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Beer Review #47 60 Minute IPA

Yet another beer review, yet another beer from Dogfish Head. This is probably one of my favorite beers period. It is called a 60 Minute IPA because the hops are added for a full 60 minutes and that is how long the boil is. I really wouldn’t consider this an IPA if I didn’t know they called it one, in my mind it falls under more of a Pale Ale than anything.

DFH 60 Minute IPA pours a nice golden/copper color and is perfectly clear. It also has a nice fluffy off-white head as well. The nose on this beer is wonderful. There is some malt and bready flavors but the main thing that you get is floral hops. Lots of them, and they are super bright, which is nice. I don’t know if I got a fresh bottle but the hops/beer just smelled fresh. I’ve clearly had this beer more than once and all of them have had a similar nose.

On the first taste the thing I really noticed is how balanced the beer is. The hops and malt just meld wonderfully. The malt is the taste that you get upfront but it is quickly followed by a smooth hop finish. In addition to being smooth it is also very crisp. There is also a pleasant hop left on the tongue. 60 Minute IPA is medium bodied an has great carbonation.

This is just a drinkable beer; a solid beer all the way around. There isn’t much more than I can say about it. It is on the light end of an IPA and maybe on the aggressive end of a Pale Ale, but as I said earlier, I really think this is mislabeled and should be presented as a pale ale. If you are a fan of either types of these styles of beers, you will enjoy this offering. I know that I can’t wait to clear out some space in the fridge to get another sixer of it. (more…)

My brewery/brewpub

If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you should know that want to start a brewery or brewpub with my good buddy Pete. It has been something that has consumed my mind for longer than any single idea/dream ever has. The only thing that has been in my head on a more constant basis is my wife (awwwe). And according to Stuff White People Like “most white people want to open a microbrewery at some point.  One that uses organic hops.” I don’t know about the organic hops part, but the first part of that statement is true for me.

I have been reading The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery since I got it back in early January. While a book does not give you everything you need, it surely has helped me in thinking about what I need to do to make this dream a reality. I also read Brewing Up a Business and Beer School which have also been very useful. I think I could handle the beer part and even create a “culture” for my business, but connecting all of the dots seems like a task.

The other thing that you need to look at is the numbers. According to the Brewers Association figures, for every brewpub that closes 1.3 opens. Not exactly encouraging figures, but I’m guess a lot of that is do to the harshness of the restaurant business as a restaurant with a brewery on premises closes at one tenth the rate of a restaurant without one. Promising! Microbreweries have a much better outlook. For each one that closes 3.7 have opened on average for the past 3 years. I kind of want to go the route of Dogfish Head and start with a brewpub and get all of the kinks worked out and have a reliable product and steady cash flow to support opening a full scale brewery.

I am also encouraged by guys like Monday Night Brewery who were a group of friends who loved beer and decided to start a brewery with a unique style. Their blog is fairly hilarious as well and they also drop lots of great information on starting a brewery and the like. One of my favorite breweries back home is Victory, which I can actually purchase in Lubbock (score). They have grown by leaps and bounds and they started as two college roommates who loved beer. Much like Pete and myself I might add.

My brewery or brewpub is still very much a pipe dream at this point, but I think I am going to start posting about my thoughts and ideas on it here and get some feedback. Even if I don’t get feedback it will give me a place to put down all of my ideas and allow me to develop my dream a bit more. Also writing it down helps it become more real in a sense.

Beer Review #32 Punkin Ale

11-05-02As I said before, seasonal beers in Lubbock are extremely hard to come by, but Dogfish Head did not disappoint as there is plenty of Punkin Ale to go around. Punkin Ale has become one of my favorite seasonal beers that I really never tire of. As normal for Dogfish the label explains exactly what you should expect from the beer. Punkin Ale’s label reads, “[a] full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.”

Those spices are pretty common in pumpkin beers but the use of real pumpkin is somewhat unusual as is the use of brown sugar. The beer pours a golden amber, almost orange with a nice off-white head. The head is composed of a mix of tiny bubbles and medium bubbles. Punkin Ale is also crystal clear.

