Another entry in my occasional series of posts about variety 12-packs…
Samuel Adams IPA Hopology Variety 12-Pack
Hopology was made for hop-heads like me. I’ll let the Boston Beer Company explain: “Each IPA takes on a different hop character and builds upon it with layers of complex flavors inspired by unique combinations of ingredients and fusions with other beer styles. Hopology is perfect for sampling the spectrum of flavors available in IPAs today.”
Hopology features three beers that were previously available only in 22-ounce bombers — Third Voyage, Tasman Red, and Dark Depths — and a new limited release beer, Grumpy Monk.
I studied Hopology over a Saturday afternoon on March 2, 2013.
Where I found it: In the General Store at Franklins — carry-out brew after our President’s Day dinner.
Beers: Two bottles of six different beers:
1. Whitewater IPA
Hop Varieties: Topaz, Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe, and Citra
Special Ingredients: apricots, coriander, orange peel
From the label: This unique and flavorful brew fuses two styles, with a twist of our own. The crisp white wheat, sweet citrus orange peel, and spicy coriander of a white ale form the base of this refreshing brew. The big hoppiness and grapefruit notes of an IPA bring the flavor to a new bold level. Our addition of apricots brings these flavors together and creates a soft fruit undertone and balance.
My take: I love this cross-breed – clean, refreshing, and full of flavor.
2. Grumpy Monk
Hop Varieties: Ahtanum, Simcoe, Cascade, Amarillo, Fuggles, and Saaz
From the label: The long held brewing traditions of Belgian monks aren’t meant to be broken. Yet, to the monks’ dismay, the distinctive character of Belgian yeast with its spicy clove and fruit notes can be reimagined when combined with the brazen hop character of an IPA. These hops impart a citrusy, piney, and earthy flavor that’s balanced by a roasted malt sweetness for a complex and playful brew.
My take: Another beautiful cross-breed – a Belgian IPA. Great label!
3. Latitude 48 IPA
Hop Varieties: Hallertau Mittelfrueh, East Kent Goldings, Zeus, Simcoe, Ahtanum
From the label: Our new 2013 release introduces Mosaic hops, a new hop from the Pacific Northwest. They add a burst of citrus notes to the distinctive layers of German, English and other American hops, all from the growing regions near the “hop belt” of the 48th Latitude.
My take: A smooth, well-balanced, and straight-forward IPA. Eminently drinkable.
4. Tasman Red
Hop Varieties: Topaz, Galaxy
From the label: This wily red IPA gets its character from the Tasmanian hops that are full of grapefruit, pine, and earthy notes creating a bold flavor that threads throughout the taste. The hops are balanced by a core of roasty malts that give this brew body and richness with hints of toffee. This flavorful brew is rounded and smooth with a dry and citrusy hop finish.
My take: Billed as “Bold, Lively, and a Bit Rugged,” and I have to agree – this brew is a little rough around the edges. It’s on the maltier side of an IPA.
5. Dark Depths
Hop Varieties: Zeus, Ahtanum, Saaz, Simcoe, East Kent Goldings, Topaz
From the label: Across the cold and brackish waters of the Baltic, the English porter was transformed, from a mild ale to a dark and complex lager that confounds definition. Immersed in dark, roasted malts and a bold citrus hop character, these big and contrasting flavors are brought together with the smoothness of a lager for a brew that’s rugged, mysterious, and full of flavor.
My take: This dark and rich IPA is more like a Porter than an IPA.
6. Third Voyage
Hop Varieties: Cascade and Simcoe
From the label: This unique Double IPA takes the style’s origins a step further. IPAs were born out of making an ale that could sustain along voyage. For our take, we were inspired by the indomitable Captain James Cook whose 3rd voyage made him the first to navigate a treacherous route from England to New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest. Using Cascade hops from each of these regions we created a brew that’s citrusy, earthy, and full of bold character.
My take: My favorite of the 12-pack.
Best Beer: Exploring this 12-pack takes some endurance. The road starts out easy with Whitewater IPA and Grumpy Monk, and then you hit a couple of bumps in the road with Tasman Red and Dark Depths. But you’re rewarded at the end with a smooth Third Voyage.