Beer Review: Dogfish Head Sixty-One

Staff Writer
Not quite an IPA, this beer defies all odds

The Drink Nation

The Dogfish Head Sixty-One Ale.

Dogfish Head has been brewing "off-centered ales for off-centered people" for years now, constantly pushing the envelope with strange inspirations and unique flavors. Recently, the Delaware brewery has dabbled in beers with qualities and ingredients most often found in win — for example, Noble Rot. As with that well-received but limited release, Dogfish Head’s newest year round beer, Sixty-One, combines a base (in this case the flagship 60 Minute IPA) with syrah grape must. Thanks to that unlikely combo, this beer presents a flavor profile that’s truly new.

Poured into a tulip glass, Sixty-One looks like carbonated grape juice with a resilient white head. This appearance of grapes only lightly follows suit in the nose, which is mostly dominated by the familiar aroma of 60 Minute IPA. Slightly faded hops, toasted, bready malts, and a hint of grape peel play nicely, implying tastes to come.

Calling this beer an IPA is not quite proper, as it doesn’t really meet the crisp, fresh, qualities associated with that style. This brew is something altogether different. The bread notes found in the nose are dominant on the palate, somehow making this beer sit rather heavily. Sweet grape flavors help balance things out, especially once the beer warms up a little, but the sip doesn’t have the usually dry finish associated with the IPA style. At a somewhat robust 6.5 percent ABV, this one can sneak up on you with its juicy grape flavor.

Each year, Dogfish Head seems to turn out new creative brews, meant to test the limits of what "off-centered ales" can be. The first new core beer since 2007, Sixty-One is no different and fits right in with the roster. Though not necessarily for IPA freaks, it is always nice to have a beer that defies or even abandons expectation. This is a great brew to try if you are simply looking for something new, regardless of style, brand recognition or hype.

— Mike Lorenz, The Drink Nation

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