Monday, May 2, 2011

Sam's The Man! #983-987

Four ingredients make beer beer.  Water.  Yeast.  Malts.  Hops.  If you are missing one of the four, you no longer have beer.

Simple, right?

What if you change the concentrations? More malts, for example.  On that same thought, what if you change the time the malts were roasted?  What about boiling time?  Yeast varieties?  Water can change things too. The exact same recipe for a given beer will be different in Massachusetts vs Washington because the water is different!  All these little tweaks can change your beer.

Here is an interesting twist. What if you changed the variety of hops?  

Hops will taste different depending on where they are grown. It is simply one plant, Humulus lupulus.  Germany, England and Washington, to just name three locations, have hop varieties that taste very different because of differences in growing season, soil conditions, and climate.  So, a beer with hops from Germany should taste different than a beer with hops from Washington, even if ALL other components of the beer are the SAME.

Enter the Boston Beer Company. 

About a year ago, they played around with an IPA called Latitude 48.  Drawing a line around the globe at the 48th latitude, they included hops from areas grown close to that feature. Washington's Simcoe and Ahtanum hops, along with England's East Kent Goldings got the nod.  A pretty fair beer as I recall.  (It was my 890th beer. I had it on December 10th, 2010.)

Well, they took the idea one step further. While one beer with three hops is not so unusual, what about brewing the "same" beer three different times, each with one variety of hops.

Now you're talkin. 

Plus, what if you add a few extra beers to the 12-pack with more hop variety?

Even better!

A few nights ago, I picked up the 12-pack called "Latitude 48 Deconstructed" for the very do-able price of only $15.00.  12 beers (Duh. That is why it is called a 12-pack).  2 each of Original Latitude 48, plus IPAs brewed with Simcoe, Ahtanum, East Kent Goldings (the three hop varieties that were added to the original Latitude 48), plus beers with Halletau Mittlefreuh and Zeus hops.

Over the last few nights, I have done my own mini-beer tasting. 

I won't bore you to tears with the in's and out's of everything.  But, here are a few thoughts:

- IPAs might well be one of the most striking beers visually.  The copper tones are simply stunning.
- Hops really change the character of a beer. Yes, that goes without saying, but the opportunity to really see that impact (or taste it actually) is quite cool.
- The amount of grapefruit tones on the nose in the Simcoe IPA was really something. It was not just this "citrus" aroma you sometimes hear people talking about.  It was clearly grapefruit. Incredible.
- The hop aroma of the Hallertau Mittlefrueh IPA was very subdued.  It wasn't until the beer was on the tongue that one could really start to get a feel for the hop notes. 
- Words like "piney" and "earthy" are really quite descriptive of the Zeus while "floral" is a much better word to describe the taste the East Kent Golding (it started a bit "musty".)
- If you are doing a beer and cheese evening, a sharp cheddar is the way the go.

Folks, for 15 bucks you can't beat this offer.  12 beers of six species within the style. 

Give it a go.  If you like IPAs, you are in a happy place for the evening.

If you hate IPAs, well.................

By the way, my new beer total stands at 987 species!


dave boon said...

alcohol content? sounds like some good drinkin'

Paul said...

6% by volume. A little high, sure, but the opportunity to sample the various twists was too cool to pass up!