Life and Limb Rhizing Bines from @SierraNevada and @dogfishbeer

Img_2194Img_2195Img_2193

I’ve had good luck with beers from both Sierra Nevada and DogFish Head, but I’ve never had one of their collaborations. When I read about this release, I was eager to try it. It’s a double IPA and I’m a big fan. It’s using some expiermental hops, something as a homebrewer always piques my interest. You never know which HBC will become the next Amarillo or Simcoe.

The beer is sold in 750ml bottles, in the new Dogfish head bottles. I have to admit I’m not impressed with custom bottle molds, this one pours kinda funny, and looks strange too. However the label has a real nice look to it.

The beer glugs from the bottle, raising a foamy head, typical for a hoppy ale. The beer is not bottle conditioned and pours crystal clear and golden. There isn’t a citrus note from the it’s much more woody, floral, and earthy. It’s not your typical west coast ipa, citrus and pine, and I’m kind of disappointed. The body is fine, not overly thick, not syrupy, but the hop flavors I can’t get beyond. I taste mellon, and woody, and theres a faint soapy taste. I even dumped part of a glass, and washed my glass to ensure I didn’t have some sort of residue in my glass tainting the beer. Alas it was just the flavor. 

Vital Stats: Served at 45F in a willi beecher. 8% ABV.

Taste: B- Atypical for a west coast ipa, plenty hoppy, just not the right kind.

Drinkability B+: Subltle for 8%, not hot or too thick.

Packaging: A-. Some info, hop variety, bottled on date, and nice technique info (continuous hopping and torpedo). Missing IBU, and it’s got the funky bottle, that maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t like.  

Value: B. It’s a solid beer, some hop flavors don’t agree with some people, this is one of those beers for me.  

 

 

Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale

Dsc_8025

I did a quick survey of our tags today, and was a little surprised that we’ve only reviewed 2 beers by Delaware’s Dogfish Head.  And for all our opinions on pumpkin beers, we’ve reviewed a disappointing 5 (though I see another was posted as I write this, so we’re up to 6).  So I opted to grab this one out of the cooler to try tonight. 

As far as why we haven’t written many DFH reviews, I guess that’s down to their success.  In the 3 years we’ve been writing this blog, they’ve seen tremendous success and are now nearly ubiquitous it seems in any restaurant that has anything “craftier” than Sam Adams.  Maybe we’ve felt they didn’t need the press.  All that said, this one is worth a try.  

Punkin’ pours a nice orangey-copper color with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it head.  I had to move fast to reposition the camera to get a picture of it.  It laces the glass a little bit and otherwise appears fairly clear with little carbonation.  Some fairly typical pumpkin ale smells in the glass.  Pumpkin (duh), cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar, maybe molasses.  Not overpowering, but I definitely smelled it standing up with the glass on the table when I poured it.  OK, now for a taste.

Dsc_8027

It’s got a little bit of an oily mouth-feel, and the carbonation is actually higher than I expected.  The spices are a little more prominent than I thought they’d be including some peppery notes I wasn’t expecting at all.  It’s got some bready sweetness, even a little vanilla towards the back and a nice hop bite.  The pumpkin flavor is there, but it takes a back seat to the spice notes and the hops.

At 7% it’s not exactly a session beer, but I’d definitely have a second if I were out and found it on draft.  I wasn’t bored or underwhelmed as I am with so many pumpkin beers.  I’ve stopped trying to predict which pumpkin beers people will like; I’m a fan of the bigger imperials in part because I’m usually one and done with flavor beers, and I like a lot of flavor, but I think this one is worth a try if you find it in the wild or want to venture off the Blue Moon/Shipyard Pumpkinhead bunny slope.

Vital Stats: Bottle poured at 48F into that thar DFH glass. 7.0% ABV. 

Taste: B+ An nice and unique take on this style, and like I said, I wasn’t bored.

Drinkability: A- Went down easy, almost sessionable but for the ABV.

Packaging: B  Dogfish has their recognizable label style for most of their 12 oz bottles (though some deviate from it inexplicably like the excellent Burton Baton).  A little info, a little swagger.  

Value: C- $10.19 for a 4 pack. It’s a pricey beer.  I didn’t like it enough to get it all the time at that price.  One four-pack a season is about where I’m at with this beer.  Now that I think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing it available on draft.  

 

Festina peche

P279P280

Another quick post. This is a peach flavored Berliner weisse. A style nearly extinct in the commercial market. This isn’t traditional as its normally flavored at the time of service, and at a very low abv, however this is a very serviceable example . It is one of the few US brewed examples I am aware of that is available nationally, albeit only as a summer seasonal.
Summary it’s a beer I am really enjoying lately, may not be a style for everyone. It is a sour beer, in a subtle way. It’s a very crisp refreshing beer enjoyable and won’t weight you down. The fruit is apparent on both the nose and taste, but isnt too intense.
There is no shortage of interesting beers brewed by dogfish head, while I almost always am intrigued by them, and frequently buy those large factor bottles. More often than not I don’t revisit them. This is a four pack I am already on my second and I will be getting a few more before the season is over.

75 Minutes with @Dogfishbeer

Photo_2_2

I have a love/hate relationship with Dogfish Head beers. I hate that I don’t love them. It’s not that they aren’t good (and in some cases great), it’s just that I’ve yet to have one that I really love. Bitches Brew is as close as I’ve found, but that’s one in a line-up of 30-40. I really wanted to love this beer. 

I cracked this beer to enjoy with the NCAA championship game. I’ve been really interested in trying it, since it’d billed at a hoppy beer made with maple syrup… sounds like a nice combo. 

