconstructed Variety Pack soon! I know its a limited release, and I do not know if it will ever be done again.
Nice job Boston Beer Co!
Have you tried this variety pack? What do you think about it?