Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tacoa Brewery and Restaurant: Just one more reason to vacation in Tenerife

Just for a minute, close your eyes and imagine yourself soaking up the bright sunlight and the tropical or near tropical heat while listening to the sound of the surf washing across a sandy beach, and let’s not forget the palm trees swishing in the gentle coastal breeze. What style of beer comes to mind with that image? Well, if you’re like most beer drinkers, then the obvious answer simple: pale lagers—perhaps a San Miguel, a Tiger, or maybe a Singha. After all, some of these beers offer up well-carbonated, thin-bodied alternatives that are easily refreshing enough amid the blazing sun and heat.

Still, if you’re like me, downing a dozen or so pale lagers over a couple of days in a row becomes rather tiring, and the search for alternative beers begins. If you happen to visit Tenerife, the largest island in what constitutes Spain’s mildly-climated Canary Islands, then you’re in luck. Not only are there a bounty of thirst-quenching pale lagers—and some good ones to be sure, on the northern side of the island, there’s also a small craft brewery that offers five different draft varieties of first-class brews that markedly contrast against the widely available lagers. In fact, if you’re looking to vacation in a spot with predictably warm and dry weather, but also want the option to savor the finer sides of beer, then Tacoa brewery and restaurant makes Tenerife a surely rewarding vacation spot.

The Brewery

With a population of about 8,300, El Sauzal is quiet coastal town located in the heart of Tenerife’s wine country, which lies about 20 kilometers (32 miles) to the west of Santa Cruz, the island’s capital. El Sauzal is also home to Tacoa’s brewery and restaurant. Even if you happen to stay in the popular beach resort towns like Las Americas and Los Cristianos, both of which are located on the opposite side of Tenerife, Tacoa is still barely more than a one-hour drive away via the highway or a three hour’s drive via the majestic roads leading over El Teide, the island’s infamous volcanic mountain that today is reminiscent of a Martian-like landscape. As you might see from my earlier post, I absolutely recommend renting a car and taking the ladder route. The scenery is out of this world!

Tacoa is easy enough to find when pairing the address below with Google Maps, just as we did when driving from Las Americas. Parking at Tacoa is even easier, and your arrival there will be met with a golden-colored façade on the outside of the brewery, along with the off-white tiled floors and golden-colored walls on the inside, thus giving the restaurant a very warm Spanish-like feel. Tucked in to the left of the restaurant area are two sizable black fermentation tanks, confirming that indeed you are in the right place. The door to in the back, left-hand side will expose you to a spacious terrace, along with generous amounts of sun as well as umbrellas for shade. All in all, the atmosphere of Tacoa’s restaurant and a bar is all aces.

Tacoa is a perfect lunch destination, offering a variety of dishes that, in their entirety, resemble an amalgamation of traditional Spanish and German cuisine, and I personally recommend trying the plethora of flavors that come with the German sausage sampler. Tacoa also boasts a wide selection of wines and a refrigerator stocked full of bottled beers, including Chimay Grand Reserve, Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier, and Guiness Special Export, that are perfect for stocking up your own hotel refrigerator.

But the feature flavors, and indeed the justifications for our journey, are found at the bar in the centrally-located taps. Although Tacoa boast five house beers on tap—Clara, Cobre, Negra, Trigo, and Light, the Light was not available during our visit; so we were only able to sample the first four. But these four, after all, are by far the most important ones.

The Beer

While each beer is top fermented at 18 degrees Celsius (64 f.), each beer also boasts its own unique flavor profile. Nevertheless, a word of advice is in order. Folks in Tenerife, and in many places for that matter, generally serve beer at rather cold temperatures and with frosty mugs. Yet, the volitization responsible for releasing the beer’s flavors generally takes place at higher temperatures. So, be sure to let Tacoa’s beers warm for about 10 minutes before passing judgment on them. Trust me! As the descriptions below testify to, it’s worth the wait. 

