A Dogfish Head Rant

This is long overdue. These thoughts have been weighing heavy on me lately, and it's time to vent. Before I do so, I need to go over the rules. First and foremost, pardon the language - if I curse, it means I'm being serious. Secondly, I'm a picky asshole, and if your thoughts don't reflect mine, chances are you're right and I'm wrong. And, finally, relax..

Hey, Dogfish Head, time to step your game up!! You have the resources, the technology, and the freaking cash, so let's get it popping!!

Your inconsistency is driving me mad. I can go to the store, buy 2 six packs of 60 Minute IPA, and they are going to taste completely different. An IPA is not a beer I want to taste differently from bottle to bottle. You go on and on about your fantastic quality control methods, but they just look pretty - I haven't noticed a goddamn difference in quality. These are some Dogfish Head Beers I've had that absolutely did not resemble a previous bottle: 60 and 90 Minute, Raison D'Etre, Indian Brown Ale, Olde School Barleywine, Aprihop, Pangaea, Midas Touch, Immort Ale, Zwaanendale, Au Courant and Chateau Jiahu. Beers that are consistent: 120 Minute, World Wide Stout (each vintage), Palo Santo Marron, Black and Blue and Chicory Stout. Notice the difference?

Taste the beers before you release them. I'm glad you experiment and have the balls to take risks, but sometimes I sip your beers and think "C'mon. What the hell, Dogfish Head?" A few cases in point. Black and Blue - you mean someone actually enjoyed drinking this sweet, syrupy mess? Au Courant (the new one) - My God what an awful beer! My mouth wanted to kill itself after attempting to get down more than two chugs of this nasty, fake tasting fruit beer. Raison D'Extra - Alright already, we get it. You can brew big beers!! Now let's make them taste good. This tasted like scotch that had been mixed with flat soda and stale rye bread. Pangaea - It's definitely cool you used an ingredient from each continent, but the end product tasted like weak sparkling apple juice.

Realize your potential. Do you understand what you've brewed with Festina Peche? I don't think you do. This is the ultimate crossover beer. There's not a single person, beer drinker or otherwise, who hasn't thoroughly enjoyed the taste of this beer. It's tart, refreshing, complex yet unoffensive, and most of all, delicious. Listen to me right now - make this year round and market it to the masses.

No disrespect intended. Dogfish Head is a really good brewery, I just needed to vent. While some of their experiments go horribly, horribly wrong, some fare well. I actually really like their hoppy beers (when the bottle is decent), and that's saying a lot. 60 Minute can be one of my favorite IPA's when it tastes good, and I love love love the Indian Brown Ale. Immort Ale, Palo Santo Marron, and World Wide Stout are some of the easiest drinking big beers made on this coast. And, again, I can't get enough Festina Peche.

Alright, I'm done. I hope no one's offended. Drink less, drink better, don't drink and drive, support your local brewery, all that jazz..


RIP George Carlin and Johnstown Brewing

One of my favorite comedians and a local brewery both died recently, and I would just like to pay my respects via blogdom. George, you will be sorely missed. Johnstown, sorry about your luck.


Oh Yeah. I Homebrew.

Upon looking through the blog I noticed I haven't posted anything about my homebrews since April. Time to fix that.

Batch 007 - Orion Saison. In secondary right now and has been for a little over two weeks. So far it tastes freaking fantastic - it's dry, herbal, spicy and acidic all at the same time. The yeast is really creating some funktastic flavors, and given the warm temp in our apartment lately, it's just gonna get funkier. OG on this was 1.065 and now it's down to 1.007. YES!! Gonna bottle this one up in about 4 more weeks I'm thinking.

Batch 006 - St. Defibaugh Special Ale - This has been in bottles for about 3 weeks and just starting to carb up. I'm really happy with how it tastes - it's like eating some incredibly sweet gingerbread cookies while smoking a clove cigarette. I give it 2 months before it's ready, 10 before it's at its peak.

Batch 005 - St. Defibaugh Tripel - Been in bottles for over a month and is well carbed. Just a few more "warm days" then it's off to the cellar for a month before I touch one. The oak came out great, all the spices in play, beautiful color, couldn't be happier. Will be peaking in about 18 months I'd say.

