beer, History

Georgia: On My Mind

Georgia

In 1733, just 55 years prior to becoming the fourth state, James Edward Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia. In the early days of the colony, Oglethorpe was aware of the amount of work required to build a successful colony. He was also concerned about the potential effect that drunkenness could have on the productivity of the settlers. Drunkenness at the time was considered a result of drinking higher alcohol beverages such as whiskey or rum, so as a deterrent, Oglethorpe offered each new settler 44 gallons of beer in an attempt to steer the settlers away from the “demon rum”. The beer the settlers drank on a daily basis was a type of beer called small beerSmall beer helped colonial families maximize their resources through the reuse of grains, was often used as a substitute for water and due to its low ABV (1-3%), it was consumed throughout the day.  While small beer fell out of popularity in the 19th century, the beer laws of the country seemed to hold onto the idea of lower alcohol beer much longer. It has only been over the past 8-10 years that many states legally allowed higher ABV beer (most beer was restricted to 4-6%). In fact, it wasn’t until 2004, that Georgia increased the legal ABV for beer from 6%. Prior to 2004, most craft beer was illegal in the state, including three of the four beers sampled this week.

Finding beer from Georgia wasn’t all that hard. It was all over in Alabama, and you could even find it on tap at places like Dreamland BBQ. So, during a visit to Mark’s Mart in Selma, AL, I picked up some beer from SweetWater Brewing out of Atlanta. Then, while travelling back home, we made a slight detour off I-81 in Chattanooga to see if we could find some beer from Tennessee. A quick search on Beer Advocate pointed us towards Beverage World in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and this place was a find. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in a special place. The staff really knew their beer, I mentioned a state, and they went straight to the location on the shelf and I was quickly setup up with beer from South Carolina and North Carolina. They explained that, while they were just a across the Tennessee border, they can’t get any beer to sell from that state (But Whole Foods, in Chattanooga would be the place to get some.) They were so helpful and knowledgeable that I had to ask if they had anything special from Georgia that I must try, and boy they sure did. I left there with some interesting beer for this week and expanded my selection from a single style to five different types of beer from three different breweries.

Georgia Craft Beer

This week’s selection

Beer Number One: Liquid Bliss

Georgia may known for its peaches, but it is also the number one producer of peanuts in the nation. So, it is only fitting that we start this week out on a beer made with peanuts, and chocolate. Brewed as a side project at Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, liquid bliss,

Georgia Craft Beer

Terrapin Liquid Bliss

combines peanuts and chocolate in a porter to create a very unique beer. In the glass, it has the look of a typical porter, or as one taster said: “It looks like motor oil!”. But the smell was totally different, a distinct mix of chocolate and peanuts. I was concerned about the taste. I have had chocolate beer before, such as the Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery, but adding peanuts was taking this to a whole new level, and I was pleasantly surprised. The peanut taste was there, but it wasn’t overpowering. What really stood out was the taste of the chocolate. It was described as “A peanut butter cup”, and “smooth and silky”. While I couldn’t drink too much of this, as it was sweeter than I typically like in a beer, I would rate this one a success.

Beer Number Two: Wake ‘N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout

The next beer we sampled from Georgia was also from Terrapin. When Terrapin was founded, their goal was to craft beer unlike anything else coming out of the southeast, and this second beer continued with the unique theme set by the liquid bliss. Another stout, the Wake ‘N Bake, brewed with coffee beans from Jittery Joe’s Coffee (there is even a coffee for the beer), this beer packs a punch. An oatmeal stout is brewed with oats and was associated with “nourishment and viewed as healthful”. With a stout, the grains usually lend to a chocolate or coffee flavor. With this beer, the majority of tasters agreed it tasted like cold coffee. Normally, I do not have an issue with cold coffee, but for me, there was something else in the taste, hot peppers, and I found the after taste hard to get over. Overall, 2 out of 4 people sampling this beer loved it.

Beer Number Three and Four: 420 Extra Pale Ale and Festive Ale

The next two brews hail from SweetWater Brewery in Atlanta. An Extra Pale Ale called 420 and a seasonal brew called Festive Ale. The first beer sampled was the 420. Being the only beer this week with an ABV less that 6 (5.4%), the 420 is a typical pale ale, light-copper colored and hoppy. I enjoyed this beer, and it would complement a nice summer day quite well. It didn’t have any specific characteristics that made this standout from other pale ales in my opinion, but it was good. It would be interesting to try it with other pale ales to see where the distinct characteristics stand out. Again, well received among all the tasters. Next was the Festive Ale.

