Archive for the 'Dogfish Head' category
Hey all – just a quick post on this bomber of Life & Limb, a beer that many of you are probably familiar with. Obviously, Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada are two seminal breweries in the ‘craft beer movement’. I love ‘em both and I think they’ve both done a lot to push the industry forward. Therefore, I was pretty excited when I heard about this collaborative brew using maple syrup from the Calagione farm (DFH) and barley from the Grossman farm (SN). Disregarding the potential quality of the ingredients, the innovative natures of the brewers promises something worth trying. And, I must say, the beer did turn out quite tasty.
This beer pours a very dark brown, with a dense caramel head. The aroma is quite rich – notes of maple, caramel, and dark cherry do it for me. In the mouth, it stays true to form. At British room temperature, the beer exhibits tremendous richness – full of caramel and dark malt. The maple flavors really take hold around the back of the tongue, as does some flavor of sweet cream – very dessert-like and delicious. It isn’t as viscous as a stout. Rather, it comes across as a rich brown ale with big flavors and some yeastiness that isn’t in your face, but may borrow a bit from their Belgian brethren.
And, that’s about it. Frankly, it seems a short paragraph to write about a beer with such big flavors and some considerable hype. However, I have to wonder – at what point do we experience everything under the sun? This is delicious, sure. But, to be fair, I feel like I’ve tasted it a dozen times before. Don’t get me wrong, this beer is sophisticated and well-crafted and delicious, but it is *not* so different that I haven’t tasted all of these flavors before. And, in that respect, it’s a disappointment. But, I guess we were bound to get here. When dealing with a beverage that stipulates little more than 4 ingredients, the flavors are bound to run out. Leads me to wonder what keeps wine drinkers to interested? At any rate, I’m curious who out there is doing really innovative things and making them work? The further the ‘craft brew revolution’ goes, the weirder we gotta get to stay innovative. And, eventually, the beer is going to start to taste like shit. It’s inevitable. You can only get so weird. However, I’ll bet there are still some breweries pushing envelopes out there.
I’ll tell you the brewery that’s making the most innovative-yet-delicious beers that I’ve had in a while – Furthermore Brewery. Those guys make a coffee lager that’s amazing, and their cracked pepper pale ale is nothing to sneeze at – both fairly low abv beers with medium flavor profiles. I feel like the breweries to push us to the next level will be breweries that understand how to integrate flavors while practicing restraint – something that is, for better or worse, lacking in the current scene.
All I’m saying is that, while I *love* the craft beer culture in the US right now, I’m beginning to get bored with Imperial versions of the same old beers…
With 2010 quickly coming to a close I thought this would be the ideal time to clean out some posts that have been languishing in the “drafts” bin for quite some time (one since 2009!). The DFH review is closest to being finalized so is most like a typical Sevenpack review, but is also the oldest and the train of thought for the post is lost to time. As for the other two “reviews”, they are merely notes I took while drinking the beers and that is how they will be posted. Certainly not the typical Sevenpack style of review, but at least the info is out there.
Dogfish Head Squall IPA (September 18, 2009)
*This was for the beer’s first release. It has since been released again.
A thick, creme colored head sits atop the beer’s clear, copper body as it awaited my first sip. Pungent, sticky aromas of pine and citrus hops mix with a heavy caramel sweetness. Lots of big aromas in this beer.
In the mouth this “big” aspect continues. On the front of the tongue is a slight carbonation burn. This quickly moves mid-tongue to an enjoyable mixture of pine hops and maple syrup-ish sweetness. The beer ends with a strong bitter finale of grapefruit hops. This sweetness continues to the back of the mouth, where it encounters a bitter blast of grapefruit hops. This finale of hops, though bitter, is kept in check by the previously mentioned sweetness.
