The IPA, deconstructed

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First Posted: 7/8/2014

Sam Adams is a brewery that has garnished quite the reputation over the years in the craft beer market as one of the industry’s true pioneers. Some craft beer “fans” have begun to complain that the brewery has gotten too big to still be considered craft, but despite its size, the company still brews great craft beer and is not shy of experimenting or imparting knowledge about beer to its loyal customer base.

Case in point: the Deconstructed IPA variety pack. Within this wonderful 12-pack, the brewery has put together a fantastic learning experience for craft beer newbies and die-hards, as well as some extremely enjoyable IPAs. Sam Adams has been brewing its delicious Latitude 48 IPA for several years with great success. However, the average drinker may not realize the complexities of the beer and that it contains five different hop varieties.

Sam Adams decided not only to discuss the hop varieties involved in the beer, but also to brew an IPA using each hop exclusively. Each IPA takes on unique qualities from the individual hop and also gives the drinker an idea of what specific flavors are being imparted into the beer from the hop. This is a fantastic and very unique educational experience that is typically reserved for the homebrewer to experiment with on a small scale. Thanks to Sam Adams, though, this educational – and delicious – variety pack is available to the masses.

So what hops are used in Latitude 48 and what do you have to look forward to with purchasing this variety pack?

No. 1: East Kent Goldings IPA: The East Kent Goldings hop imparts a strong floral aroma and taste with subtle citrus background notes and is a hop that can get a little lost in the shuffle with the sum total of all the hops in Latitude 48, but on its own, it truly stands out and creates a very easy-drinking and balanced IPA that treads the line towards being more like a Pale Ale in character.

No. 2: Mosaic IPA: The mosaic hop is a newer addition into the beer (added in 2013) and also a newer and very sought after hop in the craft beer industry. The hop imparts flavors of mango, lemon, citrus, earthy pine, tropical fruit, and stone fruit notes. This is a very complex hop that, when isolated, truly showcases the abundant amount of intricacies in one hop and is a very drinkable IPA.

No. 3: Hallertau Mittelfrueh IPA: This German noble hop is traditionally used in many German lagers and has a very nice mellow spicy hop with great flavor and subtle citrus tones. It is another hop that is not very aggressive, and on its own, the beer drinks more like a pale ale, but showcases yet again the subtleties of these hops.

No. 4: Simcoe IPA: The Simcoe hop is the darling hop to many hop heads and is used by a vast majority of brewers as a base hop when creating IPAs – and for good reason. It is powerful, bitter, and delicious and holds within it many of the qualities we associate with IPAs. The dominant flavors and aroma of pine and grapefruit are on display here and make for a highly drinkable IPA.

No. 5: Zeus IPA: The Zeus hop is another aggressive hop that has a lot of qualities that we love in IPAs, imparting very strong notes of pine and that wonderful West Coast IPA dankness, along with a subtle earthy citrus characteristic. This beer on its own is another great IPA for hop heads.

Finishing this beer experiment with Latitude 48 IPA makes for a much richer and enjoyable drinking experience now that our palates are acclimated to the specific hop flavors. Within this beer, we can easily identify the pine, grapefruit, floral tastes, and aromas. Once you are able to deconstruct a beer, it makes it much easier for your palate to do this task going forward with other beers, making all beer drinking experiences richer and more engaging.

The Latitude 48 variety pack is not only extremely educational for craft beer lovers, but is also delicious and very enjoyable for all fans of IPAs. Grab yourself a variety pack today and raise a glass to thank the good brewers at Sam Adams for a job well done!