Review: Dogfish Head/Three Floyds Poppaskull

Dogfish Head & Three Floyds say:

“Poppa Skull is the reciprocation-collaboration between Dogfish Head and 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Our brothers from another out in Indiana. The first beer we did together at 3F, Popskull, was a high-gravity dark lager aged on chunks of our palo santo wood. Poppaskull is similar in abv, a sipper that will age well, also aged on wood, but very, very different in flavor and aroma.”

Dogfish Head/Three Floyds Poppaskull
Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 9.5% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Karl: I’m not sure how and when this particular review will post, but allow me to say right at the front that we had the Poppaskull after a long, hard night of imperial stouts, porters and bourbon barrel aged EVERYTHING. So you know where my palate was coming from when I say that this was a veritable breath of fresh beer air at the finish of a long night. Thankfully, this wasn’t just a relief of a beer, it was a good one, too.

I wrote down a lot of words to describe this beer (surprising that I wrote so much – at the end of an evening often my notes just read “MEH” or “BOOZE” or “AAAAAAAAA”) but if I were to sum it up in one, it would be thus: “Friendly.” Yes, despite the creepy skull on the bottle, this is a friendly beer. A happy one. Light. Playful. It’s a ball pit playland of a beer. Continue reading

1 Year of GDB: Ryan’s Top 5 Beers Thus Far

Ryan: Lists! Everyone loves ‘em. And as such, we figured that with one full year of Guys Drinking Beer reviews and coverage in the books, we’d go back and take a look at the 5 beers that are still yanking our heartstrings. Beers that we wish we were still drinking at this moment, and forever and ever, amen. Beers that were just so damn good they have a permanent place of honor in our addled little brains.

We’ve drank damn near every type of beer in the past year, everything from macrobrew basics all the way to hyper-local brewery one-offs. Stouts, sours, pilsners, ales, lagers, and everything in between – if it was fermented with yeast, we got our hands on it.

Here’s my top five beers of this year, with a little bit of perspective now that they’re sadly in our rear-view mirror. For now.

5) Stoudts Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout 2009. It’s quite a mouthful to say and quite a mouthful to drink. I was able to chronicle this beer’s cellaring journey from fresh, to six months and to 18 months. That last bottle I pulled out of the cellar was remarkable and it is one of the few beers I regret not having more stashed away. I have tried cellaring a handful of other imperial oatmeal stouts and the Fat Dog is not only the lone beer I’ve had hold up well but actually improve dramatically with age. As I wrote in my review, it went from a-typical oatmeal stout to a super-awesomely complex oatmeal stout.

“The chocolate and coffee notes have taken a backseat to an almond-like nuttiness, brown sugar, plums, dates and a milk chocolate finish. The dark fruits are rather alluring and the brown sugar adds a pleasant sweetness to this beer.”

Find it. Buy it. Cellar it. I can promise, you won’t be disappointed.

4) Surly Darkness. This yearly offering from Surly is still fairly new to me. I had it in 2009 and recall drinking a very hoppy imperial stout reminiscent of Victory’s Storm King and Bell’s Expedition stouts. The 2010 offering from Surly was far more complex. In fact, I noted it was one of the most complex beers I had ever drank.

“Aromas of rich, milk chocolate, brown sugar and a well-worn leather jacket and spearmint gum fill my nose. Take a sip and you’ll find an incredibly complex beer. You’re initially greeted with a wave of silky, creamy, smooth and rich milk chocolate. It quickly gives way to a mix of smoked meats and soy sauce and finishes with a kiss of citrus hops. The longer you let this beer warm, and you should because there is so much to appreciate here, the smoked qualities become more pronounced with a bit of tobacco emerging as well.”

To this day I want to sit down with a bottle of this and a really, really big steak.

3) Dogfish Head Bitches Brew. Honey and cherry flavors went a long way in both blending with and offsetting the bold rich flavors of a typical Russian Imperial Stout. This is truly an imperial stout for people who don’t generally like the style or are afraid of dark beers. Oh, and I still want to try that blend of Troegs Mad Elf and Bell’s Expedition some day.

2) Stone Vertical Epic 07.07.07. Three years in the cellar made for a fun tasting of Stone’s VE 07.07.07. All things fruity and zesty on the palate with this one; mint, ginger, citrus, mint, spices and a hint of mint – oh and some raspberries on the finish. This beer was far thicker than I anticipated, nice and syrupy.

I was skeptical that it would hold up well in the cellar, but I was wrong. And I hope it continues to get better with age till at least until 2012.

How a beer that Karl claimed tasted like burnt marshmallow didn’t wind up in his top 5 is beyond me.

1) Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza 2007. Sure, things started out a little rough with this three year old offering from Jolly Pumpkin sampled around Christmas. But after I got the burning out of nose caused by inadvertently sucking some of the head up my nostril while trying to get a good whiff of this beer, I was good to go. And good, no great, this beer was. So fantastically Jolly Pumpkin tart and complex and fruity and wonderful.

“The nose (careful!) was full of pears, apples, earth, soil and that funk we know and love from Jolly Pumpkin. Take a sip and you get a sourly complex beer that has a mix of tart fruits, hints of dark chocolate, raisins and plums and some vanilla. Each sip was different with any of the aforementioned flavors being more prominent than the others.”