Overall a very enjoyable beer by Dogfish Head. If you can find a bottle (it was of limited release, in limited areas) you would not go wrong picking one up.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace (June 6, 2010)
very slightly cloudy, big puff white head, golden
lemon, fresh crushed black pepper, herb (lightly minty)
lemon and pepper – combination has notes of lemon cough drops, dry, crisp, light on the tongue, finish has a bad orange juice taste, finish is lemon pith bitter,
Stone 14th AnniversaryEmperial IPA (August 3, 2010)
yellow golden, white, fluffy head, small little carbonation bubbles
very fresh hop smell, light lemon, intermingled with earth of equal value to lemon,
lemon-citrus, fresh, lively, clean, bitter hit for a finish, light in the mouth, light malt sweetness in the finish, spice notes in the mid section, definitely need to pick up another bottle.
It’s rare these days that I offer up a review here on the SevenPack. It’s not that I no longer enjoy a tasty brew. It’s more a matter of time commitments and a lack of truly inspiring beers on the shelf. I enjoy that, lately, there are more phenomenal beers out there than ever. However, it seems that everyone is doing a different version of the same 20 beers we’ve been enjoying for the last few years. The only brewery I’ve found recently that is attempting to really push some boundaries is Fullsteam out of Durham, NC. However, they’re also a hometown brewery, so I’m a little bit biased. When I saw a new Dogfish Head brew hit the shelves (which doesn’t happen nearly often enough), I nearly sprang to the cash register to make my purchase. Dogfish Head is one of the reasons that I initially became a beer geek. They were putting out such novel and flavorful beers that it really excited my imagination. They’re still making these same great beers, but after tasting them so many times, the thrill is gone (so to speak). So, a new beer? A new adventure? I’m very excited to try this out…
The Bitches Brew pours a motor-oil black color with a beautiful dark caramel head. The aroma is rich and earthy with lots of molasses and root in the nose. The texture here is also great – it’s thick and viscous and coats the glass. In the mouth, my initial impression is of the mouthfeel. The beer is soft and smooth and coats the tongue, giving the impression of a very big flavor experience throughout the mouth. And, quite an impressive flavor there is. Initially, I’m struck by all of the things that make a true imperial stout great. It’s dark and burly and coats the mouth with aniseed and earthy flavors that are at once strong and sweet. On through the mouth, the feminine aspects of this beer are given more weight, as aspects of a light honey sweetness and fruit present themselves. It’s an interesting contrast of a syrupy beer with a lighter, transient sweetness – not a combination I’m familiar with. Neverthless, it works well. The big flavor of the stout coats the mouth and sticks around throughout, while the flitting sweetness seems to skip across the tongue, adding texture and complexity and then disappearing as quickly as it came. In the aftertaste, you can almost feel the honey sweetness dissipate while the bigger syrupy stout flavors stick around for many seconds after the beer is gone. Frankly, this isn’t that much different than the Chicory Stout, from what I can recall of that beer. However, it has its nuances, and it certainly turns the flavor up to 11. A beer like this, to me, is really the reason I started drinking good beer in the first place…
I believe Ben and I actually had this beer at the same time, Ben was just quicker on posting his review. With my review in handwritten form, I was able to spare some time yesterday and actually type it up. You can read my thoughts on this beer below Ben’s.
I don’t think I could get much more excited about a beer than I got about this li’l guy. I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of this long ago, but it actually took me by surprise down at the Blue Light recently. In case you also aren’t aware, this beer was borne of a partnership between three of the better US brewers in existence today: Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory (in alphabetical order). They formed a group they call BUFF (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor). This, as I understand it, is their first brew, an ale brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
The Saison du BUFF pours a slightly hazy golden with ample effervescence, resulting in a pillowy white head and lots of carbonation surging upwards from the bottom of the glass. In the nose, the unique spicing is evident. In fact, there is so much spice in the nose, that it is difficult for my amateur snout to divine the different components. What is evident, though, is a powerful yet pleasant scent that burns it’s way through the nostrils with additional hints of citrus and yeast. In the mouth, I’m frankly surprised at how good this beer is. The “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” gimmick had me worried – not an easy combination to pull off in a beer – but this is downright pleasant. Obviously there’s a melange of spice here, culminating to create a flavor that is, at the same time, earthy, sour, lightly bitter, and rather exotic. This is, as nearly as can be pinpointed, a saison-like beer. Beyond that, however, it defies expectation. This beer is, in the end, completely unique to beers I’ve tasted, and it’s rare these days to find a beer that is both totally new and totally tasty. Somehow, this pulls it off.
