Today’s post is more of an inquiry, as we are finishing up some updates on decantedwines.com for a site relaunch (shhh!), I’m working on a new section to be announced to help individuals weed through the information about wine and beer. So I ask, what confuses you about wine? I’m looking for honest questions which will be kept completely anonymous. There is really truly no stupid question, especially when it comes to such a confusing topic.
We were sitting at Amis in Philadelphia last weekend waiting for my sister, husband, and in-laws to join us for dinner. Grabbing a drink at the bar we thought best to order some local brews. Al spotted one of our favorite beers (not available in Florida) – Allagash White Belgian Ale – and decided on that. I spotted an unknown DFH beer (at least to me) brewed with cocoa and ancho chiles? Now I had to try that. After a sip of each beer, Al was holding the Theobroma hostage from me.
For those unfamiliar with Dogfish Head, they are the epitome of what makes craft beer great. They push the envelope, do things others wouldn’t, and are slightly crazy. But all great creations come from people that are just a little nuts. Dogfish Head got its start in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware serving microbrews and great food to summer vacationers in 1995. It wasn’t long before those vacationers craved the beer at home – mainly in the Philadelphia and DC areas. Year after year, they grew. Soon enough they were nationally recognized and distributed, their 120 minute IPA even created a phenomenon of its own. Today you can find DFH in 25 different states, although the majority of their brews stay at that Brewpub in Delaware.
Now about Theobroma…whose story may be more interesting than the beer itself. To quote the Dogfish website,
This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC.
Pretty deep for a beer, huh? Based on this discovery, Theobroma which means “food of the gods” is brewed with Aztec Cocoa Powder and Cocoa Nibs. Honey, ancho chiles and annatto (fragrant tree seeds) are added to the mix which deliver most of their flavors on the end of the palette. The beer is medium bodied with a low-hop, smooth finish. We paired this with a spicy pasta dish with jalapenos and sun-dried tomatoes. The sweetness from the cocoa balanced the spiciness of the dish on the front but didn’t overwhelm it because of the chile kick in the beer on the finish.
Overall, an interesting and complex beer and not surprisingly one of our new favorites. Want to know more? Check out this video DFH created about the beer, informative and fun!
When it comes to summer beers, I want something light, crisp and thirst-quenching. As far as seasonal releases go for micro breweries, many of them follow this suit…however there are a few that go off the beaten track. Last night we had a tasting of over 20 new summer seasonals (and some of our regular favorites) to see who would hold the crown for best summer beer. The results…well I’m sure you’ll be just as surprised as I was. Below is a description of the Top 4, and later the full list of beers.
#4: Victory Summer Love
Not surprisingly the brewers of Golden Monkey and Hop Devil hit us with another go-to brew. They use a blend of American and German hops to achieve a floral yet citrusy flavor in the beer. Crisp and clean and thirst quenching, just what summer needs. Plus, hailing from the Philadelphia area…we can’t help but support this brewery…and there’s a baseball player on the label – what’s more summer than that?
#3: Widmer Pitch Black IPA
Widmer is quickly rising to the top of the ranks for favorite breweries for us. Although, I personally prefer the Citra Blond (I could replace my go-to Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat with it), the masses spoke and this was the clear favorite of the two Widmer’s tasted. Although a Spring Release, it just hit the Florida market. Black malts are used to arrive a toasty malt flavor, citrus essence, and some herbal aromas. Smoother than most IPA’s, a truly unique style.
#2: Brooklyn Summer Ale
After all the reviews on this brew, I was beyond excited to get it in. What’s even better? It came in cans. I’m always looking for a good canned beer for the store, we’re a beach town and the beach patrol isn’t particularly friendly the glass bottles. But when it arrived…I was shocked. It took me straight back to my younger days with visions of Milwaukee’s Best dancing in my head….not a fond memory. The goal of the beer was to achieve a 1940’s British Pub style ale . Brewed from English barley malt, light golden in color with almost a bready (word?) flavor. Oh, and it comes in bottles as well.
#1: Breckenridge 471 Small Batch Series IPA
A double IPA as the summer beer of choice? Well one this delicious deserves attention at any tasting – no matter the season. The brewery describes its favored small batch beer as, “Hoppy? Brother, 471 IPA redefines hoppy.” And that it does. A combination of five different malts and four different hops, it will separate the men from the boys with a sweet forward flavor followed by a kick-you-in-the-mouth hoppy finish.
Full list of beers is below. We’d also like to thank Widmer & Blue Point Brewery for donating some pint glasses. We’re so happy about them, we’re giving them away to our customers!
Buy a 6-pack, get a free glass…online orders use code “BEERGLASS“
Brew Ha-Ha: Summer Seasonals
- Ace Joker Cider
- Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat
- Cooper’s Sparkling Ale
- Brooklyn Summer Ale
- Breckenridge Brewery Summerbright
- Full Sail Pale Ale
- Bell’s Oberon Ale
- Dogfish Head Festina Peche
- Breckenridge Brewery 471 IPA
- Full Sail Session Lager
- The Bruery Trade Winds
- Lindeman’s Lambic Pomme
- Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat
- Blue Point Brewery Blueberry
- Blue Point Brewery Toasted Lager
- Widmer Citra Blond
- Alexander Keithe Nova Scotia Brown Ale
- Florida Avenue Brewing IPA
- Widmer Pitch Black IPA