I’m sure you guys read that New Yorker story on the Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione. I loved the angle on the debate between traditional and extreme brewing techniques. When does beer stop being a beer? When did this blog become philosophy 101? These are good questions.
Anyway, the New Yorker story (it’s a monster but well worth it http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/24/081124fa_fact_bilger) got me curious about Dogfish Head. Not a lot of DH’s beers are available in Iowa because they come with a hyper ABV. You can get a lot of the IPAs, but the specialties are hard to find.
My in-laws and family wanted to hit Costco in Madison, Wis., on Thanksgiving weekend. I was spacing off when we came up on Mineral Point Rd., a place I knew where a Steve’s Liquors was located. And there was Steve’s, so I went in and went a little crazy.
I bought three different DH brands, Midas Touch Golden Elixir, 90-minute IPA and Raison D’Etre. So far, I’ve tried Midas and RD’E.
The Midas is well-balanced. It has hints of honey, grapes and maybe hops. It’s not Schlitz. Saffron seems to be the most powerful element. It pours a pure gold. If you’ve read the New Yorker story, this is the beer based loosely on the ancient beer recipe found in an Egyptian tomb or something like that. It’s different. Definitely worth a try. I liked it, but it’s not going to be a regular in the ‘fridge.
I liked the Raison D’Etre (I think the name is a pun because the RDE has green raisins) a little better. It’s a stronger taste, with a little trappist to it with it falling into the Belgian strong ale category. (I popped open the Chimay Grand Reserve, to . . . die . . . for.) This beer is malty with new flavors coming out with each layer. The raisins and the beet sugar make it a borderline Belgian strong. If you’re looking to try a Belgian strong, by all means, may I direct you to the Chimay blue.
I haven’t tried the 90-minute IPA, but I can’t wait. I’ve had the 60 and really enjoyed it. Even Hlas, a Miller Lite dude to the bone, gave it a thumbs up.
Dogfish Head and the guys from BeerAdvocate, Jason and Todd Alström, are going to brew a beer for the sixth annual Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, Massachusetts on Feb. 20-21 (featuring Night of the Barrels on Friday –all wood-aged beers — and Sessions One & Two (over 100 extreme beers) on Saturday). (Honey, about that trip for our 20th anniversary . . .)
From BeerAdvocate: “The beer’s creation and progress will be tracked and discussed online, named by BeerAdvocate.com members via a competition, served exclusively at the Extreme Beer Fest, and discussed during an education seminar.”
Here are the ingredients:
– Maple Syrup (Grade A, Massachusetts)
– Green Peppercorns
– Korean Corn Tea “Oksusu-cha”
– Fawcett’s Maris Otter Base Malt
– Dash of MFB Kiln Coffee Malt
– Liberty & Vanguard hops
– Dogfish Head’s Raison D’Etre House Yeast Strain
– Aiming for 8% ABV
In addition to the straight-up version, a version aged on walnut wood chips will also debut on Night of the Barrels.
Wow, just wow.
I really admire Dogfish’s chutzpah. Go for it.
The trip to Steve’s was productive. The stop at Van’s in EDBQ was also productive.
I picked up a 22 oz. of Stone’s Vertical Epic Ale, the ’08 version. Here’s what the Stone website says, “We wanted to brew a beer that demonstrated some of the same flavor characteristics: dry, crisp, intense Belgian tropical fruit and clove yeast character, and citrus-derived complexity provided by American hops used at a fairly high rate (not unusual for us, by any means!). And despite the hop shortages we are struggling through, we said “damn the torpedoes” and brewed 12 batches of this strong Belgian Golden Ale that comes in at 65 IBU’s, and is dry hopped with a blend of Simcoe and Amarillo hops.”
Hmm, might have to break that one open tonight.
I also bought 12 of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot barleywine style ale, maybe the last two sixers in the area. Love this stuff.
Here’s what BWH3 on BeerAdvocate says, “The tasting begins with a mild creamy caramel sweetness to set the palate up for the bitterness to follow. The bitterness begins as a earthy and mineral dull bitterness that slowly sharpens and mutates into the citrus and resin flavors so prominent in the nose. The alcohol warms the belly. The flavors are not as big as the aroma, nor do they have a complexity deserving the highest rankings. None the less very good.”
Recently, I listened to my beer drinking pal and cubicle neighbor, Jeff Dahn, wax poetically about his days in Ames as a young student going down the wrong path with a beer called Stroh’s. He thought Stroh’s had long gone under. He thought wrong.
I picked up a 15 pack. Yes, 15 pack for a grand total of $7.50. I’ll bet they have 30 packs, too.
We haven’t sipped this golden elixir yet, but I have something to look forward to this holiday season.
Clayrock81 on BeerAdvocate maybe put it best, “I can’t believe they still make this stuff. Well, I can actually. As long as people drink like my departed grandfather and my uncle, there will be a market for this “upper end” cheap macro.”
There is something to be said for that and it probably explains my weakness for Old Style Light.