Nov 24, 2011

The search (and wait) is over….

A few months back, I wrote about my seemingly never ending quest to get a glass of Dogfish Heads 120 Minute IPA on tap. We have tried on numerous occasions to make it to keg tapings of said beer, only to arrive a little late, and find the keg has been emptied (sometimes in just a matter of minutes). Why do you ask? Well, if you recall, I bestowed the virtues of this beer in a previous post (120 Minutes and a Hungry Monk), but to recap, what I said about it was…..

The Elusive 120 Minute
“Now, 120 Minute IPA is a pretty special, very unique beer. This is unlike any IPA I have ever had. To produce this beer, it is boiled for a full 2 hours (hence the 120 minute designation) while being continuously hopped throughout the entire boil. It is then dry hopped in the fermentor for a month, and if that wasn’t enough, it is then aged for an additional month with whole leaf hops.”

Now, due to cost, copious amounts of ingredients and the labor this beer requires, Dogfish Head does not produce much of this beer every year. Then, a few years back, due to quality control issues and problems with the yeast, the brewery was forced to dump a whole batch down the drain. This created somewhat of a shortage of this beer, and the problem with “beer people” is, when a beer because harder to find, it becomes more desirable. So, that lack of supply seems to over exaggerate demand, which, in all honesty, sort of adds to fun of it all. My wife and I have been on a search for this beer for the better part of the last few years, so you could imagine my elation when my co-worker Chris, came to me on Monday morning and told me they were not only tapping a keg of it at “"The Watering Hole"”, they would also be selling bottles of it as well!

Cheers! Toasting at The Watering Hole
So, we got ourselves a babysitter very last minute (Thank you Christi!) and made our way to Whole Foods to hope and pray we got there in time to get a glass. Well, lucky for me, my wife, my aforementioned co worker Chris and his girlfriend Julie were able to make it there before I could, and got a table, and waited in line for a glass of this liquid gold. The tapping commenced at 5:00 sharp, and the last drop was drained from said keg exactly 20 minutes later. Luckily, upon my arrival (about 5:15), I found my wife and friends waiting patiently at a table with 3 full glasses of 120 Minute! (Julie was not nearly as excited as we were for this beer, and instead opted for a glass of Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew instead). So, with great anticipation, I raised my glass, took two quick sniffs, savoring the rich aroma of this beer, before putting the glass to my lips, and taking an intense, flavorful first sip…..

My empty glass of 120 Minute, and newly acquired bottle!
Now this is a pretty unique beer in all aspects. This beer drinks more like an after dinner liquor rather than a beer. Certainly not a beer you chug (at 18% abv, there is no need too!). It pours a rich, golden dark strew color, with a thin lacing of head rimming the glass. This is a surprisingly balanced beer for such a hop bomb. As you would expect, the character is made up chiefly of a strong, citrus hop character, however, there is a nice caramelly, almost molasses taste that lingers on your tongue for quite a while after you’ve taken your last sip. Again, this is not a beer you will sit down a throw 2 or 3 back. IN fact, I am not sure I could, or would even want to drink more than one of these gems at a time!

Line for CBS at Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI
Sometimes, the thrill of the “hunt and capture” (The Thrill of the Hunt) makes a beer far more enjoyable then you might normally find it. Now, this might very well be the case with 120 Minute, and if so, well, so be it. The thrill of finding and tasting a long sought after goal is very pleasing to anyone, and makes for a far more enjoyable experience, more so then if you could get this beer by the caseload at any Circle K or 7-11 for a few bucks. Maybe the $10 a bottle price tag (that’s for a 12 oz bottle btw) contributes to that well, but again, so what if it does. This is a spectacular beer in any case, and gives us beer geeks something to look forward to, and talk about. Like hunters around a campfire, we can now sit around our table at The Watering Hole, and tell stories of “that time” we stood in line for 25 minutes for a single glass of beer, and try and convince all the sceptics at the table how worth while it was, and how we would do it again tomorrow if we could, because, honestly, I would.

Bottoms up my friends!

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