First, a personal note. Some weeks it feels like Friday can’t come soon enough because I read this incredibly cool story somewhere that connects beer with science and the enduring history of human existence and you guys simply won’t believe it. Other weeks it will be Thursday and I feel dry, drained and absent of ideas. That, my friend, is why god created the Sharp Edge beer tavern, situated less than three blocks (a convenient crawling distance) from my apartment. On a dry week I head over to the best beer selection in our corner of the country and without fail, the new arrivals chalkboard has something worth mentioning.
Whenever I see a new product from Dogfish Head I think, score! More than any other American brewery this Delaware brewery puts out products that amaze (90 min. IPA), infatuate (the quality Belgian-style Raison D’Etre) and simply fascinate (e.g., a 2,700-year-old brew scraped from the tomb of King Midas himself). Dogfish Head’s latest, though, just feels wrong.
Maybe it’s the name. This is the sort of name that our crowd at Balloon Juice might think is hilarious, but come on. Would you pay $15 for a wine bottle-sized flask of brew called Golden Shower? Well, I did. For the sake of journalism of course, which surprised the server who told me that most of the interest comes from college-age guys. Go figure. Second there’s the matter of one of the finest American breweries offering a limited-edition pilsner. Didn’t Budweiser do that already? Actually the Delaware brewery describes their product as an Imperial Pilsner. The Imperial adjective meaning, apparently, that they started out brewing an ordinary pilsner and just kept going. After something like two or three times the ordinary level of slightly-toasted malt and hops, leading to a surprisingly-mild 9% ABV, the beer came out the same straw yellow except with a head that stretched improbably upwards and seemed to last forever. The nose comes across as pilsner-ish and belies this brew’s deep, satisfying flavor. I mentioned earlier that American microbrews tend to worship at the altar of hops and, while that is certainly true here, Dogfish Head achieves a level of balance that makes their brew stand out from the crowded field of American limited editions and, god knows, American pilsners. Definitely worth a try.