Sunday, January 31, 2010

Old Dominion Brewing Oak Barrel Stout

Although it is not as highly touted as the Dominion Lager, this beer is definitely my favorite of the Old Dominion offerings. I first tried this beer as one of the six pack that my wife bought me from Vines at Christmas 3 years ago and immediately fell in love.

The brewmaster at Old Dominion uses smoked and peated malts mixed with hops, then dry-hopped with vanilla beans and oak chips to simulate being aged in oak barrels. The website (http://www.olddominion.com/dominionbeers.shtml) recommends pouring this stout over ice cream as the "founding fathers enjoyed in Colonial Virginia". I have yet to try that but can't wait to get my hands on some more of this stuff!

Old Dominion Brewing Dominion Lager

A Gold Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, Dominion Lager is the most highly decorated of the Old Dominion beers. This flagship brew is an excellent session beer that I would pick any day over the other mass produced, watered-down beer out there.

This lager is brewed with four different kinds of malted barley, and paired with both Northwestern and European hops it produces as smooth a beer as I have ever had. Dominion Lager is very flavorful and complex, and will go well with any type of food. I could drink this beer by the case!

Old Dominion Ale

I have a special fondness for Virginia based breweries. Old Dominion is no exception, and they have been brewing good beer in Northern Virginia since 1989. All of the beers crafted in Ashburn, VA are kosher, and are made using water from Goose Creek right there in Loudon County. 

The Dominion Ale is an English style ale, has a crystal clear, amber color and is full of malt texture and flavor. This medium body beer is a great, very drinkable ale that pairs well with red meat. I was able to find this one as part of a mix pack at a nearby grocery store. 

The Old Dominion website (http://www.olddominion.com/home.shtml) is currently under construction, but boasts of the newest addition - its Baltic Porter. I am looking everywhere to see if I can find this winter brew, but in the meantime you need to check out this ale!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

This seasonal ale is not released because everybody else is doing it and they have to keep up, this pumpkin beer is a step above - and other brewers should be embarrassed. One of the first brewers to make a pumpkin ale, in fact introducing it 6 months before becoming an established brewery, Dogfish Head made an impression with this one. This beer is sooooo good, made with only the best ingredients. Let's list them here: starting with real pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar straight from the cane, cinnamon, allspice, and the ever-present nutmeg.

The results come together as a burnt-orange "brown ale" that smells exactly like pumpkin pie, has a nice caramel colored lace head, is warming and smooth. The rich, full body ends with the sweetness of the brown sugar, and apparently is a hit with more than just me. This beer is usually released right around September 1 and the website (http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/punkin-ale.htm) states that it is usually sold out before Thanksgiving.

After being impressed by the IPA's, I sort of forgot about Dogfish Head until I came across this one in my father-in-law's fridge during the holidays. I know now that I have some searching to do, because I am missing out on some truly amazing stuff!

Dogfish Head 90 Minute & 60 Minute IPAs

First post of the New Year, and my resolution is to drink more beer!

With a slogan like "Off-centered stuff for off-centered people", you know there are going to be some crazy brews coming off the line from Dogfish Head Brewery. Located in Milton, Delaware, it makes me question what is in the water in the Northeast that leads brewers to make such fantastic beer!

As progressive if not more than the folks at Magic Hat in Vermont, DH brewers are pumping out some wild concoctions like: Lawnmower, Afternoon Delight, Altar Boy, Surrender Monkey, and Golden Shower - just to name a few of their over 70 individual offerings, and not to mention the upstairs distillery where they produce their own vodka, rum and gin!

Inventors of "Randall the Enamel Animal", they singlehandedly won the first East Coast vs. West Coast Lupulin Slam - the mother of all hoppy-beer contests - in Washington, DC. In addition, they have earned Esquire magazine's title of "Best IPA in America" for their 90 minute IPA. Obviously, I had to try this beer.

The 90 minute IPA was DH's first attempt at continuously hopping a beer - a painstaking process in which hops are added for a full hour and a half during the brewing process. It is then dry-hopped to add even more texture and flavor. The beer has a "great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate" according to the website (http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/year-round-brews/90-minute-ipa.htm). This really is a fine brew, and is certainly worthy of all the praise. It has a very pungent aroma, but does not kill you with the bitterness that is expected from the hops. The ABV is a round 9%, which adds another complexity to the overall taste. The brewers suggest that 90 minute is best straight out of Randall, a hops-inducer, where the high alcohol content pulls the oils from the hops adding a fresh taste that can't be mimicked. I fully intend to try this soon, as there are 5 brewpubs in VA that have purchased a "Randall" for this purpose.

Considered the 90 minute's little brother, Dogfish Head's 60 minute IPA is, you guessed it, continuously hopped (60 additions, one per minute) for one hour before the dry-hopping process begins. This is DH's fastest selling and most popular beer, considered the "de facto session beer for hardcore hop heads" on the website (http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/year-round-brews/60-minute-ipa.htm). It is slightly hoppier, and a bit dryer than the 90 minute, because of the shorter time frame for boiling the brew. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the 60 over the 90 despite the additional hop flavor. I guess this makes me a 60-minute man...