Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
The Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware has quickly become my favorite brewery around. I can’t recall precisely when this love affair began, but I can tell you for sure that it was cemented last night when I enjoyed yet another Aprihop Ale.
Growing up in the Northeast, the first craft beer I ever encountered was Magic Hat. Magic Hat was, and still is, a great brewery. I have a lot of respect for what they do up there in chilly VT. And I have great (vague) memories of drinking #9 when I was just barely old enough to be drinking.
But Dogfish Head Aprihop is a whole new seasonally inspired ale. It brings in nice apricot flavors without smacking you in the face with fruit. The approach of adding apricot to a strongly hopped IPA is something wonderful. The beer has great hop characteristics and a brilliant full body. It is, first and foremost, a great ale. One that stands on its own and can be counted, along with many other Dogfish beers, as a great example on how to brew a full flavored and interesting beer.
But it’s the seasonality that Dogfish injects into their beers that really makes these worth talking about. I remember having a similar revelation last fall when I taste tested five different Pumpkin beers. Most of the beers smacked of artificial pumpkin pie spice. Or they were light and watery with a canned pumpkin taste. But the Dogfish version stood above and beyond. It was a beer. A real beer. And it felt as if the brewers had taken a subtle hand with real spices. Not fake pumpkin pie spice, but the spices that make the fall season the fall season. Nutmeg and cinnamon and clove all played a role.
So to sum up, well done, Dogfish. Well done.