Friday, July 22, 2011

The Goldings taste like Goldings—the Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries!

I scooted down the pub after work today, with my friend Aaron, for my 15th or 16th pint of Bombardier this week. Sitting at the bar, beating the heat in air-conditioned opulence, he nonchalantly asked if I had seen Samuel Adam's Latitude 48: Deconstructed, sampler pack. To which I replied, "Latitude 48: Deconstructed?" inquisitively. This is not surprising, I'm usually behind the times on things like this. According to the interwebs, it was released in May, but my mind's been on the Bombardier lately. He was however, kind enough to explain the whole concept—which I'll get to in a bit.

For those of you who don't know, Latitude 48, is Sam Adam's hop heavy IPA from their Brewmaster Collection. The name is derived from the use of five hop varieties—Hallertau Mittelfruh, East Kent Golding, Zeus, Ahtanum, and Simcoe—all grown near the 48th parallel. An homage to the world's hop belt, as it were. Since the majority of the world's hops are grown in the area around the 48th, Sam did not lack for variety to choose from. Although the 48th never actually crosses the UK, so the EKGs may have been a stretch, but I digress.

I've had Lat 48, a few times, it's a good beer. A deep amber that's well balanced with a nice malty tone and a hop forward bite. What I never thought about was how that mix of hops—the hoppy terroir—really affected the rest of the beer. Aaron explained that the Boston Beer Company has just given us the opportunity to do that. The "deconstructed" variety pack offers two regular, old bottles of Lat 48 and two bottles each, highlighting one of the five hop belt hops used in making original beer. That's just brilliant. It's beer-nerdy, without being over the top beer-nerdy. It sounds like the brewers at Sam were just sitting around and said, "Hey man ya' know what would be cool..." and BAM! A cool sampler pack was born. I may have made it sound like pot was involved, but that's just my interpretation.

I like Sam Adams, but I've never beer totally over the moon about them. They make some pretty good stuff, but they are not my usual go to guys. However, I have to say, I'm excited to try this. Single hop beers aren't a particularly new idea, but I don't think that's the point. How often do you get to try, essentially, the same beer—same malt, same water, same everything—with the only difference being the hop variety— side by side—to boot. EKGs and Zeus are about as opposite as they come and this variety pack offers the drinker the opportunity to really see how those little green devils affect the end product. This is a hop head's wet dream. I really have to give the Boston Beer Company big ups for this idea. Along with Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp sampler pack, I'd go as far as to say it's one of the most interesting things I've seen an American brewer do in quite a while.

So I say, cheers to you Latitude 48: Deconstructed—I'll be seeing you next time at the beer store!

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