So, I’m glad to say that I walk out of this tasting with no decreased respect for the brewers involved, despite their risky stunt. Rather, I’m impressed that they’ve managed to pull a tasty beer out of a very odd hat. I can’t wait to see what further inventions this union renders.
PS – This is just the first version of this beer, brewed at Stone brewery. They will, in fact, be doing new iterations of this same beer at each of the three breweries involved…
Stone has quite a few beers in their collaboration series, and of the beers I have had they have at least been “interesting”. I was definitely psyched when I read on BeerNews that Stone and Dogfish Head, along with Victory, were teaming up for a collaboration. The icing on the cake (or the head on the beer), the collaboration would be in the Saison style. I picked up a few bottles a couple days ago, and I can not wait to dig in.
A thick, creamy and slightly off-white head sits atop a lightly cloudy golden hued body. Though the carbonation is very light, a few large bubbles rising every few seconds, the head stays around for seven to eight minutes. Released from this head is a hoppy lemon aroma, overtly resiny, and a finishing hint of herbs. The beer is a bit thicker on the palate then I expected. A hoppy lemon presence greets the tongue, and it is rather enjoyable and refreshing. Then the herbs used in the beer’s brew process hit. The sage and thyme make their presence known, and the rosemary makes subtle illusions to itself. I’m reminded of a full-roast chicken recipe I do utilizing these ingredients (including the lemon). The aftertaste is not long, but it keeps with the herb character, with the thyme outlasting the rest.
I like my Saison’s a bit crisper, and lighter then this, and the “herb style” of beer is not the first style I reach for, and this beer will not change that.
Overall, not bad, but the remaining bottles will probably sit around awhile in the beer fridge.
Tonight I’m posting a review that, frankly, doesn’t belong on this site. Furthermore, it’s a review that’s been in the works for about a year, as I just haven’t felt the gumption to complete it in quite some time. But, what the hey, I’ve got the house to myself on a Friday night, so what better to do than sit around and hammer down a couple of martinis…
That’s right folks, tonight I’m reviewing some fancy pants gin made by two of our most renowned craft brewers in the US of A – Rogue and Dogfish Head. The Dogfish Head “Jin” was purchased during a trip to the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, and I understand that it is distilled on site. The Rogue Spruce Gin was purchased during time spent in Grand Forks, ND. Now they’re both here with me in the Old North State.
So, as I’ve already alluded, my gin drink of choice is a gin martini. I’m of the mind that the only real martini is made with gin, though I must admit that I muddy the style a bit by making mine with just a splash of sweet vermouth and nothing more – no twist of lemon, no olives, lots of gin. So, let’s do this thing!
Dogfish Head Jin:
I won’t discuss the ‘pour’ or the ‘head’ of these drinks like I normally would because, frankly, there’s nothing interesting about the appearance of a gin martini – it looks like a glass of water. The aroma of this gin is chock full of pine aromas – almost like sticking a Christmas tree up your nose – really quite nice. In the mouth, there is a great amount of sweetness to this gin, more even than the sweet vermouth I used will contribute. There are interesting hints of mint and light fruit on the palate, and even a strange flavor that I couldn’t initially place, but I now have found to be rosemary. It turns out that this is distilled with pineapple mint, juniper berries, rosemary, and green peppercorns and, frankly, you can taste it. I didn’t necessarily get the peppercorns initially, though on subsequent tastes, there is a certain peppery spice there in the aftertaste. All in all, this is good. Probably not a gin for purists, as it does have a large amount of botanical flavoring to it, making it fruitier and spicier than a normal gin. However, there’s no mistaking that it is, in fact, gin – it has all of that evergreen effervescence and a nice burn down the throat. I’ve been very impressed with this gin and I would certainly buy it again.