Clara (4.5 percent ABV): When confronted with Clara, my first instinct was to classify it as a Belgian pale ale of sorts. However, after a few more sips at warmer temperatures, Clara reveals her bitterness that’s reminiscent of a fine pilsner and a fruity and funky character that makes it feel like the a distant and lighter cousin to an Orval. Life in the glass begins with a dark golden color and a towering, frothy white head. Taking a few sips exposes the side of glass, unearthing a field of densely packed lacing. Overall, Clara’s presentation is simply excellent. The aroma is a bit on the timid side at first, but some potency enters the fray as the beer warms up. Cracker notes—saltiness or soda crackers for example—pepper the nose through and through. In what at times feels like an Orval of sorts, a mild fruitiness and a distinct barnyard note also enter the scene. Fruity notes are also prominent in the taste, followed by a bready and a slight barnyard feel. Clara finishes with a rather subtle yet lingering bitterness, but one that seemed to be a bit less than the way it was described on the menu. In fact, I found Cobre to be a bit more bitter. Clara comes with a medium body and generous amounts of carbonation. All in all, with a 4.5 percent ABV, Clara is a rather refreshing and well-balanced session beer, although it was probably my least favorite out of Tacoa’s four sudsy treats.

Cobre (4.5 percent ABV): Like Clara, I had a rather difficult time when trying to classify Cobre. Perhaps it fit best as a British premium bitter, but that’s not really it at all. But in contrast to Clara, Tacoa's Cobre is a bit more aggressive in the aroma and taste. For all tense and purposes, the head, the lacing, and the mouthfeel are at the same standards as Clara, but this time we are graced with a copper or amber-colored body. Giving it a whiff reveals some of the same tones found in Clara, most notably an ever so mild and brief horse blanket note that also comes off as well-aged sour cream. There is a slight fruity note, along with the predominance of wet hey. But the taste is where Cobre is most interesting and, in my view, superior to Clara. The centerpiece of the flavor is a very focused, but hard to identify spicy note. It's sort of gingery, but then again not really. For me, it was a bit reminiscent of a spiced-up Christmas beer that leaves a warm and tingly feeling on the tongue. Both my wife and I concluded that the spice most closely resembled clove. Personally, I found Cobre to be a tad more hoppy than Clara, although my wife and I differed a bit on this. All in all, the Cobre is a remarkably flavorful and palate-pleasing beer, especially considering its rather conservative 4.5 percent ABV.

Trigo (4.5 percent ABV): As Tacoa's take on a Hefeweizen, Trigo is a heaven sent 4.5 percent ABV mug of candy, making it radically different from both Clara and Cobre. Coming straight out of the tap, the head simply defies the laws of gravity and imparts a think and dense head that looks so inviting when juxtaposed on a bright and hazy golden body. The aroma is a blast of banana, or banana flavored bubblegum to be precise. References to bread are also evident in both the taste and the flavor. However, the focus taste closely resembles banana flavored bubblegum, although the bubblegum note supports the more dominant banana flavor – just as it should in a Hefeweizen. Trigo's mouthfeel comes with a medium body and a high amount of carbonation. Overall, Trigo is loaded with aroma and taste and is a super-sweet, candy like treat, and I’m sure you’ll love it.

Negra (6.5 percent ABV): Finally, we come to Negra, Tacoa’s 6.5 percent ABV take on what really appears and feels like a bock, although as a top-fermented beer, it is clearly a brown ale of sorts. And out of all four varieties we sampled, this one was probably my favorite, although Trigo comes in with a close second. Negra starts out with a dark brown color, culminating in a medium-sized, well-retained off-white head. The lacing is perhaps a bit more timid than the other three, but is still impressive nonetheless. Aroma? Well, try imagining the freshness of the sun-filled spring air just after a light rain shower. That pretty much captures Negra's background aroma, which is then peppered with dark fruit notes, especially raisins. The aroma and the taste are malty and nearly identical to one another, although I did miss some of the caramel flavor that often comes with beers of this character. The finish is ever so slightly bitter, and the mouthfeel comes with a medium body and average amounts of carbonation. Overall, this beer alone made the trip worthwhile. 

You might now be asking, so…how can I try all four if I have to then drive a car back to my hotel, which might be up to an hour or so away? Well, you have a few options. First, Tacoa beers come in two sizes, and if you drink two smaller-sized samples of their 4.5 percent varieties, eat a generous amount of food, and relax on the terrace for about an hour or so after finishing your beer, you should be okay to drive. You can then pay a bottle deposit and have the friendly Tacoa staff fill up several flip-top bottles with whatever you were unable to sample. In fact, you should just do this anyway, since their draft beers hold remarkably well for several days in a well-sealed bottle. Second, you can do what I did: talk my wife into being the designated driver, and then take away a bottle of each just so your generous driver is not excluded from the fun.

