I hope everyone had a wonderful IPA Day celebration yesterday and I’m sure you’re sick of seeing the melee of IPA posts coming across your news feed, especially if you’re like me and follow hundreds of breweries/pubs/bloggers/ect. I wanted to give you a peek into my past about how I was introduced to craft beer, like most of us, it was with an IPA. The majority of people have no idea what IPA stands for (India Pale Ale) but we will break that history down in a later post. So here we go folks – this is the story of how I became The Brewed Dude!
I usually like to focus on drinking what’s local, the Locavore approach to craft beer drinking can be a lot of fun when you get to meet the actual people making the beer. The brew scene here in Houston has really exploded, much like everywhere else around the country, in the last 5-8 years. But today I want to dive into the first true craft beer that opened my eyes and changed my perspective on what a beer is supposed to taste like. And that special brew is….. (drumroll please)… Dogfish Head Brewery’s famous 60 minute IPA.
Step back in time with me to year 2006 and imagine a young 22-year-old fraternity guy who just recently graduated college.
I had just moved into an apartment with my best buddy, got a job at a major financial services firm, and for the first time was independent (mostly) from my old folks. Like the majority of people that age, my perspective had changed from being awesome in the college realm to a Junior Analyst sitting in a cubicle wishing the weekend would come sooner… Not the stardom lifestyle they sell you in college orientation.
My buddy and I, with our newly earned cash to spend, decided to venture out of our normal routine that consisted of chugging ice-cold light brews via some sort of drinking game and attended a networking happy hour at the local Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. I had never heard of the place but he had been a few times and was confident that I’d really dig the atmosphere, so we suited up! This Flying Saucer drinkery has an ideal location right in the heart of Downtown Houston so I was expecting a yuppie crowd, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We sat down and the waitress quickly came over to take our order. When she asked me what I wanted I naively said, “I’d like a good beer…” She humbly sat down next to me and explained that everything on the menu was beer.
There was easily over 100 options – “you have to be F’n kidding me!”
I asked her to give us a minute so I could reassemble my pride as I understood that ordering a Corona would probably make me the joke of the bar. My buddy, let’s call him Woody, was greatly entertained by my confusion. The room seemed to literally be spinning.
Anyway, when the lovely waitress came back to our table she asked us if we enjoy hoppy beers. Not knowing what a hop is I said, “Yes of course – DUH!” She explained that she knew just what beer to start me out with and kindly delivered a glass full of a golden beer that smelled somewhat of marijuana. Not to get too scientific on you, the hop (Humulus Lupulus) and the marijuana plant (Cannibus Sativa) share many organoleptic qualities like taste and smell, which is why you will smell a hint of weed with a really hoppy beer.
You’re probably familiar with the beer she brought me, the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. This brewery is based out of Delaware and touts themselves as being “off-centered”. The Founder, Sam Calagione, has been one of the main pioneers within American craft beer. If you Google his name you will find numerous articles, books, public speaking events, and much more regarding how his brewery has pushed the limits of beer. This particular 60 minute IPA is actually one of his more tame choices.
Dogfish started brewing this IPA back in 2003 and it can be found year-round at any craft beer joint worth its salt, it’s truly one of the staples in our country. The name refers to how the beer is made, being hopped continuously for a 60-minute period. It’s definitely hoppy but you’ll also get some refreshing citrus flavors. Notice that is has 60 IBUs, it’s 6% alcohol, and it’s boiled for 60 minutes – 6 is obviously the theme here. The closest wine comparison would be Chardonnay if anyone in your group prefers wine.
To finish off the story, my buddy and I sat at Flying Saucer for the majority of the evening ordering the beers with the strangest names. It was a very eye-opening trip and is what started me down the path of The Brewed Dude. The next week I began a beer journal recording my conquests, wish lists, and tasting notes. I never thought that beer could be a drink that rivaled wine for complexity but it definitely is.
I can’t thank Woody enough for the introduction.