Rogue Spruce Gin:
The Rogue gin is a beast of a different color. The sweetness is all but gone here, being replaced by an earthy flavor that is, in a word, manly. There is a lot of piney flavor here, as is evidenced by the fact that this is a spruce gin. Insomuch as is possible while holding a martini glass, I feel like a lumberjack drinking this. The flavor isn’t terribly subtle, but rather starts off flat and then smacks you in the face with it’s sprucey flavor, big and earthy. Down the throat, it is quite strong and even a bit abrasive. If you’re a person that likes to really feel your drinks, then this may be down your alley.
Personally, though I may risk cashing in my man card here, I vastly prefer the Dogfish Head to the Rogue in this experiment. The DFH was flavorful and smooth, whereas the Rogue is blunt and harsh. I almost certainly wouldn’t buy the Rogue again, though that’s not to say some wouldn’t love it. If you’re in the mood for a good martini after a long day of toppin’ trees in Montana, then maybe the Rogue is for you. Otherwise, I’d suggest reaching for the Dogfish Head if faced with this choice…
Anyone that keeps up with the site here at Sevenpack…. well, anyone that has been keeping up with us for the last couple of years… knows that we tend to stay on top of Dogfish Head. DFH is consistently one of our favorite breweries, and we’ve even been up to Delaware to visit the guys. I even have a keg of 90-minute IPA in the kegerator right now. However, we’ve been pretty disappointed in the last year or so at the slim amount of new brews that Sam and company have produced. Sure, they’re still putting out some good beers, but it’s the same-old-same-old. So, I was happy to see the Sahtea show up. Admittedly, this is a niche brew and a bit gimmicky, but at least it’s new and interesting, so I’m excited to try it out. Apparently this is from a 9th century Finnish recipe involving rye and juniper, and the guys even heat it the traditional way with wood fired stones. Finally, just for good measure, a dose of Chai tea is tossed at the end of the boil. Interesting indeed!
The Sahtea pours a hazy medium golden with hints of ruby coloration and a very thin, dense head. In the nose, this beer is spicy and light with a decent burn in the nose. The aroma is slightly akin to a Belgian tripel, though certainly heavier on the spice. The flavor is very unique, but full of accessible components. There is an initial spicy burn on the tongue where we can taste the chai component. In addition, you catch a grainy twang from the rye that I know well mainly because of Terrapin beers and their love of rye. On through the mouth, there is some syrupy sweetness that reminds me of a Belgian tripel and a lightly tart fruity component. This makes for a complicated beer, but a tasty one. The aftertaste seems to hold primarily to the spice and candi sugar flavors that stick around for quite some time. I’m actually surprised at how accessible this beer is, considering how and from what it is made. I think that most anyone would enjoy this, and some may enjoy it more than more traditional brews. This is attributed to the fact that, despite the exotic ingredients, this has so many familiar flavors. It’s a great beer and, surprisingly, one that I could imagine drinking repeatedly. Seems like those Finns were really onto something some 12 centuries ago, and that’s pretty impressive… I’m very happy that this beer worked out so well, now if Dogfish Head will just keep it up and gives us a few more fresh additions!
I do not travel as much as Ben, but recently I have been on a couple trips. One trip was up to NH, which I will get to later, the other trip was down to Delaware. The purpose of the Delaware trip, to visit Dogfish Head Brewery and Brew Pub. The whole extended weekend was a blast and I would definitely recommend a visit to Rehoboth Beach. Being a beer blog however, I thought I would post some of my thoughts on the bars I visited. Lets start off with the reason I went to Delaware, Dogfish Head Brew Pub.
