Day #6 – Dogfish Head 60 Minute India Pale Ale

January 7, 2011


How could so small a word, and a mere plant be so crucial to a beer? Without hops, a beer just wouldn’t be complete. Hops are only one piece of a 4 piece puzzle to craft a beer. The 4 main components of a quality beer are malted barley, hops, water and yeast.

The hop plant originated from the Bavarian regions of Europe and still continue to grow there today. The flowering bud of the hop plant is the piece used in brewing, and it has several key benefits to impart. Hops provide a wonderful piney aroma that reminds you of Christmas trees and pine needles. They also provide that tangible bitterness that bites upfront and lingers on the finish, and probably most important of all, it acts as a natural preservative, keeping the beer fresh and unspoiled. Brewers began using hops in brewing as early as the 11th century, but the preserving qualities were not discovered until much later when Great Britain began exporting beer to their colonies in India. They realized that if they over-hopped the beer, it would arrive unspoiled and with a lovely pine aroma and flavor. Thus the India Pale Ale style was born.

To break into the world of hoppy beers, I’ve decided to begin with something that isn’t too crazy but still has enough strength to appeal to the crazies. There is absolutely a cult following of hoppy beers, which are affectionately referred to as “Hop Heads”. These individuals crave the bitter punch the hop plant can provide, and more and more recently brewers have been delivering these over-the-top examples. But for my purposes, no need to get too crazy on the first week right?

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head Brewery went from a small 1-man operation in 1995 to one of the foremost up and coming craft brewers in the United States today.  They began with a small brewpub at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with only a 10 barrel capacity brewery.  They soon expanded to open up a full service brewery in Milton, DE and now export all over the country.  The recent Discovery TV documentary “Brew Masters” has helped even further expose Dogfish Head beers to the general public.  You can expect to see episode 6 coming soon.

An IPA is to be served out of a regular shaker glass or a tulip.

This beer pours a fairly clear golden orange color with a frothy white head.  There is a steady stream of bubbles emanating from the bottom of the glass to keep the head consistent at the top.

The aroma is upfront hops which is to be expected.  The variety is of pine needles, tree sap and forest wood.  There is a slight aged quality to this beer with gives it almost an earthy tone.  The hop presence is there but not so overbearing as to bowl you over on the nose.

Light to medium body give this a heavier than water mouthfeel, and the taste is very much bitter hops.  They are the first thing to be tasted as well as the last lingering bitterness on the aftertaste.  Towards the middle of the taste however is a woody, grain-like flavor that serves to round out this beer.  It is not so one-sided to only have hops on the flavor but matches the bold hoppy taste with other elements as well.  The finish is fairly dry and bitter, but if you are an IPA lover this will be right up your alley.

This IPA is pretty representative of the style, and carries a 6% ABV with it to make it just barely sessionable.  Hop Heads rejoice!



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