One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, areearly in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.
The Pub: Received as a gift for attending Savor 2011, a craft beer festival in Washington, DC
What you need to know: As craft and home brewing has grown in America, and refrigeration technology has made keeping beers less of a challenge, there’s been an effort to go back to ancient, forgotten styles that rely on craft and care from the brewers to develop unique and drinkable flavors.
Among these styles is gruit, which uses herbs and other botanicals to add flavor to the beer more than hops. In the case of this beer, the two breweries decided to test what they could do with what they called the “untapped” ingredient for experimentation- water (never mind that American brewers have been adding Burton salts, gypsum, and any other varying kinds of minerals to their water in attempts to match the water profiles found in England, the Czech Republic, or myriad other style-famous brewing cities, for years). And so they created a distilled rosewater tincture, with which they brewed the resultant beer.
Boston Beer Company is better known the world over as Samuel Adams. It is, along with Sierra Nevada, the granddaddy of modern craft brewing in America, having been founded in 1984. We’ve sampled Dogfish Head’s work before; the brewery was founded in 1995.
So, About this Beer: Pours a clear honey color, with a fizzy white head that dissipates in an instant. Robust fruity, floral and even bubblegum aromas greet you as the glass rises. Initial flavors of alcohol and spice go right to a thick honey and malt flavor. Despite the fact that they did use a special hop varietal, the bitterness is not very prevalent at all. If anything, the hops were likely added more for aroma than anything else. The mouthfeel is syrupy, and almost cloying.
The Verdict: I like this beer as an experiment more than anything else. I’ve certainly had better gruits, but the idea here was to create a beer that tasted like flowers rather than a style-perfect, herbal gruit. They succeeded in that aim, but I don’t think that it’s a good thing. It’s worth trying for the novelty, but certainly do not seek it out and pay the $175 (!) that people are asking for it on the Ebaytubes.