After sampling four different Tacoa brews fresh from the tap, and in light of amalgamation of German and Spanish atmospheres and dishes, I can do nothing else other than recommend taking a visit to Tacoa during your next trip to Tenerife. In fact, Tacoa really gives you another reason to make your next vacation a trip to Tenerife, as if you really needed another reason to vacation there. 

Please note: I must give special thanks to Colin Kirby. Without her excellent 2010 article on Tacoa, I might have visited Tenerife without ever knowing about Tacoa. 

Additional information

Address: Carretera General del Norte 122, 38360 El Sauzal
Telephone: (0034) 922564173

Friday, March 16, 2012

Live from Tenerife - The journey to Tacoa brewery and restaurant

Quality beer is not simply a want that one adds to a wish list alongside trivial things like a television, computer, or jewelry, but a basic necessity of life similar to the need for food, shelter, and clothing that when unfulfilled, leads to desperation and a sense doubt about life and the moralities of humankind. Luckily, Tacoa brewery and restaurant, one of Tenerife’s only – perhaps the only – brew pubs has been able to fulfill this need, and hence restore my confidence in life and faith in humankind.

On board a rather stiffly-suspended Ford Focus, our journey to Tacoa begins from Las Americas, one of Tenerife’s southern beach and resort towns. The journey then extends through the windy roads leading to the summit of Teide – the Island’s infamous volcanic mountain that today is reminiscent of a Martian-like landscape. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking.

Descending from Teide brings us to Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife’s main fishing village and a rather large town for the standards here. With another 15 minutes of driving, we come to the town of El Sauzal and finally Tacoa. Yes, it was an adventurous journey through alien worlds on board a vessel that jarred with every small surface irregularity. But our thirst for fine quality craft beer made any challenge seem like a walk in the proverbial park. And the prospects of exploring new beers made it all the more adventurous.

Tacoa is a small brew pub with an excellent selection of food, consisting of a mixture of traditional German and Spanish cuisine, along with a selection of five beer varieties – Clara, Cobre, Negra, Trigo, and Light, just enough to quench our thirst and hunger. Since Tacoa was out of the Light, we were only able to sample the first four, which were by far the most important ones. In a later blog post, I will write a bit more about each beer. Suffice it to say here that all four were absolutely wonderful. But the Trigo, an incredibly candy-like hefeweizen, and the Negra, a bock with an abundance of dark fruit notes, were by themselves enough to justify the long drive from Las Americas to El Sauzal, via Teide.  

Also in a later post from home, I’ll say a bit more about the pub. Again, it’s worth mentioning that at the pub, you can put a deposit on one-liter sized swing top bottles and then have them filled. This of course was part of our plan. However, it did not quite work out that way, as the pub only managed to conjure up one rubber seal for the swing top caps. So, we filled the only legitimate glass bottle with the Negra, and after some hesitation and questions about the effects from the plastic, we decided to use empty 1.5 liter water jugs for the remaining three varieties (see picture below). A day later, I can say that the water jugs worked well, although the one containing the Clara did leak a bit of air and liquid.

At this point, we only have a few days left on our trip, but lots of beer to drink. With my confidence in life and faith in humankind now regained, I’m looking forward to writing more extensive reviews on Tacoa’s brews, and a bit more about the brew pub. Until then, bottoms up!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Live From Tenerife - Learning to love pale lagers

Sun, sand, and warmth - just what the doctor ordered for a sun-deprived couple living under the mother nature's assault in Bergen, Norway. And Las Americas, Tenerife is the perfect medicine. Mild, sunny, and not a hint of rain, I feel like a damn fool for not simply moving here years ago.

While the craft beer scene in Tenerife isn't really, I'm learning to like some of the usual suspects for this part of the world, most notably San Miguel. But other varieties are widely available, and some of them are quite good for winding down in the cool evening breeze on the apartment terrace. See the picture below for tonight's lineup.

Plus, and thankfully so, there are a couple of Belgian beer pubs in the beach area. So, when you had enough of the watery lagers, a the generous flavors from a Duvel or a Westmalle are not far away. I'll be sure to map some of these places in a later blog post.

