Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Dogfish kind of day

I opened this beer thinking it was a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale kind of evening.

Starting at 9pm I'm going to be waiting for my work pager to go off, so I thought I'd have one beer to sort of calm the nerves. I've had the Indian Brown Ale before and had mixed feelings about it, so I thought I'd try it again. Something about a dark brown ale fits a cool, wind-whipped rainy day. This particluar dark brown ale smells quite good; the aroma of dark dried fruits such as figs and raisins is assertive and has me anticipating a sweet tasting beer. There's a hint of coffee with cream in there, too. The mouthfeel is slippery smooth with just a bit of the tingle of carbon dioxide.

The hops are certainly kept in check until towards the finish and they're more earthy than spicy. A fairly bright tartness comes through initially in the rather balanced finish. After some time, this character turns a touch medicinal, but is not offensive. The bitterness is not as pronounced as the 50 IBUs (according the brewery's website) would suggest; perhaps all the sweet malts and caramelized sugar has tamed the bite of the hops. The finish is actually rather rich with latte and burnt caramel notes. Despite its surprisingly low viscosity, this is certainly not a low-calorie beer, this is verified in the sweetness. Lest I forget, it's a good looking beer, too. A collar of foam persists well after the head falls and some sparse bits of Brussels lace are left behind.

The Dogfish Head Indian Brown is certainly an enjoyable beer with the kind of burnt caramel sweetness that is satisfying this time of year, much like a springtime bock. I'm drinking this solo, but the brewery's website mentions pairing with balsamic vinaigrette salads, smoked meats, duck confit, braised ribs, venison, prosciutto and stews. It also mentions that a 12-ounce serving is 238 calories, which makes the beer a bit of a snack in itself.

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