Red Wines and Open Minds
A Review of Sixty-One by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 12/11/2013 by Chops
                   
Great
Popping the cap on any Dogfish Head beer is an exercise in patience. These beers are rarely predictable, often adventurous, and sometimes downright strange. Whether recreating ancient ales or continuously hopping monster IPAs, the Dogfish Head motto of ''off-centered ales for off-centered people'' is in constant play. Whenever I crave something new and interesting, I will almost always seek out the Dogfish Head section of my local beer store. On a recent visit, I came across something eye-catching: Sixty-One, a continuously hopped IPA brewed with Syrah grape must. Syrah is one of my favorite styles of wine and the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA is one of the best session brews on the market, so I scored a 4-pack and braced myself for a new adventure.

In the glass, this beer has a bright red coloration with some orange hues. It almost looks like a candied Irish Red Ale. It comes with a fluffy white head that has really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by an interesting blend of sweet red grapes and tangy hop citrus. Other than a nondescript floral note, there really wasn't much else to find on the aroma. I get the feeling that the hops and the grapes are cancelling each other out in a weird way. I honestly had no idea what to expect from that first sip.

Hmm, interesting. To my palate, Sixty-One tastes old, but not in an expired way. The beer is new and fresh, but I get the impression of an aged wine. The Syrah grape must is front and center along with some hefty oak-like woody notes. It tends to overpower the IPA characteristics, making it drink more like a baseline pale ale. I also found some dark fruity notes and a mild tartness. The beer has a wine-line medium body and feels somewhat chewy. The finish is all over the place and the beer has no distinct aftertaste. Tangy, sweet, sticky, dry, bitter, you name it, all valid. Not a detriment by any means, just difficult to nail down any predictable exit.

Overall, the Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA is one quirky brew. It's tasty and interesting, but I haven't the faintest idea on who to recommend it to. I love Syrah wines and I love the 60 Minute IPA, and even I scrunched my eyebrows in confusion when I first tried it. Wine fans and craft beer novices might find this brew particularly interesting because the grape sweetness does tone down the IPA bitterness, giving it a high level of accessibility. Sixty-One is a really good beer, make no mistake about it. I just recommend going into it with an open mind. You know, like with any Dogfish Head beer.

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Sixty-One by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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