KVASIR: 88 Points
Ancient Scandinavian Beer
This Ancient Ale is a limited release and is available in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “The recipe for Kvasir was developed with the help of chemical, botanical and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500‐year‐old Danish drinking vessel. The vessel, made of birch bark, was found in the tomb of a leather‐clad woman Dr. Pat says was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. The analysis pointed to the ingredients used in this unique brew: wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup.The base of Kvasir is a toasty red winter wheat, and the bog-grown berries deliver a pungent tartness. While a handful of hops is used, the earthy, bitter counterpunch to the sweet honey and birch syrup comes from the herbs.”
My Description: This is an interesting ale and it is amazing that people could have drank this 3,500 years ago. Kudos to Dogfish to resurrecting this to the best of their ability. This beer is flavorful and definitely a sipper. It pours a large, light beige colored head with a decent retention that lasts for a couple of minutes but then disappears completely leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting and on the sweet side with notes of honey and berries with a touch of birch syrup and alcohol. Kvasir is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavors and drinkability of this ale reminds me of a dry white wine. There is a prevalent tart note throughout along with some earthiness, cranberries, and other sweet berries. The birch syrup really brings out an herbal element that adds complexity giving this beer some dryness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter, which helps to relieve some of the sweetness. The alcohol is nicely hidden and overall the beer is smooth and clean. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with smoked salmon, beef tacos, or sweet-and-sour pork.
ABV: 10% Color: Reddish/Brown Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
THEOBROMA: 83 Points
“Food of the Gods”
This specialty ale is part of their “Ancient Ales Series” and has an IBU of 8. It is available for a limited time throughout the year in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Dogfish Heads Theobroma (translated into ‘food of the gods’) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). It’s light in color – not what you expect with your typical chocolate beer.”
My Description: This beer was not what I expected but still a pretty good beer on its own. It has a head that is bubbly once poured but quickly depletes leaving just a film and eventually nothing at all. The aroma makes up for the disappointing head; it is fresh and sweet with minor notes of ginger, alcohol, chocolate, chili, and fruit. The beer is more medium bodied and is relatively smooth with a good carbonation level. The beer has flavors but they are all pretty weak and mild. The chili was barely noticeable as well as the chocolate. I was hoping for a little more flavor considering I paid $13 for the bottle. You will get some spice notes and some sweetness as well but nothing stands out. It is almost kind of bland but something was always there. The reason this got an 83 rating is because even though the flavors were weak, the overall beer is made with high quality and definitely worth a try. It is best served around 48°F and pairs nicely with spicy salads, desserts, or gourmet cheeses.
ABV: 9% Color: Hazy Orange Sweetness: 4/10 Bitterness: 1/10
TA HENKET: 86 Points
Ancient Egyptian Ale
This ale is part of their Ancient Ale Series and has an IBU of 7. It is available in limited quantities in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Ta Henket is brewed with an ancient form of wheat and loaves of hearth-baked bread, and it’s flavored with chamomile, dom-palm fruit and Middle Eastern herbs. To ferment this earthy ancient ale, Sam and friends traveled to Cairo, set out baited petri dishes and captured a native Egyptian saccharomyces yeast strain.”
My Description: This is a pretty good beer, but it didn’t satisfy me enough to spend $14 on a bottle. I understand it is priced this high because of all the research that went in to this beer but hey, taste is taste, and I was expecting a little more (especially for only providing enough malt of a 4.5% beer at this price). Enough caveat, let’s get on with this review. It has a decent off-white colored head that leaves little retention. It goes bald after a few minutes leaving small amount of lacing. This ale has a powerful and complex aroma with a strong bread-like scent accompanied by notes of malt, oregano, and some fruit. The taste is also complex. Once you drink it you will get flavors of bread, oregano, and some spice. The aftertaste is totally different, it has a somewhat lemony/sour taste with some fruit notes that add a bit of sweetness. It is medium bodied, smooth, and matches the brewer’s description well. I just wouldn’t buy another bottle of this at that price, it didn’t “wow” me. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with grilled fish, roasted vegetables, or tabouli.
ABV: 4.5% Color: Clear Gold Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1/10
CHATEAU JIAHU: 92 Points
This is an ancient ale brewed by Dogfish in 2006 after this recipe was discovered by archaeologists. The brew is produced in limited quantities and the recommended serving glass is the snifter. Available in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, Orange Blossom honey, Muscat grape, barley malt, and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with Sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.”
My Description: If these are the beers they were producing in antiquity then I sure hope that archaeologists are searching for more because this is delicious; of course it helps to have master brewers producing it. This begins with a nice white head that leaves some lacing for a few minutes. The aroma is floral with some candy-like notes. It is a really enjoyable aroma that makes you salivate. As soon as you will drink this beer the first thing you will notice is how smooth and mild the texture is, considering how high the alcohol content is; it also has a lighter body and an easy drinking feel. The beer has some honey and sweet notes accompanied by green grapes which leads into an aftertaste where you will experience a minor rice flavor. This is an overall refreshing and enjoyable beer that would be nice to drink on a warm summer night. It would go well with salads, sushi, or stir-fry. If you can find it, don’t hesitate.
ABV: 10% Color: Hazy Gold Sweetness: 5.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
BIRRA ETRUSCA BRONZE ALE: 92 Points
Beer from Tuscany? Indeed
First released in December, 2012, this Herb Beer is one of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales. It is brewed based on a recipe discovered from Ancient Tuscany where the Etruscans ruled.
Brewer’s Description: “The backbone of Birra Etrusca comes from two-row malted barley and an heirloom Italian wheat. Specialty ingredients include hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey. A handful of whole-flower hops are added, but the bulk of the bitterness comes from gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin.”
My Description: This is definitely one unique ale that is both enjoyable and fun to drink because of the complexity. It also helps that all the flavors work well together. It has a large, light beige colored head that dissipates quickly leaving nothing behind. The aroma is filled with different scents, some becoming more apparent as the beer warms such as raisins, spices, grapes, and wheat. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. There are so many ingredients in this beer that is somewhat of a challenge to locate them all. There is a hint of spice throughout the beer and a somewhat apparent alcohol note that warms and does not overwhelm the other flavors. There are flavor notes of pomegranate, honey, raisins, and a hint of tart. The aftertaste leaves a lingering pomegranate note. A bubblegum sweetness also makes its appearance. This beer is definitely more on the sweet side. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with olives, pasta bolognaise, or roasted duck.
ABV: 8.5% Color: Copper/Bronze Sweetness: 4.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
MIDAS TOUCH: 86 Points
This is an ancient ale brewed by Dogfish that was released in 1999. It is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles and the brewer recommends a white wine glass as the serving choice.
Brewer’s Description: “This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between wine & mead; this smooth, sweet, yet dry ale will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike.” Tasting notes of “honey, saffron, papaya, melon, biscuity, succulent.”
My Description: This is definitely an unusual ale in a good way. It starts off by having a nice and creamy head that has decent retentive qualities; which is nice to see with an ale with this much ABV. The aroma is sweet with strong notes of grapes, almost smells like wine or sweeter honeys. This beer has a medium body with a strong grape taste with notes of saffron. This is really a complex beer that takes time to really pick out all the flavors and aromas. You will not pick up much bitterness but you will pick up the taste of alcohol. The alcohol is apparent in the beer but that is the nature of having a strong beer. Overall this beer is nice and complex and will definitely be enjoyed by those who also appreciate wines, meads and other fermented drinks. This beer would go nice with any fish dish, light salads, or gourmet cheeses.
ABV: 9% Color: Light Brown Sweetness: 6.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10