Sam Adams recently gave hop heads a peek behind the curtain of the Boston brewery’s signature IPA with Latitude 48 Deconstructed. The six-pack contained a bottle of Latitude 48, along with five versions each containing a single one of the five hops used in the beer. It was a great opportunity to taste the difference between Kent, Mosaic, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Simcoe and Zeus varieties of every beer lover’s favorite flower.
We gathered at Wild Heaven Craft Beers to taste each of the beers, and photographer Chris Rank of Rank Studios captured it all with time-lapse photography:
Here’s what we tasted in each of the hops (with the most specific notes coming from Wild Heaven chief brewer Eric Johnson):
One of the harshest of the hops has a very woody, herbal flavor with a touch of mintiness.
When a hop tastes “citrusy,” it might be from the Mosaic hops. Lots of pear and tropical-fruit notes coming through as well.
Johnson calls this “the noblest of the Noble Hops,” meaning the best of the European strain of hops that are very aromatic but not truly bitter. He also reckons that more brewers would use it if Sam Adams didn’t already buy up most of the crop for Boston Lager. The flavor of classic herbs—time, oregano rosemary—make this a savory hop with a beautiful nose and clean finish. Elegant, well-balanced and nuanced with a great spicy complexity.
Simcoe is a trendy (and tasty) piney hop with bright resins and juniper notes. It smells dank and weedy like good Colombia reefer.
Another piney hop with big peppercorn notes, Zeus is balanced with fruit flavors like apricot and guava.
The Mittelfrueh and Simcoe come through strongest, but overall, the beer has a great balance with citrus and herbal spice on the nose and a long, pleasant finish.