Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed Vol I plus Bonus Nine Days Havdalah Guide

This week's Sunday Night Suds begins a survey of the Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed Box and also includes a Nine Days Havdalah guide.

As mentioned in last week's SNS post, I have been in touch with the Star-K and have been advised that all five of the limited editions of the Latitude 48 IPA are in fact kosher. I'yh I will be reviewing them in various SNS columns over the next month or so.

One of the best new IPAs introduced during the last few years is the Samuel Adams Latitude 48. The name of the beer draws from the five types of hops used in the brew process which all grow along the 48th latitude within the "hop belt" of the Northern Hemisphere. Earlier this year, Samuel Adams introduced its limited edition Deconstructed Box which features beers brewed with just one of the five hop varieties used in the Latitude 48.

For this week's post I sampled the Hallertau Mitterfrueh version of the Latitude 48. As noted on the back of the bottle, the Hallertau Mitterfrueh is a traditional variety of Bavaria's Hallertau hops. These hops are added at three points during the brew process - bittering, late kettle and dry hopping. Hallertau Mitterfrueh hops contribute a soft bitterness, along with delicate lemony citrus and resinous pine notes, balanced by a slight sweetness and full body from the five different malts.

From the moment that I opened the bottle and well before I poured it into my Samuel Adams glass, I could smell the hops in this brew. However, the dark amber beer was not as bitter as I expected and was quite drinkable. The beer held its lacing for a long time and the aftertaste lingered, even after I snuck a piece of Sarah's chocolate cake.

As discussed above, Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Hallertau Mittelfrueh Kolsch is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K. Like many other Samuel Adams brews, this bottle does not have the Star-K certification mark on the label.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this version of Latitude 48, please follow this link -

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Bonus section - 9 days Havdalah Guide

In years past, my email and cell phone have begun receiving messages prior to shabbos chazon (the Saturday within the summer nine days mourning period) with questions as to what would be a good choice to make havdalah on. By way of introduction, on Saturday nights after the evening prayer is said, Jews have a special set of blessings that are said by which we separate between the holy shabbos and the rest of the week. There is a custom to say this prayer on a cup of wine, however this custom needs modification when the Saturday falls during the nine days of mourning.

As noted by the Orthodox Union on their website:

Meat and wine are prohibited during the Nine Days, except on Shabbat. Meat and wine are associated both with joy AND with Temple service. Both reasons combine to explain this prohibition.Even though havdala is officially after Shabbat, one is permitted to drink wine. It is preferable to give the wine to a child who is old enough to understand brachot but not yet old enough to understand the concept of "mourning for Jerusalem". Alternately, some authorities recommend the use of a substitute beverage for havdala such as fruit juice, beer, etc. Other authorities insist on wine as usual.

Should your local Rabbi direct you to utilize non-wine in your havdalah, there are multiple options to use to fulfill the havdalah requirement. Indeed, my father in law will use diet soda (or as he says "diet pop"). I recall as a child seeing my father on one occasion use hard alcohol for havdalah (and then burn the decorative plate my sibling made when he tried to put out the candle).

To me, the simplest answer to the havdalah dilemma (and one that is widely recommended by rabbinic authorities) is to use beer, which in the time of the talmud was called chamra d'medina - the wine of the masses. This brings us to the reason I get more summer phone calls and email around this time every year - which beer would I recommend?

The number one problem with the question is that most people who ask it don't generally drink beer, so they need to have something to use for havdalah that won't have them making faces in their attempt to drink the halachic minimum level for the blessing. The second problem is that since the havdalah cup is imbibed on its own (i.e. without the benefit of food) people who might be inclined to have a beer with a meal will still have problems finishing their cup when the beer is consumed on its own.

The easiest solution is not to have beer, but instead to make havdalah on what is commonly called alcopop. These are malt beverage drinks with some similarities to beer and a beer-like 5% alcohol content by volume, but do not have the beer taste. Some examples are the Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) Twisted Teas or the Smirnoff Twisted V/Twisted Ice line. Please be aware that not every flavor of Smirnoff is certified Kosher. Indeed, the last time I looked at the CRC list, only the following flavors were certified kosher: Green Apple, Mango, Passionfruit, Raspberry Burst, Watermelon and Wild Grape (I am unaware of whether there is actual grape in this beverage). For the complete list of those Smirnoff products and other alcopops approved by the CRC, please click here .

If you do like beer, or would like to drink something that is more manly than alcopop, the next step up would be an American wheat beer or some of the better Summer Ales. Many of these beers have been reviewed on the pages of this blog and you can search through prior Sunday Night Suds reviews to find one that might appeal to you.

If you are a beer aficionado, you obviously won't need this post to tell you which ale or lager you should crack open for havdalah.

May the world have a tikkun from our three weeks/nine days observances and may tisha b'av soon be transformed to the holiday that the gemara tells it will be in the times of moshiach bimheira biyamenu.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

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