I talk a lot about the expectations I might have whe trying a beer for the first time. This usually gets me in trouble, as you can never tell what a beer tastes like by looking at a bottle, or reading the brewers description. With all the talk that surrounds Dogfish Head and their 90 Minute IPA, I began to think it was just an East Coast version of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. There go those stupid expectations, getting me in trouble again.
First, let me say that Pliny the Elder is a fantastic beer. It takes the idea of a double hopped, doubly strong IPA to another level. That being said, 90 Minute IPA is a completely different beer.
I poured the 90 Minute IPA into a tulip glass, hoping to really capture the aroma of the hops. What impressed me was the color of this beer. In the glass it appeared as if it were frothy honey. The aroma was more sweet than hoppy, which was a huge surprise. Again, honey struck my senses, as well as caramel and a definite base of bitter hops.
On the first taste, an intense balance of sweet and bitter washes over your tongue. Very different from the floral, citrusy hops of the west coast that announce their presence like a punch in the face, these hops are more restrained in their character, blending with the malt to create a unified flavor profile. The high alcohol content is barely noticeable as you’re more drawn to the depth of the beer. This is a sweet, powerful nectar, deserving of the high praise that surrounds the brewery.
I am again saddened to finish another bottle of beer from far away, but this time I am a little less disappointed, since I know that more from Dogfish Head will be arriving in local store (supposedly). So until I get a chance to try those brews, I’ll daydream about the 90 Minute IPA.