Serious Eats: Drinks

New Beer: Dogfish Head Sixty-One

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[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

The folks at Dogfish Head are constantly experimenting, but they haven't released a new year-round beer since 2007. This month, Sam Calagione and his team are offering up a new core beer that brings together beer and wine in one 12-ounce bottle. Sixty-One is the brewery's classic 60 Minute IPA with one addition: syrah grape must from California. It will be sold in four-packs in all 27 states where Dogfish distributes.

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I've never experimented with pouring red wine into a glass of beer, but I'd imagine it would look pretty much like Sixty-One in a glass: bright cherry red, redder than any red ale you've seen. The scent brings together hoppy-floral/fruity and grapey floral/fruity: if anything, it smells more like rosé than IPA. But once you taste it, you'll know this is most definitely not wine. It's dry and bitter, with just a little sweet fruit-punch flavor up front. The flavor roll out separately but ultimately aren't quite integrated: it's a bit of a confusing experience. (As confusing as someone pouring grape juice into your glass of beer? I don't know.)

To be honest, I'm not sure I'd ever choose to drink this instead of a regular (always-tasty) 60 Minute IPA. The fruity flavors might make Sixty-One an especially good accompaniment for grilled pork with plum salsa or tacos filled with seared prawns, but it's not going to be a four-pack I purchase often.

Have you tried Dogfish Head Sixty-One? What did you think?

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. She lives in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.

Sample provided for review consideration.

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