America is full of beers that have acquired cult status, even bordering on legendary. Every time I meet with a fellow beer geek I am being recommended all manner of stuff; seemingly Colorado is home to some excellent breweries; of course California has Sierra Nevada and the Stone Brewing Company; here in Virginia we (can I say we after a couple of months?) have a slew of craft brewers; and then there are the likes of Samuel Adams and Brooklyn (who I hope make beers better than their pilsner). As is my habit before I go somewhere new, I like to do a bit of research about local beers, and I make it my intention to seek them out, one such brewer that I knew of and was keen to try their wares was the near mythical Dogfish Head. My friend Mark gave me a copy of an article about them some time ago in Prague and my interest was piqued, especially by the concept of continual hopping.
Not only had Mark given me an article about them, but another of my friend's, Jay, had mentioned that since his return from Prague, they had become one of his favourite breweries, notably the 60 Minute IPA. Thus when Jay descended from Philadelphia, he came bearing gifts - 11 bottles, and a can, of varied American craft beer, whose names now grace my Little Cellar Holdings list to the left of this site.
Now, I had certain pre-conceived notions as to what this would taste like. You know the score, American made IPA, so it will be heavy of the C-hops, lots of citrus and hoppy bite but not much of a malty sweetness to back it up. Oops, again my expectations proved to be wrong.
The colour was a beautiful clear amber, as you can see from the pictures, and the head was fairly minimal though came back to life when the glass was swished around. The nose took me aback, where was the grapefruit and orange I expected? There were nice lemon notes there, just not in the abundance I expected, the dominant smell was a sweet toffee laced with cocoa, I was intrigued. Tastewise, the hops and malt were nicely balanced, a good caramelly sweet body with the spiciness of the hops playing off it to perfection. God this was good beer, really, really good beer. Where I was expecting to be sucking lemons and making that sour drink face, this was lusciously smooth, even creamy and so dangerously easy to drink.
Quite simply a lovely beer