Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA


Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA

IPA / Dogfish Head Low / 4%

A lo-cal IPA that is slight in cals and carbs with mighty hop flavor! Slightly Mighty has all the flavor and tropical aromas of a world class IPA, but with only 95 calories, 3.6g carbs, 1g protein and 0g fat.

Although the shift in the craft beer industry toward low-cal, low-abv options seems to be the more predominant one presently, it wasn’t all that long ago that major beer makers were making a push in the direct opposite direction. Brew with sky-high alcohol content were some of the hottest items on the market for a time. And no single company exhibits both sides of this contrast more so than Dogfish Head, the well-known macrobrewery based out of Milton, Delaware.

For years now, they have been putting out some of the most approachable and ubiquitous high-abv drinking options that pack tons of flavor but aren’t so biting as to turn off the general population. Even their 120 Minute IPA, clocking in at a whopping 15 percent abv or higher, is surprisingly drinkable. At least the first one. But as the beer industry, along with so many others, has titled the other way, toward lighter and healthier offerings, it is no shock that they have also decided to get in on that action. Their NA Lemon Quest impressed me quite a lot, but for drinkers who aren’t cutting booze entirely from their diets, they now have a low-cal product that might just be for you. I will let you know what I think through this Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA review.

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA Review

Dogfish Head has made a clear aesthetic choice with the label of this beer’s can. The backdrop is white accented with light blue font and design, evoking thoughts of lightness and health. Just like all of the brews this brand has to offer, there is a fairly busy line drawing, as well as a column of marketing material and ingredient notes down the back. The information that we learn from the can is that this beer is 4.0 percent alcohol by volume, 3.6 grams of carbs, and 95 calories per can. These are pretty low totals for this style of lo-cal brew.

Poured into a glass, the lightness is apparent. The body of this IPA is a dull orange in color and even shows a noticeable amount of haze, something that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. There is a generous amount of carbonation, resulting in a substantial foamy head atop the glass, as well as some decent retention and lacing around the edges. Oftentimes this excess carbonation is used to fill out the flavor profile, but with a brewery as successful and quality as this one I don’t expect that to be the case.

Taking in the nose, the predominant elements that I find are a variety of citrus fruits along with some bread notes and pleasant subdued hoppiness. The citrus character consists of orange, lemon, and even a bit of pineapple. The bready muffin quality comes mostly in the form of the malt. While the hops form a light backbone of bitterness.

Low-cal IPAs are plentiful on today’s market, and many of them have too many similarities to count. The appearance and aroma of this one leave me optimistic that it will have some fresh new elements to separate it from the crowd. But the only way to find out and answer the question, “Is Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA good?” is by digging in to the tasting experience. 

Is Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA Good?

I was surprised to find upon tasting that this IPA does not follow the nose as strictly as most that I have sampled do. But it is still clear from the first sip that there is a level of quality here that makes the answer to this question a clear, “yes.”

Perhaps I simply did not do my homework heading into this, but the haze on the pour was unexpected, and even more unexpected is the fact that that haze is extremely present on the tongue. I am not exactly sure how to describe the flavor of haziness, but I know it when I taste it, and here it mostly takes the form of citrus. It is nice to find that citrus is more than just a twinge of orange. There is plenty of lemon and tropical fruit. I believe I detect some papaya.

What comes along with that haze is ample drinkability. This IPA goes down incredibly smooth despite the presence of a decent amount of hop bitterness on the taste buds – substantially more than I sensed in the aroma. The bready malt is still there but doesn’t come to the front as much as I expected from the nose.

The richness of the flavor profile and the mouthfeel do nothing to tip off the lightness of this beer, making it a low-calorie option with all the depth of something more traditional. There is a bit of a coconut water quality to the texture. Do not mistake that as me saying it is watery, far from it. It is more of a refreshing quality. The finish is mostly crisp, with a bit of that pleasant haze hanging on the tongue.

There are plenty of surprises throughout this tasting process, but none of them struck me as disappointing. You can be sure that this brew will earn a high grade from me. But you’ll have to finish reading to find where I land with my final Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA rating. 

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA Rating

I don’t believe that the sole goal of all of these beer makers is to craft something that tastes like a traditional IPA but with far fewer calories and lower alcohol content. But that is largely what consumers want from this type of offering, and this beer delivers it in spades. It is eminently drinkable and refreshing and balances all of its elements better than most.

Of course, a brew like this has to be graded on at least a bit of a curve. If it were a traditional higher-abv hazy IPA, I wouldn’t find it terribly remarkable. But the fact that it manages to find all of those qualities of a hazy while packing in maybe half the calories and booze makes it pretty impressive when compared to its direct competitors. For this reason, I am ending this Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA review by giving it a full 5 out of 5 stars.


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