Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

I know on my hunt for great craft beer I always pick up something that I have never had before but there are some situations that are different from others. Usually in the case of the major breweries. I tend to go to their website and look at their whole line up and see what they have released and if possible when it is coming out. Dogfish is doing quite a bit at the moment. They have a few beers out that I have never even heard of but I did not waste a moment picking up the ones I could find, case in point. Dogfish Head 75 minute. Totally surprised me. I had no idea it was on a major bottle release right now.

I have had the 60 Minute and 90 Minute quite a bit. I even had a taste of their 120 minute before the quality issues a few years back. 120 was actually the first IPA that I cared for and it really opened my eyes to what an IPA could really taste like. I drank quite a few of them before and I could not find anything I liked in the style. Anyway, 75 Minute, as I last knew it to be, is a blend of the 60 Minute and the 90 Minute. I was always interested in what this would taste like. I even took a bottle of 60 and 90 and mixed them in a glass at home just to simulate it before because I thought I would never get my hands on it.

I found this one at The Friendly Spot, so I had to drink it out of a plastic cup. I tried to give it the full, deserved, respect though. I poured it and let the head build on this one, and let it settle before topping it up. It was insanely big… unless that was an effect of the plastic cup, and it was quite long lasting.

I thought the aroma was light, but I was also outdoors and I was sticking my nose deep in there trying to pick it out. It seemed piney and really reminded me of the two beers that were blended to make it… it actually reminded me a lot of a Dogfish Head ale.

So, when it comes to Dogfish Head, I try everything they release but I am hardly ever too impressed by what I drink. I mean, nothing against the brewers. There are a few year rounds I will pick up depending on overall store selection and I love their passion and respect for beer, but the only ones that I really loved and I called must haves again were Pangaea (a total gimmick beer), and Bitches Brew. Love those two. Let me explain Pangaea, an ingredient from every continent. That is totally gimmicky, but I love that brew. What else do I have to say?

The taste, exactly what I expected. It tasted just like a Dogfish Brew… well, for the most part. I usually find them to be really syrupy/malty but not so much in this case. It still had that thick bodied but it leaned more toward the lighter end like the 60 Minute. I love how Dogfish doesn’t go for the hop bomb bitterness with these beers but more the grassy, citrus flavor profile. It is a side of hops that many brewers overlook in this style. It’s sweet but balanced. There are notes of maple that are somewhat difficult to pick out but they lingered well into the finish. One thing I always appreciated in these brews is the low level of natural carbonation. Makes it very smooth to drink being they are not your average IPAs. You can always pick their brews out when next to something else.

Overall, I liked the 75 Minute IPA. I still think 60 is my favorite but I love to explore the other continuously hopped ales. I cannot wait to find 120 Minute again… That day, I hope, will be magical. Like finding a long lost friend.



Black Butte 20th Anniversary

You know when you are asked to do one of those things that you really do not want to do, but it comes from a friend and you would feel like a dick saying no? Well, sometimes, saying yes works in ways you would never even dream of.

One of my buddy’s asked me if I could help her move into her new apartment. No one ever wants to do this job. I mean, you are always offered pizza and beer and say yes. You don’t really want the pizza and you know going to the store and picking out the beer of your choice is a better investment of your time, but you always say whatever and go ahead on with it. Well, when I was pulling one box in I saw something magical that struck my eyes. A bottle of Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewing Company. Now, that wasn’t the magical part about it. What was so mesmerizing was the fact that the cap said 1988-2008.

Now this was not an anniversary release bottle like Black Butte XXIII, which I have a bottle of in the cellar just waiting for the right occasion to be opened, but it was a normal batch brewed as they have been doing for years. My main interest was to see how the bottle lasted over the years. Granted I didn’t know the conditions in which it was held, but at this point I really do not care. Deschutes is one of the top producing company’s as well, so I know quality of product would keep it, at least, in some drinkable fashion.

I asked my friends a little bit about the bottles history and apparently her uncle used to be an avid homebrewer but then he kind of stopped like brewers do from time to time and he had a ton of empty bottles just collecting in his garage. He asked them to get rid of them and if they found anything, they could keep it. She said they poured out a ton of bottles that had infections growing in them since, after they were popped open, they were never properly rinsed out and dried. There were two bottles of this brew sitting in there and it kind of made it into their collection. I talked to them a bit telling them how I wanted it and they thought I was kidding. I told them I was truly not and then they were like; you don’t want to drink that… I made it pretty clear I did and then they just let me have it.