When the chill Sirocco blows
And winter tells a heavy tale
O, give me stout brown ale
– Anonymous, 1656

The Festive Ale is considered a Winter Warmer, a dark beer brewed during the winter months, often with spices, mimicking a past when beer was heated and spiced, and sometimes mixed with strange ingredients such as eggs and even toast. Luckily modern brews winter brews leave the eggs and toast for breakfast, but they still contain unique mixtures of spices. With this beer, the spices were not overpowering, if fact, they were almost non-existent in the taste. This was defiantly a strong, but very enjoyable beer.

Beer Number Five: 17th Anniversary

Georgia Craft Beer

Red Brick – 17th Anniversary

The final beer of the week came from Red Brick Brewing, the oldest operating craft brewery in Georgia. Opened in 1993, as the Atlanta Brewing Company, the company changed their name to Red Brick Brewing in 2010. When the good folks at Beverage World handed me a four pack of 17th Anniversary  they told me it was special (and strong). Aged for months in Jim Beam barrels, this beer is a limited edition brew.

“I rather whiskey than cinnamon in my beer”

Right from the start, the smell of whiskey was strong with this beer. The color was a dark copper color and the beer was clearly unfiltered, with plenty of little floaters. The taste was clearly bourbon, probably a bit too much actually. A few people in the testing love their bourbon, but they were not fans of this beer. Myself, I found the whiskey taste and smell too strong, I prefer something with more hops. “Is there any of that 420 left?”

In the end, the tasting party loved Georgia. The past two weeks, the beer has been getting more palatable, while still staying interesting. Georgia has some great brewers, and with beer names like 420 and Wake and Bake, there is clearly something else going on down there to inspire their creativity.

Next week, we come back to New England with some fun selections from Connecticut.

 

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beer, History

New Jersey: Come See For Yourself

New Jersey

New Jersey has a strange relationship with beer and brewing. The Hoboken Historical Museum lists the state as home to “Americas First Brewery” founded on February 5, 1663, yet Gregg Smith in Beer in America states that most historians in America agree that the first brewery opened in New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island in 1612 by Adrian Block and Hans Christiansen (also mentioned here).

During prohibition, New Jersey openly defied the new federal laws, and in Trenton, bootleggers had the support of the police chief.

Speakeasies illegally (but openly) operated throughout the state. Trenton, for example, flourished with taverns, with one such dive “secretly” operated on Chancery Lane — across the street from the police station.

The History of Beer in New Jersey

And only recently, New Jersey relaxed their very restrictive and antiquated brewing laws that prevented them from competing with neighboring states with restrictions such as limiting microbrewery production to 3000 barrels a year.

With the new laws, it will probably not take long before we start to see an increase in production, and more interesting brews flowing out of New Jersey. In the meantime however, New Jersey beer is not available in Massachusetts, so I had to extend my search across borders. To get some beer for this week, I relied on a planned holiday drive to the south. On the drive, we stopped at a Wegman’s in Wilkes-Barre PA, for nourishment and to check out their craft beer selection. I heard from friends that they had a nice variety of craft beer and I should be able to find some of the beer I was looking for. While I did not find anything other than Dogfish Head for Delaware, I did find two breweries from New Jersey – a huge score. Since I knew we would be passing back through the state in a week, I decided to wait until the return trip to make my purchase.

What I didn’t plan for however was a snowstorm on the return trip to mess up the deliveries and the store running out of  beer from Flying Fish (It must be good!). I was really looking forward to Flying Fish, and I am now even more curious about it.

During the planning stages for this blog, Flying Fish was the first brewery I discovered from New Jersey and had it listed in my notes as number one on my NJ target list. Flying Fish is considered New Jerseys largets microbrewery and has an interesting line of brews. They even have a series project called the exit series, based on the New Jersey Turnpike, with each beer representing the “uniqueness” of the region around the exit number on the label. If you have ever travelled through New Jersey, you have probably been on the New Jersey Turnpike. Considered one of the most heavily travelled highways in the country, the Turnpike provides access to most of the state and is often used as a starting reference point. “Your from Jersey?, What Exit?” was an often heard expression of my youth. With the Flying Fish exist series, they are trying to capture that essence.  For example, the first beer in the series appropriately called Exit 1, is an Oyster Stout, representing the oyster industry of the Exit 1 Bayshore area.

