Welcome to my beer blog. Here I'll post some of my thoughts on and reviews of craft brewed beer. Follow me on Twitter @AleThoughts

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon at the Dogfish Head Brew Pub

Last night I posted about a new Dogfish Head beer in the musician inspired series of collaborations with Sony Legacy. While I was extremely excited to try and write about Hellhound, I feel like the brew pub exclusives that we enjoyed deserved some attention as well.

I've been lucky enough to make it down to the Rehoboth brew pub a handful of times over that last 5 years. I'm sure some folks will go right for their favorite DFH stand-by, whether it be the 60 Minute IPA, the 90 Minute IPA or something a bit more sessionable like the Shelter Pale Ale or the Lawnmower Light. I went right for the experimental goodies. This is the gold in my opinion. Brew pub exclusives, some of which will never make it to large production. Here we go.

Dogfish Head Noble Rot

Noble Rot is explained to be some what like a saison but with pinot gris grapes. It pours cloudy bright orange with little to no head or lacing. It smells of lightly sour citrus with hints of grape. Huge bright flavors up front that include the pinot gris grapes, some spice and a hint of sour funk. Tastes very much like wine. The beer settles in exactly as it arrived, bold crisp and sweet. It finishes clean and sour. It feels thin to medium thin in body.

I'm very glad that this was a snifter pour. Not counting the relatively high 8.3% ABV, it has a big smack to the palate of flavor. It's very good in my opinion as it blends the good qualities of a saison with a pinot gris wine.

Dogfish Head Ta Henket
Ta Henket is one of Dogfish Head's "ancient ales". It's brewed with emmer wheat, dom-palm fruit, chamomille and zatar. Cloudy clear, thin head that stays at the edge, very loose quick lacing, bright orange in color. The aroma has earthy grassy notes, creamy almost a hint of green onion? Weird.

Immediately I noticed how odd and complex this beer is. Lots of mild spices and earthy notes work very well together. Doesn't taste or feel like a beer at all. But, what is beer really? The middle is mildly sweet and creamy and it finishes clean and easy with little after taste. Most of the ingredients are completely new to me, so I did not know exactly what to expect. They combine to produce a very complex and focused beer. This is one of the most unique beers I've ever encountered as far as flavor. While it does have a lot of "new to me" flavors its fairly easy on the palate as they all work well together to a focused center. This could easily be a session beer. I'm hoping that this one eventually gets bottled.

Dogfish Head Fungus Tea'Mungus
Fungus Tea'Mungus is described as an American wild ale that is "Kombucha tea inspired with leom peel, Assam and Sencha teas and fermented with Kombucha and other wild yeasts". I've been getting in to the wild ales recently so I was happy to try this.

It pours light clear orange with a decent fluffy white head and quick lacing The aroma brings sharp spiced citrus and mild sour notes. Prominent tea flavors take over the beginning of the tasting. As some spice kicks in we begin to lean toward a chai flavor profile. Some nice citrus notes appear towards the middle. Finishes bitter and sour.

Another very unique brew from DFH. I found this to be very enjoyable and easy on the palate. I'd explain this to others as a chai spiced mild sour. I'd order again and would purchase bottles if it ever got that far. 

Dogfish Head Black & Red
The beast of the day was Black & Red which is described as "A dry minted stout with a serious fruit problem" It pours pitch black, huge tan head, sticky thin lacing. It's just plain gorgeous. The first whif is of mint. MINT! Lots of it. Smells of a thin mint cookie as some chocolate notes sneak in behind the mint. This is certainly a first for me. The mint is not nearly as prominent in the flavor, its very mild. This was a relief. The mint gives way to huge fruit flavors. I picked up blueberry, raspberry and cherries. A lot of fruit. Like, a smack in the face of fruit. Mild chocolate roast notes in the middle mellow things out a bit. Finishes tart with a long lingering after taste.

A truly unique brew. At no point was the ABV noticeable, which is surprising at 10.5%. This does not feel like a stout to me at all. This is a flavor bomb and is very heavy on the palate. It took me more than 30 minutes to finish a snifter. This one is definitely not for the average beer drinker. I am very split on this beer. I really enjoyed the experience but I feel that this needs some more work if it were to be produced for distribution. It's almost startling. I wonder how it would age?  

Dogfish Head Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale
Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale 
A new IPA to the Dogfish Head fleet. This one is a bit more fruity and citrusy. I did a full write up on this one last night, check it out here.

Dogfish Head Namaste
As our afternoon came to a close I decided to end with a pint of Namaste. This is DFH's interpretation of the Belgian white style that has been mass-marketed bastardized by the people at Blue Moon.
Namaste needs no sliced orange on the rim as it's brewed with dried organic orange slices. Also in the mix is fresh cut lemon grass and toasted coriander. I've enjoyed this brew several times.

It pours cloudy light orange/yellow with a big fluffy white head and sticky thin lacing The smell is of mild citrus and spice notes with a hint of creaminess. The flavor is sharp and crisp lemony citrus, coriander spice with a creamy chewyness. Finishes very clean. It's a very well balanced and enjoyable session beer.

Excellent representation of the style. Does not push the envelope at all but completely nails the style. This is a very good and easy to drink beer. I will keep this one on hand for my friends that always order those mass produced and artificial tasting witbiers

So, that was our afternoon. It was fantastic. In true awesome-wife form, Erin volunteered to be sober driver. I love her. Very much:) Cheers.

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