Now, they have no proper glassware, which almost made me put this beer on the back burner in order to find a glass but after about a week of not getting around to it, I just had to go for it. It was quite surprising how the head presented itself after all this time. I kind of was expecting a weak, short lived, foam top. Nope! I was wrong as hell. It was big and frothy. Even looked kind of rocky. I so wish I had proper glassware to watch how it took form.

This was one of the most beautiful beers I have seen… Ok, maybe I am just caught up in the moment but besides a bottle of Old Stock Ale that I had from 2005 that was infected, this was the oldest beer I have ever had. I have only heard stories about such things. Seriously though, it looked just like a fresh bottle from off the line. I should have saved this beer a bit longer and did a side by side tasting… Maybe I can get the other one and do that before it’s too late.

The nose was roasty and had a fair malt background to it. The mouth feel was smooth but a little thin when I first poured it but I initially did not give it the proper time to warm up. I thought the dark malt really came through after all this time, but the chocolate flavor that I love seemed to have faded into the background. Still had a quite a bit of sweetness but it did seem to be a bit toastier than I remember… then again, that’s why I wish I would have found a fresh bottle to compare it to. Maybe I am just talking crazy right now?

Remember that quality thing? Well, off flavors? None. Oxidation? None. There were literally no problems with this beer. I feel it was just as good today as it ever was. Deschutes messed up though with their anniversary editions though. As much as I love Black Butte, the limited editions completely blow it out of the water. I wish I could find more of them.



Cocoa Mole

Lips of Faith, Lips of Faith. Aww, how I do love thee. New Belgium, you already became my favorite brewery doing nothing but releasing 1554, Triple, Abbey, Ranger, Mighty Arrow, 2 Below, Somersault… well the list goes on and on. With your year round releases you already stole my heart. I even remember my first Lips of Faith brew, La Folie 2010, which also was my first sour. You just do everything that makes me love thee and enlighten me into new styles of beer.

Ok, now that I kind of got that fan boy stuff out of my system, let’s talk about a Lips of Faith beer I thought that I was going to miss, Cocoa Mole. This beer was a new release along with an older beer, Biere de Mars… unless another came out that I do not know about. I’ve had that one several times and I believe SWMBO picked me up a bottle for when I return. I’m really looking forward to finding out what the beers are for the next quarter. Always a must find.

Cocoa Mole: An Ale with Cocoa and Spices. This beer poured with a very small head and it dissipated fairly quickly. It was a nice tan/reddish color that looked great on floating on top of the beer. The nose was very spicy. Cinnamon and Nutmeg come to mind but kind of hot. It almost reminded me of the eggnog that we make every year but then the chocolate from the cocoa came through. There was so much going on that I just had to sit there and sniff it for literally 5 minutes. I made the bartender sniff it and a few other people that were with me and at the bar.

On the first sip, I was kind of torn. I didn’t really know what to expect being I only had 3 different chili beers from 3 different breweries. But the chili pepper really stood out. The blend of spices were pretty crazy as well. It all melded together by the way of cinnamon if that makes any sense and then rounded out by the cocoa… Again, I really did not know what to think of this. I was sipping on this one for a while trying to see how the flavor would evolve throughout the bottle. It was very warming and went down quite easily. I thought the medium body and fairly low carbonation helped with that as well.

There was probably a lot more to this beer within the actual malt background of it, but that is what stood out to me the most. It was really complex coming together but melded. I am still torn on this one and I would love to give it another go sometime if I can still find it. Maybe I will be able to hone in on the subtleties a bit more on and see if my New Belgium fan boyism was just not letting me not like it. I did enjoy it quite a bit but just trying to wrap my head around everything that was going on took me a minute.

New Belgium, I will forever love you… especially with you upcoming move to Ashland… I plan to be there opening day. I will be out in NC for the next several years so the odds are kind of in my favor. HAH!

I still have to make it to the original brewery though.

Cheers To You!


Getting A Dog...

When I want something from the Wife

i.e. Homebrewing equipment. More specifically a 3 Tap Draft Tower.