Dogfish Head's Winter Limited Releases
I always look forward to drinking something from Dogfish Head Brewery. One of the pioneer craft breweries out of Delaware, Dogfish Head continues to put out brews that are quirky and weird but still contain more quality than kitsch. Their Noble Rot saison is perhaps one of the most innovative brews out there, as is their flagship 60 Minute IPA. So I was extremely pleased to taste the beers they’ve released this winter: Higher Math, Pennsylvania Tuxedo, 75 Minute IPA, Fort, Piercing Pils, and Bitches Brew. Of all the beers, Higher Math was my personal favorite. Higher Math is a tribute to the first beer Sam Calagione brewed in his NYC apartment in the 1990s: a homebrew made of bodega cherries. The Higher Math of today is a golden ale fermented with cherry juice and cocoa nibs. Much like Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA, Higher Math is a high-proof beer, with an ABV of 17%. It's viscous and rather syrupy. and I made the initial mistake of pouring the beer down the side of my glass, depriving myself of the ample foam this heavy beer provides. With the proper pour Higher Math retains a nice, thick head and a lot of lacing. It has the same waxy sweetness of a botrytis-affected wine, although its taste is more akin to a Port. It’s truly delightful and, despite my pictures, is best at the conclusion of the meal, not alongside food.
If you were to drink any of these beers with a meal, I’d recommend the Piercing Pils. Even though it’s made with white pear tea and pear juice, it’s not too sweet, and complements food the way many a pilsner does. The 75 Minute IPA is another viable meal choice, and it will be a joy to those who already sing the praises of Dogfish Head’s 60 and 90 minute varieties.
The Pennsylvania Tuxedo provided another intriguing taste.Tuxedo is made in collaboration with the Pennsylvania clothing company Woolrich. It’s an ale made with spruce tips from central Pennsylvania. The result is a beer that tastes much like a gin (in particular I’m thinking of St. George Spirits’ Terroir Gin, which is made with fir and sage). Herbaceous and crisp, this is an excellent beer to sip on with rosemary-spiced fowl or fish. It was much appreciated.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend drank Bitches Brew before I had a chance to try it, but if you were able to catch Brewmasters on TV before it was nixed, you’ll remember this beer as a tribute to the Miles Davis album of the same name. The beer is a blend of both low proof imperial stout and highly alcoholic honey beer with gesho root. I’m sure it’s delicious. I will get my hands on it soon enough.
Finally, there’s Fort, an ale brewed with raspberry juice. Like Higher Math, this is a high-proof beer, clocking in between 16-17%. Fort is alcoholically sweet, but I was surprised to not taste raspberries first thing. This definitely isn’t one-note in the same way many ciders are. Yes, you taste fruity sweetness, but it’s more like dried fruit than sour raspberries. This is not a beer that tastes like candy. The high level of alcohol will make you shiver, in a good way.
Honestly, these are the beers you want to get the wine and spirits lovers in your life. They possess the uniqueness and strength that’s often appreciated by those who prefer the harder alcohols. Likewise, if you’re a beer fanatic looking to get more into wine and liquor, these beers make excellent transitional tries. Try a few this winter and be surprised by just how wacky beer can get.