More Dogfish Head

indian-brown.jpgI find myself amazed at just how huge a variety of beers that Dogfish Head Brewery manages to create. One could spend weeks just trying different Dogfish beers and reviewing. Today, instead of an IPA, I’m trying their Indian Brown Ale. I found it a pleasantly refreshing flavor.
Appearance: Pours a dark dark ruby color with a good 3/4″ – 1″ nutty brown head. The body (though it’s so dark you can barely see through it) is crystal clear.
Aroma: Lots of malt fragrance in this beer. Dark, roasted malts. It smells so rich, like a really really good cup of coffee. There’s also a sweet smell like molasses or deep caramel, but I largely find that roasted nutty smell. Mixing with the malts is a nice bit of hoppy smell – pine or resin type smells, a nice earthy-type hop. I also smell a little bit of a tobacco smell, which I think is a mingling of the hops and malts.
Taste: Yum! Great rich nutty roasted malts on first sip, then you get those earthy hops. Not too much, mind you. Finally the aftertaste is that coffee flavor. There’s also a bit of mingling spiciness, but I can’t quite place the flavor.
Mouthfeel: This has a surprisingly rich and full mouthfeel. Kind of creamy.
Overall, this is a great ale. Hoppier than most, probably, but I really enjoy the complexity in this beer.


Local Yokel

local1.jpgYou can call me biased, because I’m a New Yorker, but I am both enamored and fascinated with this beer. Brooklyn Brewery has really hit a home run with this beer. Their latest, the Local 1 is actually a bottle conditioned beer. This means that they put the beer in the bottle pretty much flat, with a bit of special yeast. The yeast then creates carbonation in the bottle. I find this whole process completely fascinating, especially because Brooklyn is the only brewery in the US doing this right now. It’s almost a lost art even in Europe. What this bottle fermenting does is give the beer an added complexity that any beer enthusiast will enjoy.
Appearance: Let’s talk about something beyond just the beer’s appearance. This is what takes this beer over the top. This bottle is a beautiful representation of what this beer is. It’s brewed in a very old European tradition and bottled in a gorgeous old-looking brown bottle that’s debossed with the Brooklyn B’s, topped off with a mushroom-y cork. That’s classic. Then, look at the label. This label is modern-retro. The design has a 40’s kind of feel, yet looks all modern. I adore the way they’ve designed this packaging.
OK, now we can talk about the liquid part of the beer. This beer pours just like a champagne (largely because of that bottle conditioning) – fizzy, with a great big foamy white head. The body is a cloudy gold-amber. The head eventually settles down, but never quite dissipates.
Aroma: I can smell this baby from across the room once I pour it. The beer exudes perfume, herbs, citrus and honey. Most of all I smell a pine aroma and a very slight scent of malt – grain and bread.
Taste: At first sip, this beer is very bitter, like a belgian IPA. The sweet hoppiness hits you up front, then the rich, bready malts come through. The pine flavor coming from the hops sticks with you and is the overall taste in this beer.
Mouthfeel: This beer both pours and tastes like champagne. The carbon fizzes all over your tongue and finishes really dry. There’s an incredible balance of hops, malts and alcohol here. The body is great as well, somewhere between watery and oily. Not too heavy at all. This is a great summer drink.
Overall this was an amazing beer. My only complaint is that for some reason, this beer kicked my butt. It was so easy to drink, and really, 9% alcohol isn’t a lot, but for some reason that alcohol really hit me hard. All that fizz must have gone to my head! Anyway, for more about this beer and it’s style, check out a few resources:
The stye, while an ale, is technically a Saison. Beer Advocate has a great description Saison ales.
Keith Olsen did a great and informative write up about this beer for the Malted Barley Appreciation Society.

The Facts:
ABV: 9%
Original Gravity (Plato): 18.5

My All-around Fave

Our next beer, Magic Hat Brewery’s No9, is my always-dependable beer because I can get it here in New York City. Based in Burlington, Vt (a great micro-brew city by the way), Magic Hat is a widely available, high quality brewery. By far my #2 choice next to Victory.

The No9 pours with a nice head and a nice rich dark gold color. The scent is nice and fruity, but not too fruity. Mostly, you’ll catch the apricot scent that the beer is infused with. Upon drinking, it’s nice and smooth and goes down easy and leaves you with a brief but powerful fruity/hoppy aftertaste. The No9 can go down pretty easy, maybe even too easy, but I find that, despite the 4.6 ABV, it doesn’t get me too tipsy. This is a great beer to have every day, sitting around the game consul playing a few games (at least that’s my favorite application). Described as a “Not quite pale ale” by the brewery, I definitely agree. A good choice to appease a wide crowd if your having a get together.

The Facts:
ABV 4.6
Bitterness 18
Gravity 1.047
SRM 9.0
Visit the Magic Hat Website for even more great info on this beer.

My Favorite Beers

Is it biased to list my very favorite beers? Is it biased that most of them are in my home town? Well, call it coincidence, but they are. My very favorite beer is brewed in my home town of Downingtown, PA at Victory Brewing Company. This tiny little brewery gives us a slate of some of the most AMAZING beers. The super hoppy Hop Devil is my very favorite and the dark, but the not too heavy Storm King Imperial Stout comes in second. All of the Victory beers are great, and if you can get them in your area, I really encourage you to check out all of the Victory brews!