On Thursday, we'll be traveling to the Island's only craft brewery. I'll be sure to report back afterwards.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kinn: Bøvelen – 5th Place! Congratulations Kinn!

Recently, the Norwegian Beer Friends Association (NORØL) released the results of their 6th annual vote on, among other things, Norway’s best beers and breweries. The results confirm what quite a lot have been saying for some time now: Kinn Brewery – based in Florø, Norway – is one of the country’s leading craft breweries and produces some of the county’s most robust brews. Out of the more than 100,000 NORØL members that had the opportunity to vote, Kinn came out in 2nd place, with 21.3 percent of the votes. And Kinn’s Bøvelen – the beer under review here – was ranked number 5 out of a total of 87 candidates. Congratulations Kinn!

The Brewery

As Norway’s westernmost town, Florø’s coastal setting and lively atmosphere makes it one of most attractive places to visit in western Norway. With a population that barely breaches 10,000, Florø is the home to fish processing, shipbuilding, petroleum industry, and, with the 2009 opening of Kinn, brewing can now be added to that list.

The word Kinn (literally cheek) is the name given to one of the outermost islands that buffers Florø from the open sea, although it was also the name of an earlier municipality that was eventually merged into the surrounding municipalities. I can only speculate that the place name “Kinn” might be attributed to the fact that area forms the westernmost point, or “cheek”, of Norway’s coastline, although this again is only speculation on my part.

Kinn brewery makes about six different beers – all of which are remarkably wonderful concoctions (see my review of the Vestkyst IPA, for another example). Kinn takes a rather traditional approach to beer-making by using open fermentation tanks and an English handpump to tap the beer. Brew master Espen Lothe also bares his grounded philosophy to brewing when commenting that “my job is not to makebeer, but to help the yeast cells to produce beer”. Lothe’s approach and philosophy are undoubtedly causes for Kinn’s remarkable brewing success and their commendable performance in NORØL’s ratings.

The Beer

With a 9.5 percent ABV, Bøvelen strives to be one of the sweeter abbey tripels out there. As for the name, Bøvelen is a word for devil, but the word is from a local dialect primarily found in western Norway (thanks Beer Sagas for pointing this out because I had a ‘hell’ of a time trying to find the word in the dictionary). With a picture of a bearded farmer with horns and holding a trident, the label is certainly consistent with Beer Saga’s interpretation.  

My sample was shared with a friend back in November of 2011, but I managed to take quite detailed tasting notes. Its hazy golden-colored body and fluffy and rocky white head are clear signs of an excellent abbey tripel. Giving the glass a generous swirl yields a tight and sticky, web-like lacing matrix. Aroma? Think typical Belgian yeast, banana, zesty pineapple, and some unidentified spicy notes.

Bøvelen’s mouthfeel is pleasant and pretty faithful to this particular style – smooth and moderately carbonated; a medium to full body; and a somewhat sticky sensation. Taking a generous mouthful brings out a wonderful array of intensely sweet flavors, like apples and candy, juxtaposed on a rich honey background. An alcohol taste clearly lingers in the background, but gains prominence as Bøvelen warms. The finish is slightly bitter at first, but then transitions back into an intensely sweet aftertaste.

All-in-all, Bøvelen – like their Vestkyst IPA – testifies to Kinn’s attention to quality, perfection, and ability to make beers that rival many of the brews from the more ‘matured’ breweries around – quite remarkable for such a young brewery. Personally, however, I found Bøvelen to be just a tad too sweet – and I emphasize the word tad. Yet, the alcohol note, while perhaps a bit too strong at warmer temperatures, manages to somehow balance a bit against that sweetness, as does the mild bitter finish. Even with these small caveats, Bøvelen is an excellent representation of an abbey tripel and easily deserving of its outstanding NORØL ranking. If you like the sweetness of honey with some other nuances tossed in, then I can do nothing else other than recommend trying Kinn’s take on an abbey tripel.


