Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA is where the Boston Beer Company’s brewers show off their hop knowledge. They use hops from several spots around the world – all at around the Northern Hemisphere’s 48th parallel to – to create an interesting blend of hop flavors. These hops include: Hallertau Mittelfreuh from Germany, East Kent Golding from England and Simcoe, Zeus, Mosaic and Ahtanum all from the state of Washington.
The beer pours a deep, clear bronze color with a big white head that eventually simmers down. The first scent is a very strong whiff of pine resin. This is the dominant hop flavor early on. There’s also a little bit of citrus and an almost hidden herbal flavor. The malt gives caramel and dry, nutty flavors, making one think of a brown ale. Where the previously reviewed hop-experiment, Gotterdammerung used the malt mostly as a canvas to paint on with hops, here the malt holds up on its own. As the beer warms, the hopping becomes more complex with puckering lemon and a stronger herbal flavor. The pine, which was domineering (even to someone who likes piney IPAs), thankfully tones down. The malt also develops more complexity with a very mild chocolate note and some apples and pears.
There’s a lot going on here, but at first it really gets overshadowed by the pine. This beer should be given time to open up a bit. This is certainly a good, balanced IPA, but as a beer aimed at hopheads it doesn’t impress as much as some others.