Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dogfish Head Tweason'ale

A gluten-free beer from Dogfish Head? Now I've seen everything! Actually, it's really not surprising they'd make a sorghum-based brew since they're a very experimental brewery. What's surprising is that it's only 6% ABV (a session beer by DFH standards). I'm not usually a fan of these types of beers, but can Sam Calagione and company bring me around?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (641) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 1, 2012
There’s been a lot of trendy brewing styles in the last few years and right now gluten-free brewing seems to be where it’s at. I’ve never liked sorghum-based beers because of their astringent ending, but I was hoping the off-centered brewers at Dogfish Head would be able to get around it with their Tweason’ale. It’s got some good taste and the drinkability to match, but it’s expensive and not all that impressive at the end of the day.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head glass.

Appearance: Bright orange hue; mostly clear with just a slight haze; spastic effervescence clearly visible. Forms a small, white, soapy head which fizzles away quickly with no lacing left behind.

Smell: Mild aroma with light strawberry notes and traces of sorghum funk.

Taste: The first half of the first swig of Dogfish Head Tweason’ale was very impressive. It’s similar to a strawberry-flavored club soda or perhaps any kind of strawberry pale wheat ale. Authentic (but light) strawberry taste with a sharp, tart edge to it. There’s an underlying bitterness throughout - similar to what you might find in a strawberry-flavored seltzer. The middle is very short with a general earthy sensation and flavor, but mild. Then comes the sorghum astringency, although it’s not quite as sharp and distracting as some other brews of the style. There’s an extremely faint taste of honey just before it finishes, but once it’s gone it leaves virtually no aftertaste.

What’s interesting, and kind of odd, is that this doesn’t taste as much like beer as it does a gluten-free alcopop. That’s fine if that’s what you want as a consumer, but as someone who appreciates the artistry and craft of brewing I can’t help but feel a tad shorted. Sure, the fruity flavor is tasty, but there’s a noticeable lack of hops and the honey as promised by the label. It’s one of the tastiest sorghum-based brews I’ve had, but only okay as a beer in general.

Drinkability: I was rather surprised by how easy it was to slug down a glass of Dogfish Head Tweason’ale. The mouthfeel was as thin as a light lager and just about as carbonated, although little CO2 got stuck in my throat so it went down very smoothly. It’s hard to believe it’s 6% ABV (which is a light beer for Dogfish Head), as it really doesn’t have the body, weight, or energy of a beer that big. I could see myself drinking several of these on a hot day if it were closer to a sessionable potency range, but one bottle is satisfying enough for now.

Grade: 6/10

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