Image credits 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales: Collababeire Special Holiday Ale – Powerful and innovative, all around

Collababeire Special Holiday Ale is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and innovative ales to come across my palate in the past few months (for others, see for example my reviews of Mikkeller Stella 2, Xbeeriment Black Force One, LostAbbey 10 Commandments). Brewed by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, which is located in Dexter, Michigan, Collababeire Special Holiday Ale is a collaborative brew crafted by Jolly Pumpkin and two other first-class breweries: Stone Brewing Company, from Escondido, California, and Nøgne Ø, from Grimstad, Norway. Collababeire Special Holiday Ale is the finale to a three-part series of this ale, each of which included the same ingredients, but varying aging practices were used in each version. Each version was also brewed and bottled by one of the three collaborators – the first by Stone, the second by Nøgne Ø, and the third by Jolly Pumpkin. While I’ve sampled a wide variety of brews crafted by the first two breweries, this is my first encounter with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, who brews five year-round products and ten seasonal varieties. And based on Collababeire’s excellence, I will certainly be looking to sample more of Jolly Pumpkin’s craftsmanship.

While classified by Ratebeer as a spice, herb, or vegetable beer, Collababeire Special Holiday Ale is also a wild ale of sorts, where the brewer deliberately introduces a Brettanomyces yeast to impart a rather funky, sour taste, which in most ales would be seen as an undesirable quality produced by an undesirable and pesky (and potentially costly) contaminant. For those of you familiar with different beer brands and styles, but less familiar with yeast strains, Brettanomyces, or “Brett” as it is sometimes called, is commonly found in Lambics, and features in other tasty treats like Orval, Liefmans Brown Ale, and Rodenbach Grand Cru. Aside from the rather unique qualities imparted by Brett, Collababeire is aged in oak barrels for two years and brewed with chestnuts, juniper, sage, and caraway – all the makings for a delightful beer experience.

While the label’s drab, dark-gray background makes it easy to overlook when sitting on the store’s shelf alongside other, more colorful labels, once the bottle is picked up for closer inspection, one is instantly captivated by the creative amalgamation of the various symbols adopted by each of the three breweries. The red and green bat-like wings reference Stone’s devil-like winged creature, while the pumpkin head that sits upon the wings and looks to be blowing out a candle clearly references the symbol adopted by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. What’s most interesting is the placement of Nøgne’s tell-tale “Ø”, which is sits on the face of the candle; hence it is dead center on the label, just like the positioning of the bolder “Ø” on all of Nøgne Ø’s beer labels. My hats off to the label’s artist!

Moving on to the beer itself, popping off the cap comes with a crisp hiss, followed by a light gush of foam, and an aroma that is quite eager to greet the olfactory system. When poured into a goblet, Collababeire Special Holiday Ale presents itself as a dark reddish-brown ale and culminates in a one-finger high, beige head that quickly recedes to a thin film of densely-pack bubbles. The lacing is sparse, but is completely consistent with a beer of this style. Being easy to detect even at 20 cm away, the nose is immensely powerful to say the least. In fact, the Orval goblet I used to sample Collababeire was left unrinsed overnight in the kitchen, and the smell throughout the entire kitchen the next morning was a vivid reminder of my Collababeire experience the night before. 

Indeed, on the first whiff, the nose sort of comes off as a cross between a grand reserve and a lambic. Generous smells of raisins, plums, and oak are obvious, as well as a sort of grape note that comes off as sour when mixed with the undeniable Brett funkiness. At the same, the aromas from the other additives are, at the very least, not plainly evident. The juniper note, for example, is only detectable after some effort. The same can be said about the caraway, while I still failed to find the chestnut and sage aromas.
Taking a mouth full reveals a medium body and a modest amount of carbonation. Initially dominated by Brett’s sour delivery and references to dark fruits, the taste closely resembles the aroma: It sort of reminds me of a cross between a grand reserve and a lambic. The spiciness is obvious, but without knowing the ingredients, I would have never guessed sage and caraway. The juniper and oak notes are evident, but only after some effort and determination to find them. The finish comes with a dry and bitter punch, and the alcohol warming is a perfect match to that punch.

