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Dogfish Head Red & White

September 21st, 2010 beckel

Now we have an even more exciting brew from Dogfish Head their Red & White. A Witbier brewed with coriander, orange peel and Pinot Noir juice with 11% aged in Pinot Noir barrels and the rest aged on oak barrel staves. At 10% ABV this one is sure to be a sipper.

Pours an attractive amber hue that is quite translucent with little specks of sediment floating about. About three fingers of crisp white head are produced and fades within a few minutes leaving a very small amount of lacing and about a millimeter of residual bubbles. Smells assertively of Pinot Noir grapes, cherry, oak, enjoyable sweetness, modest bitterness, a variety of other fruit & citrus esters, particularly orange, light alcohol and something that reminds me somewhat of bubblegum. Flavor is very interesting and complex. A great variety of fruit esters, particularly dark pitted fruits, fermented grapes and oranges, molasses, gentle alcohol and herbal esters. Body is surprisingly light and the mouthfeel is quite carbonated and slightly slick. As it is allowed to warm the coriander is easily identified on the nose and more clear in the flavor even though I barely noticed it when colder. Additionally more furit esters also come out including plum, pomegranate and even blueberry. Considering it’s massive flavor profile it is no real surprise that the alcohol is not overtly obvious but is none the less impressive. Over all a quite delicious and impressive brew that most will enjoy and would also work as an in between beer for wine connoisseurs. Absolutely worth sampling if you have the chance and a good example of what joys experimentation can leave us with. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Red & White

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

September 21st, 2010 beckel

Here I have a brew from a much adored brewery Dogfish Head out of Milton, Delaware. While unavailable in my market I snagged this bottle from Casanova Liquors in Hudson, Wisconsin. Festina Pêche is brewed in the Berliner Weiss Style (a somewhat tart approach on wheat ale) and has as the name implies peach concentrate added. At 4.5% this is sure to be an easy drinking, refreshing ale.

Pours a very pale yellow hue that is quite opaque. About half a finger of white head is created and very quickly dissipates. Scents of flat dry wheat, very gentle tartness, herbal yeast notes, and gentle savory peach. Tastes of cereal grains, enjoyable malty tartness on top of sweet & sour peach. Body is very light and the moutfeel is quite carbonated and relatively dry. An interesting an enjoyable example of  a rarely brewed style but probably not something I would consume too often as it is a bit simple and mostly fruity. If you enjoy peaches and aren’t afraid of some delicate tartness this beer will be right up your alley. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Dogfish Head Fort

May 13th, 2010 beckel

Today I have what is sure to be a remarkable beer from Dogfish Head and another fantastic Score from Dark Lord Day. Luckily this bottle is a 2008 vintage because I am certainly not patient enough to give this brew anymore time to age, though I’m sure it would treat it marvelously. A Belgian inspired base beer was blended with over a ton of pureed raspberries to create this intense 18% ABV brew which claims the title of worlds strongest fruit beer. Pours an interesting hue somewhere between a tangerine and a raspberry. Two fingers of off white head form and settle within a few seconds. Aroma consists of a good deal of alcohol, similar to brandy, hints of raspberry, gentle tartness and a hint of sweetness. Flavor is full of strong alcohol esters that largely dominate the beer followed by enjoyable sweet and tart contrasting notes of raspberry and modest bitterness. Aside from being incredibly boozy the flavor profile of this brew is really quite enjoyable. As you get your palate accustomed to the massive alcohol you can start to enjoy the whiskey like esters and the way they play with the varying fruit esters including raspberry, cranberry and a variety of citrus’. While I can’t really pick out the Warrior hops used in this beer a solid IBU of 45 is noticed in the finish creating an enjoyably bitterness. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth for such as strong ale and the body is equally light for the style though near the medium side. Overall an enjoyable brew provided you can handle the alcohol and be patient. Those who enjoy very strong ales and fruit will find their dreams met here. If you want to keep your throat warm and enjoy complex fruit esters this is probably the beer for you. I would love to see what this beer has to offer after a decade of aging. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Fort