This was my beer highlight of 2010 and, without a doubt, the highlight of our numerous beer reviews over the last year. The tartness and funkiness and all-around-awesomeness of this beer will be hard to top for beers, er, years to come.

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Honorable mention goes to New Glarus Unplugged Berliner Weiss and Imperial Saison, Founders Devil Dancer, Bell’s Black Note, The Bruery Two Turtle Doves, Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin, Short’s Strawberry Short’s Cake, Jolly Pumpkin’s Magr…Mada…Madro…(I give up) Dark Dawn Stout and Boulevard’s Rye-On-Rye and Bourbon Barrel Quad.

Thanks for a year of reading our beer-related blather, and here’s to more in the future. We’ve got crafts to save and brews to review, so we’ll keep it comin’ if you keep on reading.

Sparging The News: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Discusses Goose Island Sale

Carly Fisher of The Feast tweeted this at us this morning, and we thought it interesting enough to pass it on to you, Constant Reader. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head (who you may remember from a little show called Brewmasters, which he discussed with Karl here) was at an event last night where The Feast caught up with him. After some discussion, Sam touched upon the Goose Island/A-B buyout.

You can find that video here, since we can’t seem to embed it yet. But this is what it looks like, sorta, if we were to embed it. Go watch it, then come back.

You can tell Sam is trying to be diplomatic, but one particular statement stands out when he uses this phrase:

“One-time craft brewers.”


He goes on to explain that he loves having “that indie rep” and digs being the David among Goliaths (which, of course, is also arguable – he’s a pretty big “David” compared to almost all others). Cheers to Sam for speaking his mind and also, we presume, saying what a lot of other craft brewers are thinking.

Review: Dogfish Head/Stone/Victory Saison du BUFF

The breweries say:

“Plans call for Saison du BUFF to be a 6% alc/vol Saison brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. This beer will be brewed three times, once at each brewery using the same recipe.”

Dogfish Head/Stone/Victory Saison du BUFF
Saison, 6.8% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

We dug into the herbal threesome that is the Saison du BUFF romantic triangle of beers recently. We’ve inspected similar experiments from breweries before – Freedom of 78 from Short’s and Half Acre come to mind – and as a fan of all three of the represented breweries, if nothing else it’d be an interesting look at what small factors go into the personalization of beer and how it comes out of each individual brewmasters hands.

Stone, Victory and Dogfish Head all bellied up to their brewkettles and produced the same recipe of beer. Build a strange, savory, herbal brew of sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary on top of a saison backbone and you’ve got the Saison du BUFF, three takes on one beer from three top breweries. We drank ‘em all, and here’s what we thought:

Karl: To be honest, I didn’t think these beers looked very appealing at all. The Stone SdB had a ridiculously pillowy, frothy head on it while the others looked kinda flat, and they all had that same pilsner-y yellow hue going for them. To be honest, I thought they looked like piss. Fortunately, they tasted better. Continue reading

Pumpkinsanity Review: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head says:

“A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. This is the perfect beer to warm-up with, as the season cools.”

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Pumpkin Ale, 7% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Karl: The DFH was another of the first pumpkin beers I stumbled into, and also have always enjoyed its balance and general restraint in comparison to other DFH offerings. It’s never been the most pumpkinny of beers, but it always had enough to scratch that itch and basically served as a good autumn ale with a bit of fruit to it. This year is no different.

The Punkin looks like fall, smells like pumpkin, and pours a nice orange with no real discernable head. It’s a bright, fresh flavor, with plenty of overwhelming brown sugar and cinnamon. Very little pumpkin flavor is present, and what’s there is pretty well covered up by spices, finishing with a somewhat sticky soda-like consistency. Continue reading

Review: Dogfish Head Bitches Brew

Dogfish Head says:

“In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1970 paradigm-shifting landmark fusion breakthrough, we’ve created our own Bitches Brew – a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece. Featuring the album’s iconic artwork, created by the late Mati Klarwein, on its label…”

Dogfish Head Bitches Brew
Russian Imperial Stout, 9% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Karl: We dug into this after pulling ourselves off the floor post-Nemesis. You might think that’s a dangerous time to review another heavy beer, after the domination of the Nemesis. However, it proved to be just the right thing at just the right time. Amazingly, a Russian Imperial Stout was a relaxing change of pace, and stood up very well. Here’s why. Continue reading

Adventures In CellarSitting Review: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head says:

“Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute IPA., “perhaps the best I.P.A. in America.” An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter. A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate.”

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Double IPA, 9% ABV

(Editors Note: We here it Guys Drinking Beer occasionally like to push the envelope of beer cellaring. IPA’s aren’t traditionally good candidates for the cellar. They are brewed to be puckeringly hoppy and, thus, designed to be enjoyed that way. But we thought it would be a fun experiment to see what happens to an overly hopped, high alcohol content Double IPA when it sits in the cellar for a year or more.
Below are the tasting notes for Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA after one year and two years in the cellar.)


Andrew: I believe it was our forefathers that asked the timeless question of, “What exactly happens when you throw a killer double IPA into the cellar for a year?” Continue reading

Review: Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

Dogfish Head says:

A deep, mahogany Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins, and Belgian-style yeast. We began brewing this one at our brewpub in 1996 as the answer to the question, “What beer should I enjoy with a wood-grilled steak?”

Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre
Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 8% ABV


Ryan: Sadly, I did not have a steak when I drank this beer but I imagine it would pair very well with one. Continue reading