I can summarize this review thusly: just go. This is where DFH began, so if you enjoy DFH you will not be disappointed. Even if you are not a fan of their beers I would still recommend a visit.
Though not the ideal place to a watch a game (I visited during the Final Four), with only two TVs behind the bar, it is the ideal place for drinking good beer or spirits, eating good food, and having a good conversation/time. The brew pub has a rustic, beach bar character to it with well worn wood floors, and exposed ceiling braces and wiring. All the tap lines serve DFH beers, of course, with one tap line serving up a brew pub exclusive, Daily Wry on my trip, and a beer engine, pumping up 75 Minute IPA on my stay. The “Randal” also made an appearance during one of my visits and I was glad to have finally experienced it (90 Minute IPA was coursing through its hoppy veins when I was there). Though I am not a spirit connoisseur, I had to try the spirit sampler. I was impressed by the offering (Blue Hen Vodka, Brown Honey Rum, Jin and Mango infused Blue Hen Vodka).
I was fortunate enough to get a steak dinner during one of my visits. The steak comes from Sam’s family farm up in Massachusetts, and is not a frequent occurrence on the menu (or so I was told). This is too bad because the steak was delectable, with its sides of mashed potatoes and green beans. Washing the meal down with an India Brown Ale, I thought I was in heaven. During other visits my wife and I ordered the Indulgence burger and the rock fish wrap for lunch and the gumbo and the fish and chips for dinner. All were generous in proportion, cooked well and very flavorful. Though we did not need desert after dinner, we decided to indulge ourselves with a brownie sundae.
A blue-grass band played through Saturday’s dinner. Though lively, the music was at an appropriate volume, as to not interfere with conversations with people around us.
Did I mention the pool tables, pinball and classic arcade cabinet on the second floor? Those were really just icing on the proverbial cake. Pinball and DFH beer, can it get any better?
Fine job by the whole DFH crew for putting together such a great place. Truly enjoyed myself, to say the least.
The brew kit that started it all for DFH. Location DFH Brewery
*Dogfish Head’s latest beer Sah’tea has been slightly delayed, and they have just brewed it for full production*
Post Update: Oops, I did it again. I aged an IPA to lackluster results. This is another giant IPA that I decided had enough alcohol content and hop bite that I’d be interested to see what it should become after a couple of years. This one I happened to age for over 2 years, only to open it tonight. Much like the Hopslam of a couple of days ago, the hop bite on the 120 is nearly gone. There is just a hint of bitterness, but it is merely an afterthought. Instead, the hop has been replaced with a super-syrupy maple sweetness. There was a bit of this in the aged Hopslam, but NOTHING like what we have here. If you’ve had the Sam Adams Utopias, then you have a concept of what this aged 120 tastes like – it’s basically a Utopias, Jr. The mouthfeel is super thick, and the flavor is full of maple syrup with light hints of toffee and just the slightest hop bitterness in the background. And the aftertaste lasts FOREVER. Frankly, this aged better than the Hopslam, but it still pales in comparison to a fresh 120, in my opinion. Basically, don’t age a 120 if you’re a hop-head – you’re gonna end up with a sweet alcohol bomb. It’s delicious, for sure, but a beast of a different color. I’ll stick to fresh hoppy beers from here on out…
Original Post (5/21/06): Oh my goodness. I thought it was just a myth, or maybe an urban legend.
But no – it’s true – the Dogfish Head 120-minute IPA actually, exists, and I drank one. This little bottle of liquid gold sat hidden on the shelf amongst all of the other plebeian beers – the only standout characteristic was the absurd $10 price tag for 12 oz. But, hey, it’s a price you have to pay when you catch the jabberwocky. Also, this stuff isn’t cheap to make. The 120-minute is created over a 2-hour boil with hops continually added during the boil. During the first 30 days of fermentation, new whole-leaf hops are added every single day. Then, the beer is left to further ferment for another month in a closed container with even more whole-leaf hops. In other words, it takes some work to make this beer.