River Horse Brewery

Even though there was no Flying Fish to be found, I was not left high and dry. Saved by a variety 12 pack from River Horse Brewery, I had something to sample for New Jersey. River Horse Brewery is located in Lambertville, New Jersey (exit 14), on the banks of the Delaware river and will be the fifth brewery we sample in this adventure.

The nice thing with variety packs is they give you the chance to sample a few different brews from a single brewery. With the River Horse variety pack, there were 4 selections: American Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, Belgian Style Tripel, and a Rye IPA.

New Jersey - River Horse

River Horse Variety Pack

The first brew I grabbed out of the box was an American Pale Ale called Hop Hazard. This beer had a nice proportion of hops, a distinct characteristic in American Pale Ales. It was not over powering, and with the last two weeks of extreme beers, it was a much required change of pace. The American Pale Ale is considered “one of the first Americanized styles”, and originated with the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Based on a British Pale Ale, but with local ingredients, such as the American grown Cascade hops, an American Pale Ale can impart citrus and piney tastes. I didn’t get the piney, but the citrus was definitely there in the smell. The color was a beautiful orange hue. It is typical for this style of beer to be unfiltered, and that is apparent in the haze seen in the glass. Overall I loved this beer, It was easy to drink. The flavors were well balanced and at 6.5%, it wasn’t too over powering.

New Jersey Beer

River Horse – Hop Hazard

 

rye2

River Horse – Rye IPA

The next beer I sampled was a brew in their Brewers Reserve Series – a Rye IPA.

When it comes to rye, the first thing that pops into my mind is rye bread with its wonderful distinct sour taste. In a beverage, I picture a short glass with a distinct dark brown liquid from Kentucky, or the Rock and Rye my uncles swore by when they were under the weather. Until recently, beer was the last place I expected to see rye. It just wasn’t common. The first time I saw it in a beer it was Rich and Dans IPA, from Harpoon. Now I had my second Rye beer in my hands.

The Rye IPA from River Horse looked darker than the Pale Ale in the glass. It wasn’t quite the Kentucky rye color, but it was getting close with it nice reddish tint. When used in beer, rye adds another level of complexity to the flavor. It doesn’t have that hearty  sour flavor you would associate with a nice slice of rye bread, but you can definitely notice something in addition to the typical flavors of an IPA.  After sampling this beer, I was having a hard time picking a favorite between the rye and the Pale Ale. The others that sampled it all agreed, this was a beer they could kick back and enjoy.

Two down, two to go.

Having sampled a Tripel last week, I was a bit hesitant to grab the Tripel Horse, but in this case, the hops wasn’t overpowering. This was a drinkable beer. While not my favorite of the tasting for the evening, this was something that I would drink again.

The final beer of the evening was the American Amber Ale. Like the American Pale Ale, the American Amber Ale is also a beer from the early years of American craft brewing. The name originated from the color of the beer, with its nice amber color. The American in the name comes from the American hops used in the brewing process.

This was another beer that was well liked among the group. I had a hard time distinguishing any specific characteristics of the beer, they were all starting to merge with the previous tastings. I guess that should be expected with the different brews are not as extreme as the previous weeks.

Wow, what a difference a week makes. Last week, we were all reaching for something other than our samples. This week, we couldn’t get enough. As the New Jersey slogan says, Come See For Yourself, I recommend that you try River Horse when you get the chance.

Tune in next week for Georgia, there are some interesting samples on hand.

 

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beer, History

Pennsylvania: Virtue, Liberty and Independence

Pennsylvania

One hundred years before it was even a state, Pennsylvania began brewing beer. In 1685, William Frampton opened the first brewery in Philadelphia. Just two years later, in 1687, Anthony Morris built Philadelphia’s first commercial brewery, which remained in operation as a family business until 1836. Being the largest populace in the time of the American Revolution, Philadelphia also became an important location in the construction of the United States. Many delegates involved in the Constitutional Convention resided in local taverns, which also doubled as boarding houses and allowed travelers a place to sleep, eat and drink. This tavern – delegate link allows some historians to proclaim the importance of beer in the founding of the country. One such story is the formation of the Connecticut Compromise, which defined the structure and representation each state would have in the Constitution. The story goes that the delegates staying at the Indian Queen tavern met over beer in the evenings to hash out the compromise. Sure, this logic requires a few leaps: delegates met at taverns, taverns sold beer, therefore delegates drank beer while they constructed the plan. True or not, it makes for great barstool conversation.

