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Review: Dogfish Head American Beauty

These days, everyone makes an IPA. Milton, Delaware's Dogfish Head, makes two particularly good ones. Their 60-minute and 90-minute IPAs are exemplary of the range which can be achieved within the popular style.

beauty.jpgAs part of their occasional music-inspired offerings, Dogfish Head recently released American Beauty, an imperial IPA brewed in tribute to the Grateful Dead.

"There was something different about a Grateful Dead show," the bottle reads. "Whether you saw one or 100, you felt it, but you knew it wouldn't last forever. If only you could have bottled it...."

First confession: I'm not a Deadhead. When I was buying my condo I had a real estate agent who played only the Grateful Dead Sirius station when we drove around to potential places. I'm not an expert in the Dead's music, but after 40 open houses I understand the basic plot.

Dogfish solicited some 1,500 suggestions for American Beauty. Among them, the top ingredient suggested was organic granola, a "sweet and toasty complement to the barley and all-American hops." The band itself suggested the base beer, a double-IPA of 9 percent ABV and around 55 international bitterness units. After sorting through many illicit suggestions, the granola was chosen as a write-in ingredient.

Let's get right to it. I've misplaced my fancy Dogfish IPA glass, but we press on. The beer pours an orange-amber with a thick white head. The aroma is sweeter and more subtle than your hoppiest IPAs. With the first sip you realize this is not an aggressive beer; It's mellow like the music it was created in tribute to. When the hops do come in they're more piney than floral, more like something you might grow under a lamp in your closet than fresh grapefruit. Despite carrying that kind of heft, American Beauty is incredibly easy to drink. The alcohol content is hidden well. Despite the lack of aromatics, this beer is the perfect pre-concert treat. Cheers.

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