And, while this beer doesn’t disappoint, it is entirely different than I expected. This is claimed by Dogfish Head to be the “holy grail for hop-heads”. However, in practice, the hops take a back seat to the myriad other flavors of this beer. The beer pours a beautiful dark gold color with a white head. The aroma is heavy and quite sweet with some hop aroma. In the mouth, this beer is as complex as any I have yet had. There is a notable alcohol taste – and there should be, considering this beer is 22% abv. In addition to this, you are initially hit with a viscous sweet flavor that shocks the taste buds. Through the mouth a sweet maltiness builds and then subsides to be replaced by a hop bitterness in the back of the throat. The bitterness and sweetness mingle in the aftertaste, while the liquid continues to burn its way through your body – you can feel it well through the chest.
Overall, I’d say this is a great beer – a true party for the taste buds. However, due to the high price tag and comparable alcohol content, I wouldn’t recommend drinking it often or en masse. 6 oz. of this beer gave me a noticeable buzz, and I’m not an entirely amateur drinker.
A follow up to my January 6, Beer News… post. Dogfish Head has revealed the beer for their BRAND X release, due for April/May. It is Sah’tea, which was a Rehoboth Beach brewpub exclusive. You can read a description of the beer on Dogfish’s website, or you can let it be a surprise until you sample it yourself.
[Originally seen at beeradvocate.com]
I hate to sound like a Dogfish Head roadie, but I’ve been following these guys for about 4 years now (that’s a while when you consider the progress of the American craft brew scene), and it’s interesting to follow their progress. Back in the day when I was first getting into Dogfish Head, the proposition of an Imperial IPA was a pretty big deal, and it’s all you needed to do to be considered an ‘extreme’ brewer. But, frankly, times have changed. IIPAs are a dime-a-dozen now. Even though Dogfish Head does still make one of the best of that particular genre, they seem to realize that it is imperative to continue to push the limits to maintain the ‘extreme’ label. So, here they go pushing it again with the Palo Santo Marron, which appears to be an Imperial Brown Ale aged in Paraguayan wood. Some of you are going to say, “Gees, when does it end!? Can we just get back to making good beer?” I understand where you’re coming from. Seriously, some of these brewing practices are getting out of hand. But, at the end of the day, it’s about the beer, right? If someone can brew a delicious beer utilizing some bizarre brewing idea that they pulled out of their a** while taking a shower last week, I’ll drink it! Some bizarre ideas have made for some excellent creations, I think you’ll agree. So, anyway, I’m pretty excited about any new DFH brew, and this is no exception.
Palo Santo is aged in the furthest tank.
The PSM pours SUPER dark – holding it up to a light is no help; you will simply not see through this beer. The head of this beer is the most decadent I’ve seen in a while. Not only is it thick with a caramel color, but it also has a deep ruby tint to it, and it sticks around for at least 5 minutes. The aroma isn’t as extreme as you might expect – there are toffee tints, and it IS quite rich, but that’s about all there is to it. When you initially taste this beer, you’re going to recognize the richness and an interesting twang about it. The mouthfeel is almost syrupy and it really sticks to the sides of the mouth. Both the texture and the flavor offer a lot of caramel flavor. In addition, there are some light chocolate flavors and some buttery tints. However, there is also a smoky exotic taste that is unlike something I’ve found in a beer before. It actually reminds me of a cherry-flavored smokiness paired with just a tint of some exotic citrus. I’m not the best in the world at explaining flavors in the first place, and this beer leaves me a little flummoxed. I really enjoyed this beer, and it does taste quite exotic while maintaining the rich decadence that you’d expect from a wood-aged imperial brown ale. All things considered, this is an exotic beer that you’ll want to drink on occasion (and the $14/4-pack price tag will reinforce that). It’s not a daily drinker, but it’s a great reference to what beer can do and how we can stretch the genre to contain all these interesting permutations. Frankly, this is the reason I enjoy beer, and why I think it’s such a wonderful playing field for those that choose to play. Keep up the good work, DFH.
