Dogfish Head Squall IPA
I’ve been after this for a long time. Unfortunately, Dogfish Head doesn’t make this beer every year. It’s a bottle conditioned and unfiltered version of their 90 minute IPA, with some special hop additions. Several years ago (maybe 2010 or 2011?), I was in a local bottle shop and I was putting together a mix-n-match 6 pack of IPAs. Most of them turned out to be very good but it was the opportunity cost that I regretted paying. In the middle of deciding on which bottles to take home (Lagunitas IPA was the best of the bunch!) I saw what, at the time, was called 90 Minute Squall IPA. I was much younger and was reticent to pay the same amount for one, albeit large, bottle as I would for 6. Despite that, it was a bit of a mental struggle to make the decision. Even at that time I knew of Dogfish Head’s prowess in the realm of IPAs. A odd as it may sound, I’ve thought about that day numerous times since. So you can imagine how overjoyed I was when Dogfish Head released their 2016 beer schedule and the Squall IPA was included.
I’ve had plenty to occupy my time but I’ve been waiting eagerly for this to finally show up at my liquor store. Knowing that it should be appearing soon, I checked on the “Fish Finder”. Lo and behold, it was listed as recently delivered! I went out that evening and bought two bottles. Dogfish Head’s IPAs are unique in that they are cellarable, and the bottle conditioned nature of the Squall IPA should lend itself to that as well. I have several bottles of 120 Minute in my basement and a few of the 90 Minute as well. The 90 Minute holds up extremely well, the fruitiness is still right there and the juicy hop character hasn’t faded in over six months. If anything, it’s been enhanced.
Anyway, the Squall IPA comes in 750 ml bottles. That’s pretty big. I appreciate the value at under $9 but, at 9% ABV, that’s more than I want alone. So I split a bottle three ways over some grilled salmon. We all enjoyed it tremendously. It’s incredibly balanced. There’s enough bitterness to satisfy me, but it also has plenty of citrusy hops flavor. What makes it so balanced is the malt backbone. It has a bready quality that I don’t expect in an IPA but it didn’t overshadow the hops at all. It wasn’t a palate wrecker, either, more of a palate cleanser. Very refreshing and it paired extremely well with the fish. I might get another bottle to drink in the meantime while I let the bottle in the cellar develop.