Overall, Collababeire Special Holiday Ale is unbelievably aromatic, tasty, and complex – a testament to the outstanding craftsmanship of all three collaborators. Objectively speaking, it’s well balanced and well blended, especially in the way the alcohol gently warms the finish. To this I must add two minor caveats – one about the beer’s ability to match its aspirations and one about the beer’s match with my personal preferences. In terms of the former, I was a bit disappointed that some of the additives – most notably the sage – were not as forthcoming in my sample, although I see other reviewers found these flavors quite easily. In terms of the latter, I was ever so slightly disappointed that the sourness in some sense seemed to steal the show, thus giving Collababeire a rather rough feel all around. Yes, I know this is a sour ale; but unlike some of the other sour ales (see my Mikkeller, Stella 2 rating, for example), the drama that unfolded in Collababeire felt more like a lambic, where the sourness took center stage or defined the broader context rather than emerging as one particular “actor” or “event” within a play about the matrix of all the wonderful additives that constitutes Collababeire. Of course, this reflects my preference, and is no reason passing negative judgment. In fact, the sourness completely and harmoniously engaged with the other flavors, especially the fruit flavors, to produce an enjoyable cidery feel. Indeed, if you truly like the funky side of sour ales, or if you’re a lambic enthusiast, then Collababeire is certainly an excellent choice, and one that I have no regrets on making.


Collababeire Special Holiday Ale on

Collababeire Special Holiday Ale on BeerAdvocate

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Stone Brewing Company

Nøgne Ø 

Image credits

Cardinal Pub & Bar

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dogfish Head: Indian Brown Ale – What’s not to like about this?

Since its opening back in 1995, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has grown to become synonymous with the remarkable growth of America’s vibrant craft beer culture and the proliferation of some of the world’s most cutting-edge brews. Today, the company boasts 7 year-round brews, along with about 30 seasonal, occasional, and collaborative brews, and nearly 70 “brewpub exclusives” over the years. Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale – the ale under review here – is one of the brewery’s seven year-round products.

Founded by Sam Calagoine, Dogfish Head Brewery is nestled in a small Delaware town called Milton. Named after John Milton, an English poet and ardent republican under Oliver Cromwell’s controversial rule, the town of Milton in the past prospered as a shipbuilding center, and today it is known for its revitalized Victorian and colonial architecture and of course its world famous brewery. 

The name Dogfish Head, however, is another story, and one that has nothing to do with America’s first state or 17th century English poets for that matter. Instead, the name Dogfish Head is connected to a place in Maine, America’s 23rd state. Located in Sheepscot Bay – about 70 km (44 miles) up the coast from Portland, Dogfish Head is a remote coastal place where Sam spent his summers as a child. According to the brewery’s website, the place name comes from Maine’s lobstermen who ended up catching more dogfish here than actual lobsters, hence the name Dogfish Head. As a side note, their website also mentions a few of the other names that, out of confusion, is sometimes bestowed upon the brewery, including “Dog Head Fish,” “Fish Head Beer,” and “Dog Head Brewery”.

So, now on to the beer. Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale is one of the 15 beers that I legally brought back to Norway with me during an autumn trip to the US. While I consumed my fair share of this ale during the trip, this particular review is based on the bottle I drank in the comfort of my own home here in Norway. As the name suggests, the Indian Brown Ale is a hybrid of a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale, and an American Brown Ale, and the hybridity of the brew really comes through nicely in both the aroma and taste. Brewed with brown sugar and dry-hopped like Dogfish Head’s more famous 60 and 90 minute IPAs, their Indian Brown Ale is a notably hoppy, 7.2 percent ABV brown ale with a bounty of well-balanced flavors. 

Popping the cap and pouring it into a glass reveals a semi-transparent, dark-brown color, accompanied by a distinct dark-red hue where the liquid kisses the side of the glass. Beige, but somewhat small, the head has a decent amount of retention and yields generous bits of lacing. Whatever might be lacking in the head’s altitude is certainly compensated for in the nose. While the aroma is not all that powerful, it’s loaded with a variety of delightful and subtle odors:  The sweet roasted malt notes, along with hints of toffee, coffee, and brown sugar, dominate ever so slightly over the more timid, yet spicy hop references.  

The mouth feel comes with a medium body and generous amounts of carbonation. Like the aroma, the flavor of Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale is the undeniable mark of a well-crafted hybrid. With its malt-forward profile, the more intense tastes of toffee, coffee, and honey are nicely juxtaposed on a moderate hop presence. However, the hops manage to make their way to center stage in the relatively dry and lasting bitter finish. 

All in all, Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale is a well-balance beer load with a variety of subtle flavors. With the predominance of a malt sweetness that is clearly consistent with what one would expect from a brown ale style, but with the added hop bitterness in the finish, its hybridity shines through without betraying its brown ale aspirations. It’s well crafted, widely available, and reasonably priced – what’s not to like about that?


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