In our great town there is an able man that has set up a large Brew House, in order to furnish the People with good Drink, both there and up and down the River

— William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania, 1685

Pennsylvania’s brewing history did not stop with the forming of the country. While none of the breweries from the colonial days exist today, Pennsylvania can still lay claim to the oldest brewery in the U.S. — Yuengling. Located in Pottsville, Yuengling was established in 1829 by a young German immigrant, David G. Yuengling. Though there were stumbles, a fire, and a few failed attempts at expansion, Yuengling continues to survive. Their largest test of survival came in the 19th century with the ratification of the eighteenth amendment, the national prohibition of alcohol. Unlike most of its competitors, Yuengling endured the 13 years of prohibition through the production of near beer. This adaptation and continued usage of their production line allowed them to continually modernize their process, while other brewers let their production facilities fall behind, preventing them from a quick reentry into the market when prohibition ended.

Being from Pennsylvania, I have had many opportunities to drink Yuengling. Most places in the state usually had multiple varieties available on draft, my favorite being their dark brewed Porter, Black and Tan; however, their Traditional Lager is its most prominent brew.

All beer can be classified as either an ale or a lager. The major difference between these two families of beer is the type of yeast used during the brewing process. Ales are brewed with a top-fermenting yeast, while lagers use a bottom-fermenting yeast. After the primary fermentation process, lagers undergo a period of maturation, also called lagering, that can last from a few weeks to several months. During the lagering process, the beer develops the characteristics and flavors associated with a lager.

Depending on whom you ask, Yuengling is or is not a craft beer. As a brand, it really has grown in name recognition over the past years (example: President Obama using it in a bet with Canada). While the intent of this blog focuses on craft beer, the vague craft beer status had nothing to do with Yuengling missing out on this week’s  samplers. I can only blame a complete lack of foresight on my part.  I completely forgot it is not available in New England, and did not grab any while I was in Pennsylvania. It is all about the distribution.

That brings us to this week selections. This week, we will get to sample brews from three different eastern Pennsylvania breweries: Victory, Tröegs and Weyerbacher.

Of the three Pennsylvania breweries getting sampled this week, Victory is the first one I heard of, and that was through a collaboration they did with Dogfish Head. It wasn’t too long afterwards that I started to see Tröegs appearing in my local stores. As far as I can recall, this will be my first tasting of anything from Weyerbacher.

Pennsylvania Beer

Tröegs – Mad Elf

Tröegs

We started the night off with Tröegs, a central Pennsylvania brewery that has been in operation for about 16 years. From Tröegs, we sampled their Mad Elf Ale, a seasonal Christmas ale. Christmas ales are usually brewed around the holiday season and can contain a variety of fruits, herbs and spices. Another feature of the christmas brew is its high alcohol content, and the Mad Elf, is no exception, coming in at 11% ABV. Brewed with honey and cherries  Mad Elf presents dark red in the glass, with a nice thin white head.

The smell is distinctive sweet and cherry. However, the taste is thick, and much too sweet and  syrupy in my mouth. In the Oxford Companion to Beer, they state that “honey adds a distinctive sweetness and roundness, although in excess it can be perceived as rather cloying on the palate.” I sure had that feeling with this beer. In the end, there wasn’t a person in our group that enjoyed this beer, all struggled with the same issue, too sweet and syrupy.

Victory Brewing

About 60 miles east of the Tröegs brewery resides an old mill town, Downingtown. Located in Downingtown is another small Pennsylvania brewery, Victory Brewing. Started in 1996 as a restaurant and a full-scale brewery, Victory has steadily grown their operation from 1725 barrels brewed in the first year to 82 thousand barrels produced in 2011. I have tried a few different beers from Victory over the years, most notably Hop Devil. For this weeks sampling however, I chose Golden Money, mostly because it was the only product from Victory I could find on the shelf at one of my local stores at the time. Golden Monkey is a Tripel, a style of beer that was first commercialized in Belgium in the 1930s and has an excellent “origin story”. The story goes that in the medieval times, when most people were illiterate, casks of beer were marked with X’s to indicate the strength of the beer: X was the weakest and XXX was the strongest, where strength was a rough translation of alcohol by volume. The triple X morphed to the word, “tripel.” I had always assumed the casks in the old cartoons were full of whiskey, but maybe they were actually drinking a nice Tripel beer instead.

