Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Maybe it’s the fact that Dogfish Head beers are sold everywhere in South Carolina except the area I live, but whenever I have the chance to buy DFH beers – old or new – I never miss out. For whatever reason, it’s one of those breweries that elicits one of two responses: an outpouring of adoration or raw, seething anger. I fall in the middle. I’m not the biggest fan, but I like and appreciate how Sam is willing to go out on a limb and try totally crazy styles and methods of brewing.
I’ve had most of their catalog, some great ones (60/90/120 Minute, Olde School, Aprihop, Punkin) and some not so great ones (Faithful Ale, Palo Santo Marron). Chicory Stout is one that falls in the middle for me The first time I had it was last year on a trip to visit some friends in Virginia when I stopped at the Alehouse in Falls Church. I recently came across a 4-pack and, since I knew it would be going out of season soon, figured I’d grab it.
Chicory Stout is a 5.2% seasonal stout brewed with organic Mexican coffee, licorice root, St. John’s Wort and roasted chicory, a perennial plant that ads a bit of smokiness and roasted notes. Oatmeal is also added to the mix, as well as a good bit of hops.
The color is what you’d expect: dark, opaque and murky. But it’s a lighter, more carbonated stout, so there’s a thick brownish head to it, as well as nice lacing.
The smell is muted, but what’s definitely noticeable is the dark, roasted coffee with a slight hint of cocoa. The licorice comes through very slightly, as does a sort of vanilla-y scent, and it kind of ends with a slight burnt coffee taste coated in chocolate.
The carbonation and hops combine on the first sip to bite the front of the tongue. Mid palate, the thick, rich, roasted flavors of the coffee and chicory and the dark chocolate flavors coat your entire mouth. Those flavors stick around as you swallow, but there’s a more pronounced oatmeal and vanilla on the back. The carbonation also washes over as you drink it, kind of making it feel like Scrubbing Bubbles are taking care of your mouth. (Lovely image, right?)
At 5.2% ABV, it’s extremely light and drinkable for a stout, and would probably be a great gateway stout for people who haven’t come over to the dark side yet. I like stouts to be thick, almost like drinking motor oil – not that I’ve done that or anything – but the carbonation isn’t off-putting. The flavors and tastes seem to grow stronger and better the more you drink it. Not the best DFH beer I’ve had, but certainly not the worst.