Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Now on Tap: Raison D'Etre

Raison D'Etre

Brewer: Dogfish Head, Milton, Delaware, United States

Style: "A deep mahogany ale"

ABV: 8.0%

A few years back, Esquire magazine named this the best beer in America. It's certainly one of the more ambitious, as this beer is brewed with Belgian sugar beets and green raisins, a selection of ingredients that should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Dogfish Head's methods.

Raison D'Etre starts of sweet, with the flavor of brown sugar the initial note. There is a malty feel to most of the drink, with the taste of raisins coming on towards the end. All of this expected and altogether tasty, but the closing - a wash of dryness that you'd associate more with a wine than a beer - might be off-putting to taste buds not accustomed to their beers sticking around longer than usual. This is a beer for port drinkers.

I really wanted to love this beer. Other Dogfish brews are among my favored drinks, and the unusual selection of ingredients had piqued my interest. I'm not sure what I expected Raison D'Etre to taste like. Maybe I was expecting something a lot sweeter than what I got. And while I can't withhold points because it didn't meet my unstated (and unsolicited) expectations, it's not a beer that I will frequent. Even so, it's worth trying, if only for the appreciation of the craft.

Rating: 6.5

Recommended with: Since I expected something sweet here, I would suggest that this drink be enjoyed with what it's missing: how about some green grapes and almonds, or going the other way, some black olive tapenade on French bread toast?


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