My Antonia

I last had this at our Octoberfest celebration. I don’t often buy bombers, but my wife has bought me a couple of treats recently.

They say:

My Antonia started out as a Collaboration beer when Sam [Calagione] brewed it at Birra del Borgo outside Rome, Italy with owner/brewer Leonardo DiVencenzo in October of 2008. In 2010, we began brewing My Antonia here at Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware for U.S. distribution.

My Antonia (named after the Willa Cather read), is a continually-hopped imperial pilsner.

It pours a pale straw; what little head there is is white and fizzy. There’s a little chill haze. Slightly floral aroma with a hint of some spice (pepper?). Flavor is bigger than it looks, with a big malt backbone and a bitter finish.

This is good stuff. I’ll be having this again. Soon.


Namaste is a customary greeting from the Indian subcontinent. (You can read all about it at the Wikipedia entry.) It was originally brewed as a collaboration to help raise funds for 3 Fonteinen, which lost a whole bunch of beer that represented about a third of their annual revenue. At the time, Sam Caligione said

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. In other words it is a show of mutual respect and admiration – a great single word summary of the inspiration behind this brew.

Dogfish Head also says about the beer

A Belgian-style White made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander. This beer is a great summer quencher.

This is another limited-release brew that my charming wife got for me. It pours a pale, clear yellow with a white, fizzy head. You can definitely smell the coriander and orange in the aroma, but it’s not overpowering. It is light on the tongue, with that classic Belgian white spice and the carbonation.

It’s not my favorite style, and this’d be better in the Summer, but I’d gladly have it again.

Palo Santo Marron revisited

A little over two years ago I treated myself to one of these. At the time, I mentioned that I’d squirreled one away to save for later. And there it sat, mostly forgotten as other beers came and went.

Forgotten, that is, until now.

My wife is working the night shift. The kids are in bed. The house is quiet. While I didn’t have the worst day ever, it was far from the best.

Perhaps a little indulgence is in order.

A good chunk of the flavor of this beer comes from the exotic and extraordinarily hard Palo Santo wood from Paraguay. It’s probably just an illusion, but this 12 fluid ounce bottle seems heavier than others.

The color is a deep, dark-chocolate brown. Head is surprisingly fizzy and dissipates quickly. In the aroma I get some chocolate-covered cherries and burnt caramel. Mouthfeel is thick, and the alcohol heat I detected two years ago has not abated. More burnt caramel and brandy in the flavor. This is definitely a sipping beer. I think I could have cellared it for longer.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Beer-a-Day #259punkin-ale

A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. This is the perfect beer to warm-up with, as the season cools.

I’m pretty ambivalent about flavored or fruit beer, but for some reason I love me some pumpkin beer. Maybe because it reminds me of autumn, my favorite season. Or of Thanksgiving, the holiday of comfort food.

Golden brown with a beige head. Lots of brown sugar and nutmeg in the aroma. The flavor follows the aroma, and the flavors are “warm”. I’m craving pumpkin pie, now. Gotta be careful, though. It’s 7% ABV.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head Raison D’Être

Beer-a-Day #245Dogfish Head Raison D'Être

It’s been downright cool the last couple of days. Positively autumn-like. I’m loving it. Now for something to warm the insides.

A deep, mahogany ale brewed with beet sugar, green raisins, and Belgian-style yeast. As complex as a fine, red wine.

Medium-dark brown with red highlights. Complex aroma. Some vanilla, prunes. Big malty character. A sipping beer, and darn good, too.

Dogfish Head Raison D’Être

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Dogfish Head Palo Santo MarronBeer-a-Day #224

An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means “holy tree” and it’s wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

I got to sample a bit of this at a F.O.A.M. meeting several months ago and have been looking to buy a bottle ever since. I finally scored some the other day. I’ve put one away to age for a bit, but cracked open the other bottle as a reward for a hard day’s work.

It’s a deep, deep chocolate brown, thick and opaque. It smells “rich”, with caramel and vanilla and a bit of heat from the alcohol. More caramel and heat in the taste, with something that reminds me of brandy. Very complex. I couldn’t take a steady diet of these, but it sure is a nice treat.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale

Beer-a-Day #219Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale

This is our original brew (we began it all making this very beer on the original teeny, tiny brewery at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub back in 1995) and our most approachable beer. Shelter Pale Ale is brewed with a premium barley and northwestern Willamette & Columbus hops. The beer has a fine malt backbone and a slightly nutty flavor. Shelter Pale Ale is a versatile, quaffable beer.

We named this beer ‘Shelter Pale Ale’ because we liked the concept of a shelter as being a place you come home to. It made sense for this beer, our original beer.

Light copper color with an ivory head. Caramel aroma with some grassy hops. Malty with just enough hop bitterness. I rather like it. My wife likes it too.

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Beer-a-Day #212dogfish-head-festina-peche

A refreshing neo-BerlinerWeisse fermented with honest-to-goodness peaches to (get this!) 4.5% abv! Because extreme beers don’t have to be extremely boozy! Available in 4-pack and draft during the sweaty months.

Pale straw with a little chill haze. Just a hint of peaches in the aroma. Taste is rather more tart than I expected. It’s refreshing though.

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPABeer-a-Day #193

Esquire Magazine calls [Dogfish Head] 90 Minute IPA., “perhaps the best I.P.A. in America.” An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter. A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate.

I talked about the 60 Minute IPA recently, so this is the same, only more so. Right? About one-and-a-half times more.

Pretty golden color, not unlike a bock. Big floral and spice hop aroma. Lotsa hops there, with a hint of oakiness. This wouldn’t be bad to cellar. Delicious. As I get further into it, the better it gets.

Good Read on a Better Brew

New YorkerA friend of mine gave me a great article from the New Yorker on beer called A Better Brew. It was about Dogfish Head Brewing, their founder Sam Calagione, and extreme beers. But it was more than that… it was an extremely well written story that really gives you a good picture of Dogfish Head and what they are about. I highly suggest taking the time to read the full article. Here is one of the ways the author, Calvin Trillin, discovered what Sam Calagione believes about extreme beer,

Extreme beer is a return to normality, too, Calagione believes. It’s just the normality of a thousand years ago, or several thousand, rather than a hundred. If the Reinheitsgebot is still the touchstone for most American brewers, Calagione’s is a bronze bowl from King Midas’ tomb.

One of the things I found most interesting was the lengths Dogfish Head would go through just to try something different. For example, they brewed with heated rocks because when sahti was first brewed in the middle ages they used wooden kettles; so hot rocks was the method of choice.

The online New Yorker also has an audio discussion about the article with additional insight. Again, this is some high quality stuff (not like you would find on just some beer blog). It is also worth a listen.