Velvet in a bottle
A Review of Squall IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 8/23/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
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It's no secret that Dogfish Head Brewing is one of the torch carriers in the craft beer world. Their off-centered thinking and creativity has allowed them to create a catalog of what some would consider the most tasty beverages on the craft beer market today. One of their offerings, the 90 Minute IPA, is regarded as one of the best IPAs that America has to offer. So leave it to those guys to take what is viewed by many as flawless, turn it on it's ear, add a twist, put it in front of us, and say ''Here! We made it better!''. I know it sounds crazy, but that is exactly what they have done with the Squall IPA.

Now for a little background on the Squall IPA. If you break it down to the nuts and bolts, all the Squall IPA really is, is the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, unfiltered, aged on 6 different types of hops, and 100% bottle conditioned. That's it. Now I'm not sure what would possess them to do this, nor do I really care. And truth be told, neither should you. When it comes to crazy and innovative, sometimes it's best to not ask questions, and just stay out of the way while the madness unfolds.

When you pour it into a glass, you are instantly greeted by that glorious golden brown color that comes with a high quality IPA. As you can tell by the helpful picture, while there was a slight bit of head when poured, it quickly disappears into complete nothingness. Hold it up to the light, and you get a front row seat for viewing an unfiltered IPA. It was cloudy, but not murky. You could already get a feel for the body of this beer just by looking at it. Your eyes tell you it looks velvety smooth and, as you will find out later, they are spot on.

Now when you go in for a smell check, you might be a little surprised. While most would think this is going to be a very over the top IPA concoction, it turns out that what you have is a very well balanced bouquet that has distinct layers of sweet caramel malts, floral and citrus hops that seem to swirl around each other, and even some faint spice notes darting around from time to time. The more specific aromas that I was able to pick out were grapefruit, clove, caramel, pine, and even some honey and baked bread.

Once you allow yourself to stop smelling all the wonderful aromas and go in for that first sip, the first thing that you notice is the mouthfeel. Your eyes did not fib to you earlier. All you can think is smooth, smooth, smooth. If one were able to drink tasty velvet, this is most likely what it would feel like. There is just the slightest bit of weight in the mouthfeel, but the flavors that are causing it are just too good to care. The sweet malts come through in a well balanced blend with the citrus hops, while at the same time your tongue and mouth get just a bit of that familiar hop bite we have all come to expect in an IPA. The spicy clove that your nose detected earlier peaks through on the tail end, and stays around for the after taste as well. There is a good balance throughout this beer, and it does not go unnoticed.

Once again, Dogfish Head has knocked it out of the park with the Squall IPA. I highly recommend this beer to all levels of drinkers, with ONE condition. If you are a beginner, you really do need to try the regular 90 Minute IPA first. Granted it is a bit of a leap if you are just getting started, but you need to experience the ''base model'' before stepping up the the ''luxury edition''. It would be even better if you could get a glass of each and do a side by side tasting to see the effects that not filtering, bottle conditioning, and aging can have on a beer. School will definitely be in session if you dare try it. Other than that, I say everyone should find a bottle of this, buy it, laugh hysterically as you leave the store with it, rush home, and put their face in it as soon as possible. Follow these directions explicitly, and all will be right in your beer world.

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Squall IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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