By Jeffrey Gredlein
The Beer Snob

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jeffrey gredlein beer snob I have remarked in the past that finding a fantastic American pale ale (APA) is tough these days. Of course there is SNPA (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), and there always will be, it's a stalwart and a classic. But beyond that, you can quickly get into the "c'mon, this is an IPA, hopped out" realm or the "mama said knock you out ABV (alcohol by volume)" territory. Great Lakes burning river has become a favorite, balanced and tasty but hop leaning, yet it’s not widely available. I love Dale's Pale Ale, but, being a bit stronger than most in the style, it sneaks up quick. Stone's pale ale is decent if nondescript. Others are too thin (Sweetwater 420, Harpoon) a bit too dirty (Smuttynose Shoals, Bell's Pale Ale) or just bad (DFH shelter pale ale, New Belgium Dig).

But when one wants a real American IPA, a dilemma exists as well. To a much lesser extent, a solid, no frills, and yet not coma-inducing or mouth-numbing IPA can be hard to find. I notice that the options of old, the beers I cut my teeth on over a decade ago are uninteresting; many of the new kids on the block are over the top.

A number today's non-imperial IPA's, for me, spill over into the category of, if not quite double IPA, then certainly not sessionable either. Some of the best American IPA’s on the market, beers like Bear Republic Racer 5, Green Flash IPA, Bell’s 2 hearted, and my favorite Ballast Point Sculpin are all 7% ABV or more. Where my cut off seems to be 6% and under for a solid session beer, something you can go back to again and again in a sitting, the 7 and over crowd are all sippers, one or two and done, move on, nothing to see here, time for bed.

Also, I looking for a non flavored beer here. There are a number of delicious rye IPA beers, two of which, Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye and Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye, I really love. Green Flash Hop Head Red, one of my preferred beers of the last few years is excellent, but it’s a red, malted-out IPA. No, I want a classic American IPA.

Which brings us to Dogfish Head and their “Off-centered ales for off-centered people.” Back in the early 2000’s, this beer might have been hopsided and wild, but now it’s just good. I’m talking about 60 Minute IPA.

It’s funny, not long ago, I saw 60 Minute IPA everywhere. Nowadays, its 90 Minute IPA that is in every beer cooler in town and it’s little, one hour little brother is nowhere to be found. Hell, I’ve even recently had 120 Minute IPA on tap (albeit in NYC) and have a bottle in my fridge; been lucky enough to get a bottle of the even more, seemingly, rare 75 Minute IPA (brewed with maple syrup) each of the last two years. But that single hour beer is a bit of a mysterious ale.

Ok, so it is continually hopped for 60 minutes and bottle conditioned. But it isn't a wet/fresh hop, it's not a rye IPA, and it isn't a flavored ale (see DFH’s own Aprihop). This is just a good, drinkable, and very tasty IPA. Which is interesting, I really dislike DFH's Shelter Pale Ale, but the next step up the hop ladder in their arsenal, 60 Min, I really enjoy. It’s citrus and grassy, dry but not dusty, bitter but not deadly. DFH owner Sam Calagione, calls 60 Minute the de facto session beer for hop heads. And he’s right - a great, sessionable IPA. Enjoy the brews … Cheers.

Gene's Haufbrau has at more than 200 beers in bottles or on tap. While they don't have every beer the Beer Snob writes about, they probably have most. Gene's is located at 817 Savannah Hwy. 225-GENE. E-mail the Beer Snob at