Starting out in 1995 as the smallest commercial brewery in the country in sleepy Rehoboth Beach, Del., Dogfish Head is an unlikely success story. Thanks to founder Sam Calagione’s tireless promotion and his dream of creating “off-centered ales for off-centered people,” Dogfish Head now is widely regarded as one of the top craft-breweries in the United States. Calagione has written multiple books on beer, appeared in two documentary films about beer and developed and starred in the “Brew Masters” series on the Discovery Channel. The most-popular Dogfish Head offering is the 90 Minute India Pale Ale.
It pours a clear vermillion in color with a moderate off-white head. Aromas are of ruby-red grapefruit, caramel, spruce and wildflowers. The flavor is a confluence of notes of pineapple, toffee, raisin and blood orange that elegantly marries bitter and sweet. Medium-bodied, 90 Minute is neither cloying nor overpowering on the complex, lengthy finish. Hops are continually added to the beer while it is brewing, which allows for a finished product that is balanced without any harsh bitterness.
Though it drinks with such ease, I offer this piece of advice: This is an extreme beer. Be careful. At 9 percent alcohol by volume, 90 Minute is more of a sipper than a quaffer. To fully appreciate the aromatic notes, it is best enjoyed out of a snifter glass or a wine glass. Dogfish’s 90 Minute is a wonderful match for pulled pork, blue cheese or even a slice of pumpkin pie. It is available in 4-packs that sell for about $11.