Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze Ale, now at City Swiggers

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze Ale, now at City Swiggers. City Swiggers is at 320 East 86th St., btwn 1st & 2nd avenues. Click image for larger view.
A test batch for DFH's newest Ancient Ale, Etrusca is based on a beverage that may have been enjoyed by the Etruscans of Ancient Italy around 800 BC. For this one Sam, DFH's head, traveled to Italy with Dr. Pat McGovern where they met up with Teo and Leo (Sam’s buddies from Baladin Brewery and Birra Del Borgo respectively) and researched ingredients from various Etruscan dig sites. The result of their research is a strong ale containing an Italian heirloom grain called Cappelli Senatore, along with pomegranate juice, raisins, and hazelnut flour, together with 3 types of honey: chestnut, wildflower, and clover. The brew was then spiced with several hop flowers, Gentian root and tree resin (think Myrrh) in the kettle. To simulate fermentation in a bronze vessel (which possibly would have been what the Etruscans used), they actually tied a bronze plate inside  modern stainless fermenter which was suspended in the wort as it fermented. The aroma is dominated by pomegranate and spice from the yeast. The flavor is an intriguing interplay between the tangy pomegranate fruit and nuttiness from the hazelnut flower. One can definitely envision sipping this unique brew while relaxing on the Mediterranean coast. 

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