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

September 16th, 2009 beckel

Today I have another brew in front of me that is sure to be lovely. Punkin Ale from the creative minds of Dogfish Head is you guessed it, their take on a pumpkin beer. Unfortunately Dogfish Head is not distributed in my state of Minnesota but luckily we can get it just across the border in Wisconsin which is where this bottle came from via my good friend Ben. Sam Calagione and his crew at Dogfish Head brew some of the most unique beers in the industry including a myriad of brews adapted from ancient recipes, the most recent being Chicha which is brewed in a Peruvian tradition of chewing on grains to release starches. Their slogan may be off centered beers for off centered people, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t also delicious. From the description this is “A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg. Let’s see how it goes. This ale pours a bright orange ruby hue that is a bit hazy but still moderately opaque. Head is about two fingers and very white in color lasting only a few minutes but leaving a nice ring around the surface after fading. Smells strongly of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and some nice malty sweetness. Flavor is really quite nice. A solid malt backbone that you would expect in a quality brown ale does a wonderful job supporting the mild pumpkin flavor and accompanying spices and herbal notes, particularly gentle cinnamon. Malt flavors are moderately sweet but also nicely bitter creating a wonderful balance of flavors. Mouthfeel is rather carbonated but not uncomfortably so. Body is a light medium. Obviously Dogfish Head has a lot of experience in brewing with unconventional ingredients and this beer is a perfect example of practice making perfect. Not only is this beer an example of what one can do with a pumpkin ale but also spiced ales in general (“holiday ales” as some refer to those released around Christmas). It is clear that the brewers took a solid brown ale base and thought mostly about balance when crafting this beer. Though I love the sweet, highly spiced and pumpkin flavored Pumpking by Southern Tier [review] this ale shows that sometimes simpler is better. With a 7% ABV you can easily have a few of these while handing out candy to the local children…or a bunch while cycling around the city like a hooligan. Unquestionably another wonderful brew from the fine folk of Dogfish Head and my new favorite Pumpkin Ale (I still love you Southern Tier). Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

August 27th, 2009 beckel

Upon seeing this beer in my fridge moments ago I couldn’t help but review it immediately. I am a huge fan of the creative and energetic Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head who is ever  so inspirational and dedicated to the spirit of home brewing and inventive craft beers. I have managed in the past to get my hands on their delicious 60 [review] and 90 Minute IPAs [review] but until now the 120 Minute IPA has eluded my grasps. Conveniently a good friend of mine made his way to Wisconsin a few weeks ago and brought be back a bottle as well as a bottle of their Punkin Ale. This ale is Dogfish Head’s rendition of an Imperial brew based off their well received IPA recipe and hopped continuously for 120 minutes just for hop heads like me. Bottled on 11/08/08.  Pours an attractive bright reddish orange hue that is not at all opaque with just over a finger of off white head that lasts for a little over a minute. Smells strongly of alcohol and some heavily bitter hops and just a bit of citrus but mostly alcohol. Tastes incredibly interesting. Intense sweetness from the malt that reminds me a bit of a sweet sherry and orange marmalade which is complimented by bitter, citrus and floral hops as well as a good deal of alcohol and gentle herbal notes. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite clean for how sweet this brew is. Dogfish Head has change how they brew this beer a bit from a previous ~20% ABV to currently ~18% ABV which they find  to be the ideal alcohol level. I can’t say I am certain when they started these changes so I can’t attest for my bottle but I can still safely say that producing a beer this strong is no easy task and Dogfish Head has put forth on amazing effort. The massive malt profile required to get the sugars to produce this alcoholic of a brew unquestionably detracts from the potential massive hoppyness of this brew but that is not necessarily a bad thing. This ale definitely has hard alcohol qualities but even with its massive alcohol the complex sweet notes make it incredibly drinkable for such a strong ale. An incredibly interesting Imperial India Pale Ale that can be appreciated by fans of IPAs and Belgian Strong Ales alike. So long as you are not afraid of the massive alcohol present in this brew I would encourage anyone to sample this beer if only to see the complexity of flavors that are possible in a simple concept yet innovative brew such as this.  Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

April 13th, 2009 beckel

Today I  get to enjoy the last two bottles of a beer I got some time ago from Wisconsin and am ever so pleased to have the opportunity to write about. As any of you who have sampled their ales will know Dogfish Head produces some exceptional brews and their India Brown Ale was the first of the style I had ever had the chance to try. Dogfish Head is brewed in Milton, Delaware and is unfortunately not distributed in my fine state of Minnesota, hopefully they change this sometime soon as I crave their beers on a regular basis. This beer pours a deep black color that is not translucent at all, allowing some red hues to barely shine through when brought to light. Head is creme in color and just under two fingers that lasts for a number of minutes leaving a bit of carbonation in a ring around the surface area. Scents of roasted brown malts and caramelized brown sugar are dominate with just a bit of alcohol and bittering hops on the nose. Some of the aroma characteristics of this beer are similar to that of a milk stout but less dark and more roasted, very appealing. Upon sipping this beer you get a good amount of coffee like flavor that is quite a bit more intense than in the nose but wonderfully balanced by the caramelized brown sugar and subtle hop bitterness in the middle and finish of this brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy and the body is reasonably light for an ale. With a 7.2% ABV this is no small beer but it is very easy to drink as the roasted malt covers almost all of the alcoholic flavor. This is one heck of a flavorful Brown Ale that still manages to be incredibly drinkable. I would happily drink this brew any day of the year and I’m sure it will bring a  new level of appreciation for Brown Ales to anyone who finds the style a bit uninspired. While this beer may not be the first choice for hopheads it is a wonderful example of hops and malt making perfect harmony. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

