Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
Well it's summer time and the weather is sweet. And that means backyard barbecues, pool parties, and brouhahas. Now whether or not you're going to a BYOB or furnishing drinks at your own place, a solid summer beer is a must for any of those situations. And that's when I'm going to reach for one of two brews from Samuel Adams: Latitude 48, a medium-bodied, hop forward IPA, or Noble Pils, a hop heavy pilsner with a crisp finish.
Both of these beers from Boston brewer Sam Adams are great choices for
a party. Firstly, they're widely available, meaning you can find either
of them at Publix or your local liquor store. They're also inexpensive,
clocking in anywhere from $13 to $15 for a 12-pack -- an extremely
reasonable price for a beer of this quality. Notice I said 12-pack --
while most of your craft beer-loving friends will be relegated to
bringing sixers to the party, these offerings from Sam can easily be
found in double that size. Also very party friendly.
But here's what I really love about both beers -- they have
extraordinary hop character that goes great with spicy food, barbecue,
or just a lot of sun. Both hold up well in an outdoor setting, too.
With Latitude 48, the hop character is owing to its inclusion of a
blend of hops from the "hop belt," each originating "close to" the 48th
parallel. There's everything from German-style Haullertau to British
East Kent Golding in here, and what you end up with is a beer that
doesn't just have hop bitterness or aroma, but is chock full of grassy,
piney hop flavor. The beer is amber in color and malty, so there's some
backbone to match that hops, even though the little buds are the true
stars in this one.
Noble Pils is a similar brew in that its spicy, piney hop character is
the focal point. Where it differs from Latitude 48 is the body. This
crystaline pilsner is clean and crisp, with a golden color and subtle fruit undertones. The hop presence isn't as strong as 48 either, but because
the body is lighter, those noble German hops still dominate the
profile. As a pilsner, it's more refreshing on a hot day than 48,
but you the overall character of this one is still grassy hop flavor,
not just bitterness or aroma.
Both of these brews should be widely available still, though Noble Pils
is a seasonal and has been on the market for a few months, so you may
see it start to disappear as summer winds on. I suggest you do what
I do -- stock up on a few 12-packs, so you're ready to go where ever
the party takes you.