The nose of the beer is mostly spice with some pumpkin undertones. The nutmeg and cinnamon really stand out. There is some malt toastyness and no hint of hops at all. This is one of the only pumpkin beers I’ve ever had that actually has some actual pumpkin smell on the nose. After taking my first sip I was amazed at how well balanced the beer was.

11-05-05

11-05-04There is real pumpkin flavor, some spices, and malt. The spices probably stand out the most, but all of the flavors mesh so well together. Refreshing is a word that comes to mind because nothing pushes out another. Most seasonal beers seem to have one ingredient or flavor that overtakes the beer. Not so with Punkin Ale.

There is a medium body to the beer and it has good carbonation to it. Overall it is very drinkable and enjoyable. This is by far the best pumpkin based beer that I have had to date. Punkin Ale comes in at 7% ABV which is pretty much on par with most of Dogfish Head’s other offerings. If you like pumpkin beers this is the granddaddy of them all (in my book anyway). Just a wonderfully balanced, drinkable beer that captures pumpkin flavor. (more…)

Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head

09-19-01I’ve been really interested in learning everything about Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head for the past few weeks. Part of it stems from wanting to brew a pumpkin ale and the other is that I’m reading Brewing Up a Business right now. I’m really enjoying both aspects of my interest right now if you cared to know.

I’ve been reading a lot of interviews, question and answer sessions,  and also watching Youtube items about Dogfish and Sam. The most interesting thing to me is their approach to beer and how I would love to do something similar. Maybe not make the types of beer they do, but more on how they approach the business and brewing. Dogfish Head started as a brewpub and then grew into a production brewery. They still use their brewpub to do test batches and brew something new every 2 weeks. I think it is great that a company that is as established as Dogfish Head is willing to keep innovating and testing out new things.

The brewpub to production brewery approach is something that I would love to do myself one day. Granted this is far off if it ever did happen but it is a blast to think about. I find myself researching brewpubs, financing, and all types of statistics to help fuel my dream. What does this all mean now, well, nothing. I’m going to keep homebrewing and coming up with beers that I enjoy but I want to gain as much knowledge as I can before I ever seriously flirt with the business.

Below are a few clips about Dogfish Head and Sam Calagione. The first two are from his rap group (yup a rap group) that raps about beer. The second on in particular is from their Boston Light Beer Party where they dump crapy light beers into Boston Harbor. The last clip is over an hour long and Sam is talking to Google staff about his business and their approach. It was very informative and a really fun watch. [Edit: The videos just took up too much space on the main page, just click the read more link to see them] (more…)

09-13-01

Pumpkin Ale

09-13-01It is getting around that time of year to start thinking about Pumpkin Ales. There are a ton commercially out there nowadays but a homebrewer is never satisfied. Last year I made a Pilgrim Porter that had four pounds of pumpkin put into the boil kettle. It was an extract batch with some specialty grains in there, but it was wonderful. To date it is my wife’s favorite beer that I have made. This year I think I’m going to take a different approach.

In the Pilgrim Porter I was more looking for a Thanksgiving beer that was rich in flavor and had some hints of pumpkin pie in there. This year I want to make a stronger beer that has more pumpkin flavor, nice mouthfeel, and most importantly a great aftertaste. Something along the lines of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, which happens to be my favorite pumpkin style beer. DFH had the following video on their site about their Pinkin Ale.

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Well what do I take away from this? First are the three ways they add flavor and sugar to this beer; pumpkin meat in the mash, brown sugar in the boil, and spices at the end of the boil. I had already planned on doing the same thing but it is nice to know I was on the right track. The second thing is the color, it is orange and looks like a pumpkin. Something to shoot for. Lastly is that they didn’t want it to be too much like pumpkin pie or spice, but has to have pumpkin flavor.

I’m still working on a recipe, and seeing that pumpkins are not going to be in the stores for a little longer it gives me time to plan out my beer. I’m not sure if I want to add brown sugar or not or something more along the lines of a honey or even no adjuncts at all. I know that I do not want to used canned pumpkin but fresh. I think my spice rack has everything I need in it already but I do need to get some fresh cinnamon. I will get a recipe up here as soon I complete it and I will keep you updated on the progress once it starts.