February 22nd, 2009 beckel

Another treat I was able to pick up in Wisconsin was Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute Imperial IPA. I was very pleased to see this on the shelves and was even more delighted to see a sign telling me to ask about the 120 Minute. Sadly upon asking the gentleman at the counter I was told that they had been cleared out of the 120 Minute a few days earlier. Oh well, next time. I was pleased with their 60 Minute but wanted a bit more and I’m happy to say they did a pretty damn good job delivering. Pours a very nice amber color that is relatively translucent but quite deep in color with a few fingers of frothy white head. Aroma is wonderful, incredibly hoppy with intense orange and floral notes complimented  by robust bitterness and some slightly caramelized malty sweetness. This is a very full flavored ale. Malty sweetness is noticed immediately on the tongue with many floral flavors accompanying it followed by some solid bitterness finishing rather cleanly with some caramelized malt and floral flavors. It is no doubt this ale is truly brewed for an hour and a half  with plenty of hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and the body isn’t particularly heavy. Definitely a solid sipping ale with a 9% ABV and a brew that any fan of hops will most likely enjoy. Though not a beer for those who don’t like hops this beers malt profile also has a lot to offer and reminds me of many of the traits I appreciate in a Barleywine. Would compliment a spicy Asian dish wonderfully. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

November 17th, 2008 beckel

Here we have another interesting beer from the fine folk at Dogfish Head in Milton, Delaware. Raison D’Etre is brewed with Belgian beet sugars and green raisins and is sure to be a unique experience. As the bottle says, this beer pours a deep mahogany color that is very opaque, with red tones shining through as you bring it to the light. Producing about 1/2 inch of very light tan head that settles very quickly. The aroma is intriguing, prune and raisin scents are nicely rounded off with gentle roasted malts and a slight smell of alcohol. The flavor of this beer is very different. Tastes of raisins or plums and a very strange sweet flavor surely influence by the beet sugar used in this brew, a bit of malt seems to round off the flavor but it is rather difficult to place the flavors in this ale. Though this beer is 8% ABV the alcohol is rather mute, particularly when distracted with all of the very interesting flavors in this beer. As with many complex ales, more flavors are noticeable when served cool, but I find this beer more drinkable cold. The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit sticky but it is reasonably drinkable and the body isn’t too heavy. Though the flavors of this beer are very unique it goes down quite smoothly but likely will not be drunk very quickly. Certainly not the beer for everyone but if you are looking for something different and don’t oppose fruit flavors you may enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

October 20th, 2008 beckel

Today I get to write about a brewery that I have wanted to pursue since I first read about them over a year ago, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery from Milton, Delaware. From their year round brews such as their 60 Minute IPA that we have today, to some of their more elusive “Occasional Rarities” I have read and heard nothing but praise for Dogfish Head and the love, passion, and creativity they put into all of their beer. Though while in Wisconsin I was only able to find 2 varieties of their beer I was still very content and can’t wait to crack into my first bottle. Thanks to our absurd alcohol distribution system and the numerous difficulties for smaller craft breweries when it comes to getting their beers around the country, Dogfish Head is not available in our fine state of Minnesota. Maybe someday but until then I will have to manage to be content. Pours an incredibly transparent slightly reddish copper color with about a half an inch of white head that lasts for a few minutes. Aroma is robust and hoppy, I detect light almost brandy like aromas that mix in ever so nicely. If I could only describe the satisfied smile on my face after taking a few sips of this beer. The hop profile of this beer is immense, it is no doubt that hops are added regularly during the 60 minute boil of this beers wort. What is so wonderful about this beer is how smooth and balanced it is while still being almost only hoppy. Nice bitterness comes first I am thinking I am noticing some of the Warrior hops, but then comes a gentler citrus like hop flavor that still includes a wonderful bitter hint. Mouthfeel is medium but body is light making this beer very drinkable if you are used to a hoppy beer. With a 6% ABV I could see myself easily drinking far too many of these and not noticing, though I would almost expect it to be a stronger beer with its wonderfully complex hop flavors. Drinking this beer makes me more and more excited at the opportunity to someday drink their 90 and 120 Minute versions because I am sure they will be able to balance their respective contents marvelously if the 60 Minute is any example. Though this beer is unquestionably designed for hop fans and will almost certainly quench the thirst of any beer geek, I think someone who isn’t accustomed to so much hop flavor my also be able to appreciate this brew if they were to give it a chance because of its interesting balance. Not exactly for the wary but if you like a good artisan beer this is a wonderful choice and like any IPA  would go marvelously with a nice spicy dish. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA