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Friday, November 03, 2006 

Dogfish Head: The IPAs

Dogfish Head of Milton, Delaware, has become one of the most popular names in brewing amongst the craft drinking populace. Known for their "Extreme Brewing" the brewery often seems like a satire, that is until you try their beer. Yes, they make their own malt liquor and founder, Sam Calagione has his own hiphop outfit called the Pain Relievaz (his moniker is Funkmaster IBU). On the other side, Dogfish knows looks to history making beer-like beverages that go back thousands of years (their Chateau Jiahu is their version of an ancient Chinese elixir). Through all of this, what Dogfish Head is probably known best for is it's delicious India Pale Ales. And sadly, none of these are available in California.

60 Minute IPA

85 / 100

This is the Dogfish Head flagship beer and a delicious one at that. It's has a biscuit-like hop character that separates it from the monsters made on the West Coast. This is distinctly East Coast and one of the best examples of it. The hops are mellowed out by a nutty backbone, but they are definitely present and quite sweet. Smooth tasting and quite drinkable.

90 Minute IPA

90 / 100

One of the first Double IPAs, I've ever had, it stills seems to be the dictionary definition of what one is. There are better, there's tons worse - but this since this was my starting point and characterizes the style well - I often use this for the jump off. The hops in this are huge. West Coast huge. The flavor, though, is less pine and citrus than those out here. It far more raisin and candied fruit. I like this more than the 60 because I like the bigness and how well it's balanced.

120 Minute IPA

83 /100

On the other side of things the 120 smashes the balance. The 60 comes in a 6 pack, the 90 in a 4 pack, this comes solo - all for about the same price. This beer polarizes the beer faithful: some think it went too far, others love it. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's an experiment - I've heard it described as a "pixie stick hop bomb" - but I think it does what it does well. It's a thick, viscous syrup - think afterdinner drink (and at roughly 20% ABV, it's proofed like one). The aroma is afterdinner drinkish too - sweet almost plum brandy. It's sweet, it's hops-in-your-face, it's overboard - all that it's supposed to be, but also quite tasty. The version I had was from 2004, so the hops have likely mellowed out a bit. I'd love to try it fresh.

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