Victory - Golden Monkey

Victory – Golden Monkey

When poured, the first thing we noticed with the Golden Monkey was the high-level of carbonation. Tripels are often bottle conditioned. That means that when the beer is bottled, there is a very small amount of carbon dioxide, but sugars called priming sugars are added to the bottle to allow the yeast to continue to ferment in the bottle. This process produces a well-carbonated beverage.

 

Don't drink the yeast!

Don’t drink the yeast!

Because of the remaining yeast, drinking the sediment on the bottom of a bottle conditioned beer is not advised. Golden Monkey even provides directions about this right on the bottle. This beer had a lot going on. Some of the comments heard were, “honey taste” and “spices“.  As with the previous tasting, this beer took some time to warm up to and wasn’t well loved in the group. Unlike previous beers, this one didn’t get abandoned, but I would be surprised if anyone of us sought out this beer in the future.

I did come back and try the remains again later in the evening, after the bottle had warmed up some, and I enjoyed it more. While still not on my top list, it was my favorite of the night.

Weyerbacher

Sticking with the southeastern corner of the state, we next sampled a brew from Weyerbacher, located in Easton. Like the others breweries sampled from Pennsylvania, it started production in the mid 90s. I had seen Weyerbacher on the shelves of some stores in Pennsylvania when I was last there, but I didn’t expect to find it in my town. Last week, while browsing about, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bottle of Double Simcoe IPA, and decided it should be part of the sampling.

The Simcoe name comes from the type of hop used in the brewing process. Simcoe is a proprietary hop favored among craft brewers, especially in double IPAs. In The Oxford Companion to Beer, Matthew Brynildson describes Simcoe as having a:

unique aroma profile composed of piney, woody, and grapefruit citrus notes mixed with slightly dank and spicy notes of onion and garlic.

With the Double Simcoe IPA, we could immediately smell and taste the hops. It wasn’t of the strength of the 90 minute IPA, but it was strong. The smell was sweet, and I could easily detect the citrus notes. I did not however detect any essence of onion or garlic.

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

This beer had an awkward, and strange aftertaste (maybe from the onion notes?) that made it hard to become something I would look forward to enjoying.

In the end, I was really regretting my lapse in purchasing Yuengling while in Pennsylvania. While not the best of beers, it is very consistent and enjoyable. It would have been a nice ending. Everything sampled this evening left the tasters craving something else to cleanse the palette. Some even choosing 107 proof bourbon.

Overall,  I think the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is still my favorite of all the sampled brews so far.

 

See you next week for New Jersey.

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beer

Delaware: It’s Good Being First

Delaware

Growing up, I really only knew two things about Delaware. Of the thirteen original states, Delaware was the first state of the United States, ratifying the constitution on December 7, 1787, and more importantly, that it was a long, boring section of highway connecting our house in Pennsylvania to a week at the beach in Ocean City, MD. The only highlight while passing through Delaware was the hope seeing an enormous C-5 Galaxy sitting on the runway at Dover Air Force base. If we were really lucky, we would even get to see one landing. It still amazes me that something so large can get off the ground.

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that Delaware is also home to arguably the most famous craft beer brewery in the US — Dogfish Head. Dogfish Head has a cult following among craft beer lovers due to their extreme, experimental brews. In 2008, The New Yorker ran a story about Dogfish Head, providing a glimpse into the extreme beer movement and some of the more interesting brews produced at the brewery including a re-creation of a beer, through chemical analysis of clay pots, found in the tomb of King Midas. (After reading this story, I made it an objective to get to Rehoboth Beach to visit the brewpub myself, and eventually did get there in 2010).

