Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dogfish Head Fort

Last night we cracked open a bottle of the latest from Dogfish Head, which is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite American breweries. (Incidentally--Founder Sam Caglione's book is on my wish list, if anyone is feeling generous.)

Fort is a flavored ale fermented with "over a ton of fresh pureed raspberries". Taking the notion of "extreme beer" very seriously, DFH has made what is probably the world's strongest fruit beer at 18% ABV. This hefty beer also commands a hefty price ($17 + tax in AZ, for a 750-ml bottle), making it also the most expensive beer I've ever bought, in case you count the 18EUR bottle of Carlsberg I had at a jazz club in Paris (which I drank very, very slowly!)

Anyway, on to the important stuff: mildly yeasty and aggressively fruity/citrusy aroma upon opening. Many reviewers have noted that this beer pours very foamy and is almost too effervescent--this was not my experience. Ours poured easy, a beautiful, strikingly clear golden-amber with a light, frothy foam that layered about 0.5 cm thick in a large wine goblet. The fruit in the aroma became much more apparent in the glass, along with floral and herbal overtones.

The flavor was truly tasted like beer. I was skeptical about this one, expecting it to taste like some sort of barley wine on crack with fruit mashed up in it. However, my man at the local beer shop has never steered me wrong, so I was willing to trust his (very enthusiastic) recommendation. I was not disappointed. At the front, complex malt, fairly assertive hop bitterness, and a slightly sour raspberry finish. The fruit is actually quite subtle in light of its predominance in the aroma, much more so than a Belgian Framboise. As it clears the palette, a warming alcohol presence becomes apparent--though again, it is nowhere near as powerful as you might expect from a beer that is nearly the strength of a port. About 10 seconds after leaving the mouth, a soft, mildly acidic/cotton candy aftertaste makes an appearance.

It takes about a minute to fully appreciate a sip of this beer, from smelling it until the aftertaste fades.

Best enjoyed on the couch with a good movie and a beautiful wife. Preferably your own.


  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A very excellent call. Though as you noted, it comes at a steep price. One thing I might add is that it's better when not totally frigid.



  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Brian said…

    Oh, good point. I basically drank the whole bottle myself (it was a bit much for M) and it literally took me the length of the movie to finish. As it warms, the flavor definitely becomes more complex, as most good ales do.


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