Still waiting to brew the holy trinity batches - table beer, followed by an abbey pale on that yeast cake, followed by a quad on that yeast cake - until finances are right. I could do it now, but I'd have to cut corners. In the words of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, "If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing right."


2004 Glades Pike Marechal Foch

Glades Pike is a pretty awesome place - good wine, good atmosphere, and good people. It's basically dead between Seven Springs and Somerset on Route 31. Autumn's sister is having her wedding reception there (the wedding is this Thursday - that's right, Thursday), so I figured I'd bust this dusty bottle out to "brush up".

I'm not much a wine kinda guy, but I know what I like. Dark, dry wines. This one is an absolutely beautiful burgundy purple that looks like the last rays of an autumn sunset (I'm trying to assume the snobby wino's stance right now, bear with me). The aroma is spicy and sweet with chocolate, grape (duh), and musky notes, creating the perfect background for the amazing dark fruit showcase - figs, plums, raisins, black currents and elderberries. The taste is complex and heavy, with loads of acidity. Very dark fruit focused - raspberries, blackberries, black cherries, plums and, well, grapes. Soft oak, vanilla, tobacco, and musky notes in the finish.

This, to me, is pretty much exactly what a wine should taste like. God do I love me a good Foch!! Not often do places around here make this varietal, but I'm glad Glades Pike does. They really do offer a stellar product for the area, and it's nice that they are willing to step out of the box and produce something this intense. It has aged beautifully, and I only wish I had a few more bottles to share with the crew.


Quickie Book Review

Here's some quick thoughts on a bunch of books I read lately.

Americana by Don DeLillo - Hated it. What a pointless piece of crap. He's obviously a gifted writer, but this book lost direction quicker than a blind man without a cane.

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai - Fantastic. The story jumps between India and America flawlessly, and shows the struggle of all nations, all races, and all people simultaneously. Sometimes very funny, sometimes heartbreakingly sad, this is by all means a touching read. Her use of the English language is on par with some of the best writers in this country. I highly recommend this book to everyone! Read it now!

Tomcat in Love by Tim O'Brien - O'Brien is quite possibly my favorite current American author. Not only does he tell stories with amazing beauty and ease, but he truly understands how important it is to tell them. This book, while not as stirring or stunning as some of his more popular works (i.e. Going After Cacciato, The Things they Carried, In the Lake of the Woods), is a fun and easy read. Very well written, and one worth checking out.

What is the What by Dave Eggars - This book floored me. It's about one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and what he endured during that long civil war. I could go on for hours about this book, but I'll sum it up quickly. This book is an epic that spans many years. It's told with grace, humility and restraint. Eggers did a wonderful job portraying the hardship and turmoil these poor children went through. This book sticks with you long after you're done reading it. Highly recommended.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - McCarthy could right about a steaming pile of dog crap and make me cry. He really is one of the masters of the English language. This book feels like a gift from him to you - you feel honored that he would even allow to glance at such beauty, such talent, and such emotion. This is very short (you can kill it in a day) and quite a page turner. His vision is complete, his scope breath-taking, and his writing is nothing short of pure brilliance. Read it now.

Lamb (The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal) by Christopher Moore - Frickin' hilarious. One of the funniest books I've ever read. It dragged towards the end, but all in all it was a really fun read. Moore actually wrote very tenderly about Jesus, and it was surprisingly not very sacrilegious at all. I can't wait to read his other books.


2003 Le Coq Imperial Stout

I've been saving this one for a special occasion and I figured tonight was the night. What's the occasion? I'm thirsty!

Rich, deep black body with no head at all. The aroma is incredibly alcoholic, backed by dark fruit, molasses, soy sauce, vinegar, chocolate and espresso notes. Brutally strong taste! Very malty and focused on the dark side of things - soy sauce, roasted malts, brown sugar, espresso, port, oak, bourbon, chocolate cake, fudge, and so much more. The lack of carbonation doesn't bother me in this brew. The flavors are so strong and intense that you have to sip it. This is really a fantastic imperial stout, and I hope to brew something along this line real soon. The black, thick, syrupy sweetness of Le Coq is really unmatched. In a world that's so crowded with stouts, this one stands out in the crowd.