Friday was a special day. The MASH homebrew club was having a guest speaker attend this month’s meeting and it was special enough to plan a vacation day and attend with plenty of time beforehand to prepare. But first, there was the weekend to also plan for. I made my two legged beer run at my leisure, about 11:30 in the morning. Glorious day with temps in the low 70’s.
The first stop was the beloved Morris Beer Store. As I pulled into the fire lane in front of the door, I watched as Alessa placed some beer cases in a person’s trunk. That was a nice treat to be sure. I made my way into the store and noticed that it was busy, with a few patrons waiting at the register. Alessa picked the rhythm right back up, hammering out keys on the register and making change all with a perfect smile.
Silently, I walked around to the craft shelf. Oktoberfest be damned. I was done with Marzen lagers for a while, so this time, anything goes. Perhaps something autumn or harvest style. Back and forth, up and down across the shelf, nothing jumped out at me. A quick check of the bombers yielded nothing of palatable interest.
Back again the other way. My eyes finally rested on a sixer of a familiar brewer and a not so familiar style. The brewer was Dogfish Head and the style was an IPA. The brew in question was their 60 Minute IPA. My logical thinking went thusly: very reputable brewer, 90 Minute IPA was great, haven’t had an IPA in a while, how would it fit in with the season, what would the readers think, is it expensive. Distribute punctation accordingly.
$10.49. I grabbed it strictly based on my relative unfamiliarity with the IPA style and a mental comparison to DFH’s 90-Min IPA which I’ve reviewed before and liked. I watched Alessa as she took my money and rang up the tab. I was grinning the entire time. What a sweetie.
The rest of the day afforded me the time to make corrections to my (future all-grain) homebrew mash tun and scrape the labels off my converted beer keg boil kettle. With all of the equipment now in place, I must gather information on the rigors of all-grain brewing. Those questions will be answered later.
Friday night was the special homebrew club meeting. In attendance, the twelve members sat almost mesmerized as Marty Nachel, a professional beer judge and homebrew book author, gave a presentation. More to come about this in the Frankly post later this weekend.
I returned home from the meeting with plenty of time and mental stability to pound out a brew review, while fresh memories from the homebrew club meeting bounced their way around my cranial cavity. I situated myself on the throne in the Manly Garage and got all the accoutrements ready. It was now time to serously drink some beer, just you and me.
The first DFH60 poured with an orange tint to it, neither tinges of red nor yellow were in it. It was just a nice shade of orange. Large bubbles perked away on this first glass, madly racing to the top. The head was a scant 1/4 inch and had a slightly off-white look to it. But I’ve learned that the second glass of the same beer always takes on a different appearance than the first. The aroma had a hint of citrus to it and reminded me of grapefruit. This is gonna be good. Every beer (IPA) that I’ve had so far that had a hint of grapefruit was OK by me.
The first sip went down with a predominant taste of sweet citrusy grapefruit flavor. The malts were light in taste but full bodied. The bitterness that I had expected from this beer was hardly there, only the richness of the light malts and then all that citrus.
Any hop bitterness that may have been there were manifested in the sweet taste of citrus. I once again found it amazing as to how certain hops when combined with certain malts can give off that sweet fruity flavor.
The choice of hops, in this case a slew of great Northwestern hops is key, but the types and amounts are not specified on DFH’s site. The Pacific Northwest is the largest area in the country for growing hops of many types, but which types of hops DFH used remains a note for experimentation for homebrewers hoping to cook up a clone. The “continually hopped” label phrase which makes this beer so special, is somewhat explained on DFH’s site, 60 hop additions over a 60 minute boil, must either be done by some calibrated machine, or by a truly dedicated individual brewer.
Sip after sip, I was amazed at how easy it was to drink this beer. Knowing that the beer is highly and oftenly hopped seemed to be a nonissue with this drinker. Only the very pleasant light feel and sweet citrusy flavors of the beer were all I needed. What an absolutely delightful beer! It feels like I could drink this nectar for hours, but the 6% ABV gave me a little bit to think about while I was doing it.
Into the second glass we got a bigger head and less bubbles but still the same taste. Some finishing crispness came out, but the overall plan of sweet-light malt-citrus stuck with each sip, sip after sip. Damn! Could this be a lawnmower beer? Nah, I don’t think so… the body is too full in the middle. But the citrus swallow could convince one that the taste was good enough to be experienced over time. A long time. Swallows followed and my smile broadened.
I’d call this a slow session beer, especially for the warmer weather, but really, this beer should be experienced all year round. Full of flavor in the middle, nicely sweet all around and great finish of grapefruit citrus at the end makes for a drink that won’t develop a ring on the coffee table. I’d think that it’d be a lot of fun to offer DFH-60min. to a B/M/C drinker under the premise that it was a fruit beer just to see what his reaction would be.
DogFish Head 60 Minute IPA should be on the list of necessary shelf items of all craft beer drinkers. This is an IPA that will live in my memory for a long time to come and now makes me regret having tried this style of beer a lot sooner. But over time I’ve experienced my taste for beers maturing once I knew what what to look for in a taste. It was exactly one year ago that I seriously reviewed my first IPA at the recommendation of a reader. That IPA was Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. I remember the dark malts and the hoppy kick at the end. This time I was prepared and was summarily surprised. You must try this beer!
Taste: A > A basket of sweet citrus.
Smoothness: A > A silk blanket over the top sheet.
Drinkability: A > Drinkable to your nth degree.
Bang for the buck: B > Still worth every penny.
Sam Calagione talks about DFH60