Want to train your palate to distinguish the different hop flavors in your IPA? The Boston Beer Co. has an educational aid that’s indispensable for experiencing the difference between hops from around the world.
Latitude 48 is an IPA from Samuel Adams that highlights the contributions of the world’s different hop-growing regions along the 48th latitude (or “hop belt” -- where the bines grow best). From the Yakima Valley in Washington to Bavaria’s classic hop fields, the brew blends the unique character of each region into a complex, and rather tasty, IPA.
The craft giant also offers a unique learning opportunity with their special edition Latitude 48 -- Deconstructed box. The 12-pack contains not only the standard Latitude 48 beer but also five different single-hop versions each highlighting one of the signature hop varieties in the brew.
All five single-hop bottles are indeed quite hoppy, but each has a very distinct character. Some are fantastic all by themselves, while others are better appreciated as part of the blend. The five hop varieties spotlighted in the Latitude 48 blend (and some alternative brews that feature them) are:
East Kent Goldings -- The classic English hop variety, Goldings are fruity, herbaceous and even a bit woody with an earthiness that most American hop varieties lack. Firestone Walker’s flagship DBA is an English-style pale ale that features East Kent Golding hops.
Hallertau Mittelfrueh -- One of the five Noble Hop varieties (the classic European aroma hops), the Bavarian-grown Hallertau has a zesty, spicy, and floral quality that is a signature of the Continental lagers. It is one of the primary sources of hop character in Boston Beer’s ubiquitous Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
Simcoe -- One of the fashionable hops for American craft brewers, Simcoe is known for its extremely pungent pine and grapefruit aroma that is often tinged with an earthiness that some equate to onions. Russian River Brewing’s Row 2, Hill 56 Pale Ale is occasionally on tap around town, and it is forceful example of the complex character of Simcoe.
Mosaic -- From the Yakima Valley, Mosaic is the new hotness on the craft scene, and the hop is known for a vibrant explosion of tropical fruit, citrus and blueberry flavors and aromas. Beer geeks go wild for this exciting new variety, and El Segundo Brewing Co has just released a Mosaic version of its Blue House Pale Ale that will show you why.
Zeus -- Befitting the name, Zeus is known for being aggressively bitter and more resinous than a whole bottle of Pine Sol. Most often seen as part of the “CTZ” hop blend popular in West Coast style IPAs, it’s a hop that usually plays a background role and does not make the most pleasant single-hop brew.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times