However, Dogfish Head is not the only craft brewer in Delaware, and I wanted to discover more. In 2011, the Brewers Association listed Delaware as having 9 breweriesBeer Me!, shows 11 breweries (3 listed as planned), but not every brewery listed packages their product for off-site sales. After a cursory review of each brewers website, I decided that I could potentially get my hands on two more Delaware brands: 16 Mile Brewery and Twin Lakes Brewing — both of these are listed as having distribution beyond the state border northward into southern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

To get beer from the brewery to a wanting consumer, brewers in most states must rely on a distributor. This is a result of the three tier system created at the end of prohibition. It doesn’t take too many internet searches to turn up a wealth of articles, blogs, and news stories proclaiming the pros and cons of the current state of the distribution system, so we will not dive into that sea here. However the distribution system is not entirely to blame for the lack of accessibility. Craft beer is a small business endeavor. And as expected with a small business, there is a limit to production quantities. In 2011 for example, Dogfish Head produced a little bit more than 141 thousand barrels of beer. Compare that with the 2000 barrels produced by 16 Mile Brewery. Knowing that one barrel is 36 gallons and one long neck bottle of beer is 12 ounces, 1 barrel produces about 384 bottles of beer (64 six packs).  We can quickly see that the supply for the smaller brewers is very limited, and as expected directed towards their loyal local market. (If you are curious about how these brewers compare to the big national brands, 18.23 million barrels of Coors Light were sold in 2011.) Due to this limitation, tracking down beer from the smaller brewers is hard when you do not have within close proximity to the brewer.

In the end, I was unsuccessful in my search for other Delaware brands and had to settle on just Dogfish Head. From Dogfish Head, I selected three different brews: Chicory Stout90 Minute IPA and Sah’tea.

Just like those C-5 planes on the runway at Dover Air base, Dogfish Head brews are big, bold and can be hard to wrap your head around. More often then not, when I arrive at an event with some Dogfish Head, I don’t have to worry about sharing — it is an acquired taste. It should be noted that they do have easier to drink products and If you are not into extreme beer, you shouldn’t turn away. The 60 minute IPA is a very drinkable beer, and if you can get your hands on one, I highly recommend the Namaste.

Chicory Stout

Dogfish Head, Delaware

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose Chicory Stout because it is listed as one of the first beers brewed by Dogfish Head back in 1995. I generally like stouts. The darker the beer the better. When it comes to stouts, there are many out there worth checking out, the most famous probably being Guinness, however the Chicory Stout stands out in the crowd. The Oxford Companion to Beer describes a stout as having “a distinct roasted character that is often perceived as dark chocolate or coffee“. In this case, the beer is brewed with chicory and mexican coffee making this perception a stark reality. When poured, the beer was a nice dark color, typical of a stout, but unlike other stouts, there was little to no head. Among our tasting party, the two traits that really stood out were coffee and bitterness. The bitterness most likely comes from the chicory, which is often characterized as have a bitter taste. This beer also wanted food, and we were quickly reaching for the nearest bag of chips to complement.

90 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head, Delaware

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 90 Minute IPA (India Pale Ale) is one of Dogfish Heads award winning beers. The 90 min., one in the range of their continuously hopped IPAs is considered an Imperial IPA. In the traditional usage of the term, Imperial meant a beer specially brewed for Kings and Queens, in the craft beer world, imperial usually implies a bigger and stronger than normal brew. The Oxford Companion to Beer describes the IPA as “the most romanticized, mythologized, and misunderstood” beer style that “became the most popular craft beer on the planet”. Based on this, we can probably expect to see and taste a few IPAs over the upcoming weeks.

I really enjoy this beer, the strong hoppy flavor is well complemented by a nice citrus taste.

Love it, but it will knock you on your ass

Others in the tasting party said it was too strong for their tastes. It is, like all DogFish Head brews, a strong beer. The Imperial moniker is well deserved in this beer.

Sah’tea

The final beer of the week is Sah’tea. A “modern take on a 9th-century Finnish beer”, this one sure was different. I always struggle with spiced beers, actually never liked them. And this beer reconfirmed that fact with its impressive spice blend: cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper.

When you pick up the glass, the first thing that hits you is the cloves, and they hit hard, so much that I couldn’t get beyond it to taste any of the other spices. I was not the only one to have this reaction, making it the only beer of the evening that was left unfinished.

One of the more impressive assets of the beer was the amount of floaters. This really didn’t bother, I have experienced this with other beers, but it was still pretty impressive.

Dogfish Head, Delaware

Sah’tea: Plenty of floaters

Overall, I would say the 90 minute IPA was the biggest hit of the tasting, with the Chicory Stout coming in a distant second. I always have, and probably always will treat Dogfish Head as an extreme sport. One that you are always willing to take on, but never really know if you will make it to the finish.

Next week: Pennsylvania. Ratifying the Constitution just five days after Delaware.

Thanks for reading.

 

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