Dogfish head has long been one of my favorite brewers. Just last year I found out they have one of their restaurants here in the DC area. So, despite quite a bit of snow, I made my wife take me there for my very special birthday dinner. I always make my wife take me somewhere I can get a good beer selection for my birthday. I have always enjoyed their IPA’s. I once tried their 120 minute IPA. For anyone who has only gone as far as their 90 minute IPA, I can assure you it will flatten you the first time you try it out. Well regardless, anytime I see something with the very special label on it, I have to give it a try. So while plotting the first few beers to review on this site, I saw this bottle at Franklin’s in Hyattsville MD.
While the little fish on the label was the first thing to draw me to it, it was definitely the description on the bottle that kept me interested. It states that it is an “Ale brewed with coriander and orange peel with pinot noir juice added with 11% aged in pinot noir barrels and 89% aged on oak barrel staves”. To be honest, half of that is slightly over my head. But, I know I like pinot noir, I know I like dogfish head, and I know I like something new. So I gave it a try.
I really enjoyed this beer. I had it while indulging in a little kielbasa and couscous, but don’t let that sway your opinion. It pours nicely and has an aroma too it that is definitely a little sweet. It has an redish hue to it, which I consider to be a good thing. I tend to stay away from beers I can clearly look at my watch through and tell you the time. I could mostly could taste the pinot noir in the initial sip; however, the coriander and orange peel come through in the finish and after taste. Perhaps it was a bit full bodied to be drinking with the meal I was eating. The sweetness made it sort of a meal in itself. The dogfish website even recommends a snifter for this beer, which can’t help but make me think it’s meant as more of a dessert beer. But it really wasn’t high on the hops for a dogfish head beer. It definitely comes across as more malty than it does on the hoppy side. All in all, it had a taste I could enjoy. The complexities left me entertained with every sip.
This may be a very biased opinion, but as I said in my introduction to this site, I’ll tell you what I like. I really like this beer and would most definitely have it again. I might change up the food choices that go along with it, but it definitely hit the right chord with me. I haven’t really decided the scale I’m going to rate beers or music on yet, but being a teacher, I’d have to at least give this beer a B+. The guys at dogfish are always doing things to mix it up, and I want to encourage them to keep it up.