Friday, February 24, 2012

[A Beer a Day] 120 Minute IPA | Dogfish Head Brewing | Milton, Delaware

I'll call your measly 90 and raise it to 120.
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is one of those legendary, mythical beers in that you've never tried it, but you heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw it pass out at 31 Flavors last night.

In other words, its pretty serious.

These are a category of rare to fucking-no-chance beers that are referred to in the nerd-dom as "White Whales".

Of course, some are far more unattainable than others.  Pliny the Younger, for instance, is so minimally released, it only really visits two places in the world: The Bay Area and Denver -- and they sell $5 raffle tickets just have the chance at a 10oz pour.  
Westvleteren 12, also known as Westy to mere mortals, is one of the 7 remaining Belgian Trappist Monasteries who still brew beer -- and it never leaves the grounds unless you go and pick it up at the brewery and pack it in your luggage (Note: there are rumblings about a limited shipment to the US this year, stay tuned.) 

Now granted, 120 Minute is no where near as difficult to obtain as those two examples -- after all, here are Mike and I toasting at the Draught House -- but it IS somewhat of a very special occasion when one goes on tap anywhere in the country.  Most pubs simply don't bother stocking it -- it's expensive, it's served in glasses made for ants, and 99.1% of people just generally find the taste of this beer very disagreeable.  Thus, all the trouble and investment it takes to acquire a quarter-barrel of 120 Minute IPA just isn't worth the dedication it takes for most pub owners.  Oh, and finding this in bottles will also prove to be generally fruitless as well.

Therefore, when a very low rumble proliferated that the my favorite bar in the city would be serving this for a few hours, I had to busty-a-move see what all the shouting was about.  

120 Minute -- apart from being an AWESOME show on MTV that I watched religiously in the 1990s -- is an Imperial Indian Pale Ale that is boiled continuously with hops for two hours during the wort stage, imparting an enormous dose of bitterness into the flavoring of the beer.  Obviously, this indicates that the beer will be distorted as shit -- and it is -- at 120 IBUs and containing the over-sweetened flavor of Starbucks-like caramel.  Its unclear what to think about 120 Minute IPA while sipping it in a snifter, even for a dude who loves his hops as much I do.  Its so incredibly augmented, like the chick with Ds who reaches for double PPs.  I mean, is there a point?  Its neither refreshing or smooth or even flavorfully stunning.  Its an tricked up IPA; it exists, the end.

To be further critical, it tasted -- and had the consistency of -- something more closely related to a strong ale, rather than an IPA.  The thick sweetness combined with the alcohol burn disguised all of the fundamental IPA qualities of citrus, pine, and hops.  Founder's Devil Dancer has found a way to maintain the style's traditional characteristics, even those of an Imperial IPA, more so than Dogfish Head has.  

I'm happy to have had the opportunity to try it and choke it down, but unless I find 120 Minute again in a bottle (with intentions of aging) I doubt I'll ever overpay for it again.  

Ha.  Who am I kidding?  I will likely drink this anytime I get the opportunity to -- and I will think the same things over and over and over again -- and, yes, I will force myself to grin.  Because nothing really beats finding those elusive White Whales.

ABV: 18.o%
Acquired: The Draught House

No comments: