Some beers are vaunted as legendary. Some beers have their own special release events. Being a beer geek, and more importantly a beer uncle, I have found that most don’t live up to the hype. So how about the infamous Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA? You know, the beer many restaurants sell for $20 per bottle, or boutique bottle shops only sell to their “very best” customers. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is one of the beers that even non-beer drinkers know is something special. Produced one time per year, its release and subsequent fervor to grab as much as possible creates a mystique that expands beyond the world of zymurgy and nano / micro brew circles .
Now, this wasn’t my first time drinking Dogfish 120. Having had the beer “fresh” on several occasions, I always wondered how it tasted if aged as suggested on the bottle. Through some form of restraint usually not possessed by me, I was able to squirrel away a bottle for the past three years knowing there would be a special occasion to open the bottle. What else qualifies like the birth of a child!
So with the week off at home, it was time. Reached into the back of the fridge where the Dogfish 120 has waited, inconspicuously aging amongst other tasty, but certainly less rare, beers, and even though the label fell off some time ago, but I knew exactly which one to grab. Pulled out my trusty Duvel Belgian tulip glass and poured slowly so as to not disturb the yeast cake. From past experience, I knew Dogfish 120 is to be sipped slowly and allowed to rise to room temperature before reaching its true potential (told you I was a beer geek).
The beer poured a rich amber hue, with the right amount of carbonation evident from the head that formed. The beer had its usually Dogfish 120 taste, but much smoother with the high alcohol level really blended well into the beer’s unique flavor after commingling for over three years. There is a wine-like taste to this beer which time has pronounced; sweet cherry notes, a hint of spice and the well-balanced assortment of hops. Aging has done this already delicious beer a great justice and was well worth the wait.
Others can certainly more eloquently explain the taste, but I will finish by saying that the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA beer is one of the truly special beers almost anyone has access to. Not everyone can get their hands on Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper or Westvletern XII, but this beer is most likely in reach and certainly worth a try. If you have the willpower to age a bottle or two, your patience will be well rewarded!