It’s the 4th of July, so to celebrate the independence of the former colonies I thought it only appropriate to drink a beer from Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution of a new, independent United States of America.
Dogfish Head is a highly celebrated brewery and their flagship beer, 60 Minute IPA, is one of the most popular interpretations of the hop-forward American IPA. It’s an innovative brew, continuously hopped throughout the 60 minute boil (once using an old-fashioned vibrating electric football game to shake hop pellets into the wort).
And it’s rare in the UK, too. All Dogfish Head beers are – the company don’t even distribute to all 50 US states. But recently the name has been on British supermarket shelves on bottles of DNA, a collaboration with Dogfish and Charles Wells. DNA uses a 60 Minute IPA reduction, which is blended into a Charles Wells pale ale to make a beer that supposedly straddles the slightly differing styles found in the UK and the US.
Unfortunately, DNA was a bit of a flop in terms of consumer reviews. It wasn’t what many Brits were expecting from such a highly rated American craft brewery. But luckily, I’ve got hold of some of the good stuff, before it’s been reduced and diluted.
It’s an absolutely clear gold colour, like someone has condensed our recent warm weather into a glass. A soft white head is maintained by a couple of streams of bubbles.
It smells marmaladey, candied orange peel and a slight jammy sweetness. There’s a grassy, green hop oil smell that isn’t too pungent – it isn’t the thick, heavy resinous of other American IPAs. Maybe this, being closer to the UK being on from the East Coast, is closer to the British style of IPA.
It isn’t sticky, or thick, or cloying. It is absolutely perfectly balanced. The flavour is biscuitty, with more of the candied orange peel and grassy, citrussy hop note. It isn’t really bitter as such – the sweet malts and the orange zest flavours are allowed to come through, with the unique hopping method ensuring the hops were not boiled just for their bitterness. The delicate flavours of grapefruit and herbs flourish on a sweet grainy background.
The mouthfeel is exceptional, with the carbonation breaking up the flavours and refreshing the palate with subtlety. The liquid is light and clean – absolutely no stickiness at all. It is satiating, letting the flavours linger and fade away without being interrupted by gassy burps or a drying mouth.
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA is the very best American IPA I have ever tasted. The sooner DNA is replaced by this in British bars the better.
God bless America.