It’s an age old question: the grape or the grain, vin ou biere, wine or beer. But does one really have to choose between wine and beer? Lots of people don’t think so, and choose to enjoy both. In fact, if you listen to Sam Calagione, founder and president of the renowned Dogfish Head brewery of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, you can even have both in a single glass.
Try a glass of Dogfish Head Sixty One on for size if you don’t believe me. Dogfish Head Sixty One is a new year-round brew from Dogfish Head. They claim it is the first year-round addition to their lineup since 2007. The beer was introduced in March of 2013 and is sold in 4-packs of bottles; I enjoyed it on tap at Taco Mac for a reasonable $6 a mug. The beer has an alcohol content of 6.5% by volume and 60 IBUs.
Back to the beer and wine thing. According to Dogfish head, Sam got the idea for this beer by adding a bit of red wine to a pint of his 60 Minute IPA. Hence, the following idea for the beer from the company website:
The name Sixty-One is a reminder that this beer is Dogfish Head’s best-selling 60 Minute IPA plus one new ingredient: syrah grape must from California.
So, this is really the famous 60 Minute IPA with some Syrah grape must thrown in. I wasn’t really sure what grape must was; to me it sounded like grape mush. That’s not far off the mark, as it seems. I called in a lifeline to Wikipedia:
Must (from the Latin vinum mustum, “young wine”) is freshly pressed fruit juice (usually grape juice) that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit.
Sounds like mush to me. Anyway, let’s dive into the beer that patrons here at Taco Mac are starting to wonder if I will ever drink this beer.
My mug of Dogfish Head Sixty One arrived a beautiful reddish amber color with a thick creamy head and a wonderfully amount of fruit in the nose. Taking a sip, I get a little caramel malt underneath, and then the fruit hits: apricots and white grapes are what I got (sue me on the white grapes, if you want your wine grape varieties right go see the wineguru). There’s a rather flinty vinous character here, and in the finish some grassy herbal hops finish things out.
I’ll be honest, I thought this beer was OK, but not really a beer I would buy again. For what it is supposed to be its well-made. I think the fruity grapes cover up the usual citrus of the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, though it could be that the two in combination gave me the apricot impression. I did get the grassy hop character, but that seemed to me incongruous with the fruit.
I just didn’t think that the two worked well together, and likely not a beer I would buy again.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.