First of all, I wanted to pour a small amount in my glass to smell/taste before filling the glass and WHOA!!! This beer has a LOT of carbonation. I had a hard time not getting a 3 inch head on 3 inches of beer. That surprised me a bit. 

The smell is a bit sweet (the maple?), but not as citrus/pine/floral as I expected from an IPA. The taste was right in line with the smell… a bit sweet, not much bitterness and extremely carbonated (too much?). The head was pillowy and left some nice lacing on the glass. 

Overall, it’s very well balanced, but a bit too sweet for my liking with this style. Again, this is a “good” beer, but not something I’ll make part of my regular line-up. I wonder if the carbonation is typical or if I got an off batch? The bottom line? There are a bunch of IPAs that I’d reach for before I’d drink this one. Of course Heady Topper, which has a little more alcohol, but is so much more enjoyable, but also Uinta Hop Notch, Lagunitas Sucks, Green Flash West Coast IPA, etc. 

Vital Stats: 7.5% ABV. Served at 45F in a glass. 

Taste: B. The carbonation got in the way of a good beer. 

Drinkability: B. This is not a light beer. 

Packaging: B. Attractive label, but not much else. 

Photo_5Photo_4_1Photo_3_1

Dueling Review #2 Dark Horse “Plead the 5th” Imperial Stout

Photo

OK, my turn to review this beer.  Looking forward to seeing how similar Jim and I found it to be.  The label doesn’t really tell the story of this beer, the fifth in the series of stouts from Dark Horse, and once again, it’s a missed opportunity in my book.  I realize I may be alone on this one, but I do wonder why when you put so much thought and love into your beer the label is an afterthought.  I guess when I open my brewery each bottle will come with a 46-page booklet.  I’m sure that won’t hit my margins at all.

On to the beer:  This stuff pours like motor oil.  Thick, viscous, and black as the ace of spades.  I wasn’t able to get much of a head on it, but since I’ve only got one, I didn’t want to screw it up, either.  What little foam I did get on pouring vanished quickly.

I didn’t pick up all that much on the nose, TBH.  Some chocolate malts and wood tones.  Very difficult to pick them out though. HOWEVER…the lack of strong aromas or foamy froth lulled me to sleep, and I wasn’t expecting the monster lurking beneath the surface of this beer.  

Wow.  It is intense.  

A huge, luxuriant mouth feel, with tiny, pointed carbonation and just a creamy, delicious experience from start to finish.  Dark chocolate (a little bitter but in a good way), coffee, caramel, a hint of vanilla, with the alcohol struggling to penetrate that massive wall of taste.  Aftertaste was non-existent beyond a hint of coffee.  I was only able to get my hands on one stout today for International Stout Day, but this was a great one and only.  Thanks to Jim for sharing this with me.

Taste:  A  It’s big, it’s smooth as silk, it’s everything an imperial stout should be.  About the only thing you could possibly ding it on IMO is the sweetness; this is more of a dessert, sipping beer.  

Drinkability:  C  One and done with this stuff, I think.  It’s decadent in a good way.  

Vitals:  12.0 % ABV, poured into my Movember pint glass at around 50F.  

Celebrating Stout Day with Evolution Menagerie #5

Photo-12
Evolution Craft Brewing Company is a relatively new brewery located in Delmar, Delaware. Their Menagerie #5 is a Russian Imperial Stout that has been aged for five months in bourbon barrels. 

The Menagerie pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a sizable mocha colored head on top. As it reduces, some very nice lacing is left behind that clings to my glass. It has a fantastic aroma of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. There is a slight hint of alcohol coming through, but not really in a bad way, in the way that lets you know that this isn’t a beer to mess around with. 

The flavor lives right up to the aroma. A great combination of vanilla, chocolate, and lightly roasted malt. There is some oak and bourbon, as well as a slight sweetness and a little bit of a smoky flavor right near the finish. 

Taste: A. One of my favorite beers in the style. Is there a little hometown bias in there? Probably, but that doesn’t bother me one bit.

Drinkability: A-. Slight knock for high abv, but it is extremely smooth and easy drinking. 

Vitals: 10.50%

Dogfish Head Faithfull Ale

Img_0896l

Faithfull Ale is the third beer that Dogfish Head has done in collaboration with Sony, this time to commemorate Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary and their debut album Ten. The side of the bottle states: “In recognition of these milestones this Belgian-style golden ale is delicately hopped to 20 IBUs and fruit-forward from 10 incremental additions of black currants over the course of the one hour boil.

Going in, I was pretty excited to try this beer. My experiences with the DFH/Sony beers had been for the most part positive thus far, Bitches brew was fantastic and Hellhound was a decent beer. DFH does not make many Belgian style beers and the currants made for a potentially interesting combination. I went over to the brewery on release day and got to sample it on draft and then decided to buy one bottle or further tasting ($12.50, limit 2).

Right away I thought there might be a problem. Many fruit forward beers have some sort of color to them, but Faithfull was golden/orange. Upon smelling it there was only a slight fruity aroma, that I could only assume was currants. Continuing on a theme, there was very little currant in the flavor. It was mostly came off like a generic Belgian style ale, with some pale grain and bready malt flavors going on.

Overall, the beer was a disappointment. I was hoping for a much stronger currant presence considering there were “10 incremental additions of black currants.” It comes off like a very generic Belgian Style Pale Ale, with very little of the Belgian yeast/spices even coming through.

Taste: C. Nothing wrong with the beer, but its just boring and nothing makes me want to have it again.
Drinkability: B. Not hard to drink, but I wouldn’t really want to waste my time with it
Vitals: 750ml, 7% ABV, 20 IBUs.