Of COURSE we had to get the new Dogfish Head – we do consider ourselves a beer blog, right? However, tonight we’re going to make it a bit more interesting, as I managed to pick up both the new Dogfish Head Imperial Pilsner AND the limited edition Imperial Pilsner from Sam Adams. So, I guess you could call it a mini-showdown for a very particular niche of beer. However, out of the spirit of the usual showdowns, I’m going to post one review today and one tomorrow, so hopefully some of you folks might come back in anxious anticipation for the comparisons tomorrow.
This Dogfish Head brew pours a rich golden color that is very clear and, while it does smell of hops, the aroma is not overpowering. Rather, there is a light hop bitterness in the aroma, a fair malty sweetness, and a bizarre tint that oddly reminds me of bubblegum. Despite how that might sounds, it’s actually a pretty decent aroma, but admittedly less pronounced than I expected. In the mouth, this beer does immediately grab you with its hoppiness. You are nailed with a rich hop bitterness from the tip of the tongue all the way to the back of the mouth, hitting it’s peak about 3/4 of the way down the tongue. This hop bitterness isn’t terribly fresh or floral, but rather consists of a very rich tone with a fair amount of malt to back it up. Frankly, I wouldn’t have known this was a Pilsner if you hadn’t told me. Rather, this could pass for either an American pale ale or an IPA, in my opinion, sooner than a Pilsner. Nevertheless, it is a tasty beer. Plenty of hops, a solid richness, and an aftertaste that really kicks for many seconds after the beer is gone. I would have to admit that, for the money, this isn’t my favorite Dogfish Head beer. I had to dish out $14 for a 4-pack of this stuff at the store, which is as much as I’ve paid for a domestic 4-pack. So, don’t get me wrong, it’s a tasty brew, but a)it doesn’t really live up to the Imperial Pilsner name and b)it’d be a lot tastier if it was more like $9 for the 4-pack.
I’m actually a bit tardy in reviewing this beer. It has been on shelves for a while and, if you’re reading this blog, then there’s a solid chance that you’ve already tried this. In fact, I think it’s nearing the end of it’s tenure as this season’s offering – so, if you want some this year, you might want to rush out and pick up a 4-pack.
This beer pours a hazy light yellow that looks and smells very sharp and citrusy. The aroma is full of lemon acidity and it gives you the impression that the first taste is going to make you pucker right up. And, in the mouth, there aren’t any big surprises. This beer is, in fact, full of citrus sourness and acidity. However, floating along with this sourness is a light and soft sweetness that, while not taming the sourness, does provide a lovely backdrop. Also, there is a certain ‘wildness’ to the flavor of this beer that borders on something you might taste in a flemish ale. The journey consists of a sour initial bite that flows across the tongue with occasional bursts of sweetness and eventually finishes with a sweet citrus flavor that is very clean, crisp, and refreshing. Dogfish Head calls this style a ‘neo-berliner-weisse’ and, while I don’t think this style formerly existed, it seems to meet the expectations from such an edgy title. All in all, this is an extremely refreshing and light beer with tons of flavor and a killer bite. I can’t think of much that would hit the spot better on a summer day than this.
Now, I’ve had some rauchbiers in my day (okay, I’ve had a rauchbier in my days, maybe 2). If you haven’t ever tasted a rauchbier, it has been described with such terms as ‘bacon beer’ and ‘campfire in yo’ mouf’. Both of these terms are appropriate in my opinion. And, while I couldn’t exactly pigeonhole the Immort Ale into that category, it’s the nearest I’ve ever seen from an American brewer.
This beer pours a deep brownish-amber color and has a distinctive smoky aroma – It is a refined smokey flavor, as though someone accidentally slipped the whiskey-aged oak planks into the boy scout campfire pile. In the mouth, this beer is about as full and complex as one could wish for. The initial flavor is sweet and reminiscent of peat and red wine. On through the mouth a strong smoky flavor surfaces, blended with a meaty substance that I feel isn’t too far off from smoked pork. As the beer continues through the mouth, the smoky flavor positively engulfs the mouth and heads on up the nasal cavity, leaving you with an aftertaste that is reminiscent of the highest quality campfire ash that one can imagine, with some hints of port. It’s really a sensory experience that encompasses the mouth, nose, and soul. Seriously, you guys, it’s a really crazy beer. i don’t recommend this for the less adventurous, or for folks who aren’t into deep stouts and porters. However, if you ilke a big, fat, dark, complicated, smoky, meaty, ballsy, in-your-face brew, then this might be a decent fit.
It’s no secret that I love me some Dogfish Head, but this is honestly one beer that I’ve been wary of A)Spending my money on, and B)Reviewing. That’s because it’s an expensive beer that has received very mixed reviews from folks whose taste in beer I respect. However, I didn’t think it would be fair to leave such a gaping hole in our repertoire of Dogfish Head reviews. So, I marched down to the beer store and bought a single (not a 4-pack, not until I’m sure!) of Midas’ Touch to review. And tonight (after yesterday’s domestic brew debauchle), seemed like a prime time to drink a higher quality, higher dollar beer to cleanse the pipes. In case you didn’t know, this beer was designed and brewed according to residue that was found in clay pots in King Midas’ tomb – you know, the dude that turned things into gold. So, it’s a sign that even folks thousands of years ago were lucky enough to enjoy a tasty brew. Apparently, the residue in those pots indicated a beer brewed with barley, muscat grapes, and saffron. Sounds interesting, but risky.
This beer pours a clear dark golden with dense carbonation and a transient stark white head. The aroma holds hints of grain with a strong presence of a fruity sweetness – this sweetness is slightly tangy and is obviously reminiscent of the grapes involved in the brewing of this beer. In the mouth, this beer is very grapey. There is a sweet bite on the tip of the tongue that turns into a muscat tanginess around the middle of the tongue. The mouthfeel is sprightly and clean, leaving a slight clinging sweetness at the back of the mouth. The tangy bite of the sweetness only serves to enhance the beer. Overall, I’m glad to say that I really like this beer. It is a lot different than most beers, but it tastes refined and refreshing and would be an excellent summertime beer. If all the folks had to drink back in Midas’ time was this brew, then they could’ve done a lot worse…
Okay, dudes – I just checked after my last review (in which I referenced the Burton Baton), and I realize that we haven’t yet even reviewed the Burton Baton. So, I’m going to give us a quick review to end this injustice.
The Burton pours a dark amber ale, and quite clear. The aroma is hoppy, but also very sweet, with tints of maple syrup. In the mouth, this thing is very sweet, very tangy, and very hoppy. Keep in mind that this bad boy is a big IPA aged in oak, and you can get the idea of what we’re working with. The initial taste on the tongue is mostly sweetness – it seems a bit cloying on the tongue initially, but it quickly transitions into a larger taste explosion that carries some hop and a blast of maple. This transition gives the beer a much bigger footprint and carries it through the mouth. The beer ends its journey by leaving a mapley sweetness throughout the mouth and a sweetbread malt flavor at the back of the throat. This is interesting to me because, while it has a fair hop presence, it seems that there is always a balancing sweetness throughout the mouth that pulls the hop into check, which makes this into a suprisingly balanced beer that is also very big. It’s an adventurous brew, and probably not for the common beer drinker, but very interesting for the curious folks out there. I imagine this would be an interesting pairing for a bitter cheese, oddly enough.