Friday, August 14, 2015

Brew Dog Dogma Ale (8/10)

Before I tell you about this beer, let me first share something about the brewers.  Brew Dog is a Scottish brewery known for having brewed some of the world's highest-alcohol-content beers.  Brewmasters James Watt and Martin Dickie have been featured in their own television series in the US, where they travel the country visiting various cities.  In each city, they try to come up with a beer that embodies the spirit of that city and brew it while they're there, in conjunction with one of that city's breweries.  Their show (called what else but "Brew Dogs") airs on the Esquire channel and comes highly recommended by me.  I hope someday to meet these guys if they come to Columbus.

Now that you know something about the brewery, how about Dogma itself?  The Brew Dog web site describes Dogma as "a beer for thinkers, dreamers, and sometime truth-seekers".  It's brewed with 10 different varieties of malt and Scottish heather honey.  It's also brewed with kola nut, poppy seed, and guarana.  (This should give you some idea of the kind of brewers Martin and James are.  They come up with some wild and amazing stuff.)

The beer pours a deep, dark brown with tan head that's about two fingers thick and lasts a while.

The aroma is complex and interesting.  You probably could sit there for a while taking it in, following James and Martin's advice, saying "Hello, how are you?" and enjoying the scent for a while.  I get a bit of soft drink (cola), fruit, and a woody element.

Ultimately, though, a beer lives or dies on its flavor.  Dogma's got you covered there.  It's a complex and very interesting combination of soft drink, fruit, malt, and a balanced hops bitterness.  This is not a beer you gulp down and refill your glass.  It lives up to that "beer for thinkers" idea.  You sip a bit of it, think about what you're tasting, and sip again.

A little secret about this one.  It's "good" when it's fresh from the brewery (well, as fresh as any Scottish beer is going to be by the time it reaches us here in Central Ohio).  But it becomes really "great" when you age it for about six months in your cellar.  Some of the harsher hops bitterness subsides and leaves behind a slightly sweeter, even more complex flavor.  If you buy it, buy two bottles and (if you can keep yourself from drinking both) take notes on the "fresh" and "cellared" versions.  I think you'll agree with me.

I can usually find this beer for sale at The Andersons General Store in Dublin.  I sometimes see it at other retailers.  Beer Menus says you won't find a bottle any closer than 150 miles at the time of this writing, but bear in mind that they don't have a complete list of the stock at all Columbus area stores.

I'm giving this beer an 8 out of 10, but that's on the cellared bottle.  It's worth noting that it appears they may have changed the recipe for this in the past year or so, so what you buy now might not be the same beer I'm reviewing here.  Check the label for references to Kola Nut and Guarana.  If you only see "honey infused" on the label, it's that new recipe.

Beer Advocate gave the original recipe here an 82 or "good".  Rate Beer gives it a 95 but doesn't mention a change in recipe.  These are in the ballpark of my 8/10 rating.

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