Dogfish head last Wednesday

September 19, 2008

Yes, the big Dogfish extravaganza was last Wednesday.  I tried to get to it on here a little earlier, but I got myself tipsy last night instead.  Crazy how a beer blogger would go and do something irresponsible like that.

So Wednesday, I stepped into Bodega bright and early hoping to find something rare and new, and even on their menu’s they have listed:  Theobrama 10%.  I’m almost squealing with glee ordering this new beer that I’ve waited a year for at this point.  Well guess what?  No Theobrama.  It didn’t come in  yet.  But the fact that it’s on the menu bodes well for me.  If they are so sure that they will get the beer that they will reprint their menus, than hopefully they will get it in one day soon.

So what did they have on those taps?  They did have many Dogfish taps on the line.  Those taps were:

60 Minute IPA – of course, the trademark, benchmark beer of the Dogfish line.

90 Minute IPA – The higher gravity version of the same, clocking in at 9% giving just the power to knock off one’s socks.

no surprises there, but then it got interesting…

Black & Blue – Fermented with blackberries and blueberries and clocking in at 11%.  Tiny taster glasses only.

This one I had to try as I hadn’t had it in years since I had been to the brewery.

Appearance- Beer pours a hazy red with a thin nothing of a head that shows next to no presence.  There’s a bit of lacing and I’m hoping this beer delivers in the flavor from this poor appearance.

Smell- Blueberry and concord grape on the nose with substantial malt backbone and strong alcohol fumes wafting up to meet and  burn the nose hairs.  Blackberries were the scent I previously mistook for concord grape earlier when I wrote the review.  How I could do that is pretty surprising, I hope it’s not that end of summer cold that everyone is getting.

Taste- The berry flavor here on tap is much more pronounced and substantial than I remember from the bottle.  Strong berries, strong alcohol.  This is quite nice and lightly prickling.  Hops are not here at all, and the malt is even and balanced.  The beer tastes a whole lot like a revised Au Currant, the retired Dogfish brew.

Mouthfeel- Warming, medium bodied, highly carbonated, not overly puckering from the berry sweet/sourness and semi-smooth drinking.

Drinkability- It was a good beer to try once and move on to a different tap.  It may not get revisited by me, but I can’t say it was the beer’s flaws that caused that.  It’s worth it for the fruity beer lovers out there.

Chateau Jiahu – Inspired by a beverage found in clay posts in China around 9000 years ago. In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers used pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. The rice and barley malt were added together to make the mash for starch conversion and degradation. The resulting sweet wort was then run into the kettle. The honey, grapes, Hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers were then added. The entire mixture was boiled for 45 minutes, and then cooled. The resulting sweet liquid was pitched with a fresh culture of Sake yeast and allowed to ferment a month before the transfer into a chilled secondary tank.

I had to have this one on tap as well.  I enjoyed it from the bottle years ago, and have an aged bottle or two in my cellar, but never on tap.

Poured into a taster glass although the beer is a mere 8% ABV.  Which was fine with me, I do a lot of drinking and a little less won’t hurt me.

Appearance- Beer pours cloudy and orange.  If I didn’t know better I would say that’s orange juice with a little lemon mixed in.  Pulpy and cloudy, it hardly even looks like beer.  No lacing, no head, very slight carbonation.  Looks like some kind of a spritzer or carbonated juice at best.

Smell- Smells like orange juice or tangerine as well.  Orange and many exotic spices, but seems like it has cinnamon and coriander as well.  They don’t list that as an ingredient so I’ll have to guess that this is some other scent that I’m not so familiar with.  Hints of tobacco and caramel malts linger in there as well.  This smells nothing like the Jihau I remember.  This seems to have Ginger as well, I’m mistaking a lot of flavors and it could be my lack of experience with chrysanthemum flowers and hawthorn fruit.

Taste- Citric, but not orange, more like a papaya, and pomegranate, the juice flavor here is quite strong and refreshing.  It really tastes more like a wine than a beer.  This would be a great one from the Dogfish catalog for Sam to take to the woman in his book and argue the point of beer’s multitude of flavors that can be found.  There is a light fruit punch flavor and a hint of wheat, which is also not listed in the ingredients.  No hints of malt and absolutely no hops.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, juicy, medium-high in carbonation, and medium light in body.

Drinkability- I like juice, and this is amazing for something to have with breakfast in place of orange or some other juice.  I love it, what can I say?

Festina Peche – The neo Berliner Weiss with peaches infused in the flavor.  The bar manager thought it wasn’t right and had me try it.  It was sour like a Berliner Weiss should be and didn’t have a lot of the peach flavor.  I prefer it that way, but it was different than it normally is.

Immort Ale – Claimed to be the only keg in the state of Ohio and I believe it.  This is what they had in place of Theobrama since it didn’t show up.  Oh, you know I had to drink on this one.

Once again poured into the taster glass which is fine for that heavy 11% gravity.

Appearance- Beer pours a red/brown amber color with no real head to speak of and no lacing either strangely enough.  The beer is cloudy and as I love it aged, I can’t wait to taste it on tap.

Smell- Oaky, vanilla, and malty upfront.  Light hops, malt is heavily caramelized, and the oak smell is quite strong in this one.  There is another Dogfish beer called Immoak that I have yet to try.  The oak on that one must be insane because this one has ample oak riding on my nostrils.

Taste- Rich and malty in flavor, and the oak and vanilla taste are also rich in the taste department.  Hints of dark fruity ripe plums and dates.  Prunes and bourbon also seem thick upfront in the taste.  The bourbon is likely more of that oak bleeding through.  Very sweet and low in hops.  This is something I would love to have in the wintertime.  Alcohol is strong, but balanced.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, fruity with a fig infused perception, full-bodied, smooth, and medium-light in carbonation levels.

Drinkability- I would drink this by the fireside on a cold winter evening.  This is a great beer for all times though.  I’m glad I will have the opportunity to get this again in a four pack.  Great aged, and great fresh.

Indian Brown Ale – Dogfish’s lovely balanced and highly hoped brown ale.  Great for sessioning, and I have sampled many a times.

Punkin’ Ale – Dogfish seems to have improved their recipe on this beer this year.  A much more roasted pumpkin mouthfeel that is excellent for the fall season.

Now these were all great to have, but where was John the Dogfish rep?  Well, the men of the hour didn’t show up until happy hour was over.  So in the meantime I could stock up on a bunch of swag, which I was eager to do.  I love Dogfish head and their artwork.  I got a couple of sweet beveled pint glasses, two bottle openers, a tin sign, and a poster.  I made out like a bandit.

When the Dogfish rep, John showed up, I had to ask him what was up with Theobrama, and of course, it wasn’t here yet.  Easy enough answer.  He told me about this year’s Alefest in Dayton, where Festina Peche was infused with blueberries with their Randall device, and 90 minute IPA was infused with Glacier hops.  I also heard a story about the wonderful 120 minute going on tap when those ran out.  All of those would be a true feast here if they were on tap.  But either way, this truly was a special event, and I didn’t go home dissapointed, or sober either.

The next beer related thing coming up is Firkin Friday today at the Barley’s locations.  The downtown location still has the J Scott Francis ESB, which I can vouch for and say is a very nice smooth beer.  The smokehouse hasn’t been able to update due to the wind catastrophe, but I called them and found they have the centennial IPA on the firkin.  A little variety would be nice.  Perhaps I’ll see them next week.

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