They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Monday, 20 August 2012

Noble Rot

Noble Rot

Sounds like toothpaste's arch enemy....

Noble Rot is a special beer brewed by Dogfish Head which was brought back from the States for me by my parents on their latest Florida trip. It's a 9% "Sorta-Saison" Ale brewed with grape must and Botrytis-infected Viognier grape must added from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

The aroma on the beer is more than a little mental. If I was given this blind I'd tell you it smelled like white wine. Knowing what the beer is, I'd say it smells like a 50-50 white wine/Saison shandy... It's got plenty of character on the nose; lemon and orange peel, coriander, grape skins, ripe peach, bananas, bubble-gum and a touch of Cider.

It's an interesting mix of ingredients: Pilsner malt is backed up by organic Hard Red Winter Wheat malt. Liberty, Willamette and Warrior hops are all present and it's finished off with a Saison yeast and the Botrytis must. It looks like a pint of Lager in the glass, but it couldn't be further from it...

This isn't beer. This is a bottle of wine, but at the same time it's neither. Somewhere along the way Dogfish Head has decided to become a Winery as well as a Brewery. This is the furthest thing from beer, called beer, I've ever had in my life, and I've had Tactical Nuclear Penguin...

It looks like a beer, but it tastes like wine (with a tiny hint of Saison about it) It's yeasty, it's earthy and dry. Tart but not sour, a little tomato skin bitterness. As it goes down some sweeter fruit flavours start to show through. Apple flavours (think dry Cider), sweet boozy pears with a hint of white sugar. Fresh grass but also wet hay, it's bizarre. I'm a little lost for words... as I say, I've never really been into my wine, and I've never tasted anything as unfamiliar as this to me before when it comes to a "beer".

Like some sort of Romeo and Juliet story, this is unison in a glass. It's the meeting of two different worlds, and that coupling has created something so different, so unique, it's hard not to be a little taken aback by the creation. In this one instance two (I want to say rival) factors of the drinks industry are joined as one, and it's so obvious because it works so well you wonder why more people aren't doing it. It's a shame, because I think the wine and the beer industry have a lot to offer each other. It would be so great to see a bit more collaboration and brotherhood (or sisterhood) between these two great drinks industries. Dogfish Head have proven that it can be quite fruitful, and not just in this one instance.

Noble Rot



  1. It sounds a real mix-me-up mate, but obviously a pleasurable one from the sounds of things.

    Have you tried the Red and White from DogFish Head, a white beer in red wine barrels or something to that effect? I've a bottle tucked away somewhere that I'm sorely tempted to retrieve from it's ageing resting place..



  2. I've tried the Red and White Phil, and it's nothing like this one... The R+W is a subtle, perfectly balanced beer.. this was just crazy! But good too :)