Getting to the root of Dogfish Head’s Exotic Brews
I realize the title is a bit harsh, but seriously, do you really know what some of these exotic ingredients we find in Dogfish Head’s off centered brews are? Most Dogfish Headophiles simply say, “Whatever it it is, I like it.” I consider myself a foodie but sometimes I find myself looking up a few ingredients on Wikipedia. So lets take a few of DFH’s exotic brews and define some not so common ingredients and jump inside the brewer’s head and guess what purpose they had for using these not so mainstream ingredients.
Gesho Root is a bittering plant used in the Imperial Stout known as Bitches Brew, the first music inspired beer that commemorates the famous jazz album from the Hall of Fame artist Miles Davis. Gesho, as it is referred to as in Ethiopia, is a small shrub or tree that produces shiny berry like fruits. The stems are used the same way hops would be used to flavor a mead like drink called tej. I am not sure if Sam added his own honey beer and tossed in the gesho himself or whether he added a previously prepared gehso infused tej. I vote for the former.
The second of the Ancient Ales, Chateau Jiahu, as you probably know, was inspired from preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic village of Jiahu. Hawthorn fruit, sake rice, barley and honey make this 9000 year old Asian inspired brew. So like I said before, “What the hell is hawthorn fruit?”
Believe it or not, I actually have a small amount of ground cardamom in my spice drawer. Cardamom can be found in East Indian, Scandinavian, Arabic and Central African cuisines. You probably have already tried it in curries, chai tea and Arabic coffee. Cardamom is a pretty pungent and aromatic spice. It is best to purchase the spice in the pod form and ground your own.
Noble Rot is the name of the off-centered saison that also uses malted red winter wheat which comes from Sam Calagione’s home state, Massachusetts.
Annatto, chiles, honey and cocoa infuse this ancient Honduras inspired beverage called Theobroma which translates into “Food of the Gods.”