When it comes to my current state of booze geekery, there are a number of ticky boxes to be ticked to get me interested in a drink. So, when I came across a beer that is not only made in London, but is a sour, low strength, three-way collaboration that included a gin distillery, the amount of box-tickery was quite compelling. Step forward Londonerweisse from Beavertown, Dogfish Head and the East London Liquor Company.
With the Great British Beer Festival behind me for another year I took stock of my beer shelf. With some new Italian additions acquired at the festival to insert into the pile, I noticed that I still had a couple of bottles left over from last year. To clear out some space and celebrate the fact that it was Thursday I decided that one needed to be drunk – I chose the transatlantic Birra del Borgo/Dogfish Head collaborative imperial pils, My Antonia.
This was a beer I took on recommendation and didn’t realise it was a collaboration until several months after I got it home. When I finally did realise I was quite pleased, as my history with interesting beers from abroad started with Dogfish Head.
It is common knowledge that the Americans cannot make beer, producing nothing but Bud, Coors Lite and other assorted sex-in-a-canoe fizzy yellow beverages. It is also common knowledge that all Brits have bad teeth, bowler hats and say ‘Cheers!’ at every opportunity.
I really like a lot of american beer. Outside of the mass-market brews, just as with the UK, there is a great selection of interesting things of which some are now getting big enough to get regular exports to the UK. Sierra Nevada now appears on tap in a few London pubs and bottles of Brooklyn lager have been popping up on restaurant menus for a few years. However, my mates at Utobeer (and the lovely folks at The Draft House) assist me in obtaining things when I’m not visiting the fair ‘isle’ on the other side of the sea.
I’ve tried a few Dogfish Head beers over the years, especially since my work’s US office moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, home of The Brewhouse and a branch of The Ginger Man (and not the Norwalk Virus), and they’ve all been quite pleasant. However, their X minute IPAs are the ones that have stuck in my head ever since a Great British Beer Festival that managed to get a few barrels of beer over from the US for a New England Beer festival offshoot stand. They were selling the 120 minute IPA from the barrel, something that you don’t get pretty much ever, even in the US, and it was a scary beast – it caused your entire head to turn inside out with hoppiness, something that I rather enjoyed.
Anyways, after a foiled attempt at getting a selection of tasty beers to my step-brother for Christmas (I forgot to put them in my bag…sorry Peter, there are more on the way) I decided to try one of them, so that it wouldn’t go off. Or something. The 90 Minute Imperial IPA just fell into my fridge and then into a glass. It’s nowhere near as astringent as the other hoppy IPAs I’ve tried, with a a load of caramelly sweetness sitting behind the lip curling hoppy bitterness. At 9% and 90 IBU it’s not a session beer (one is enough for now) but it is really very nice. It is very hoppy though – from the moment you open the bottle your room will be filled with a floral hoppy aroma and it lingers after you’ve finished a bottle. I like hops though, so it’s one that remains on my list.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA
Dogfish Head brewery, Delaware, USA
9%, 90 IBU, 12 fl. oz. bottle
Available from specialist beer shops, I got mine, as usual, from Utobeer