Beer: Dogfish Head: Olde School(2014) Bought at Beverage Depot 16601 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY 11358. $21.99 for a 4 pack.
I was thrilled to find some 4 packs of Olde School at my local beer store. I usually trek to Astoria or Manhattan for my craft beers. This little store is pretty cool. They recently installed a growler station which will most likely lead to my crushing debt. Some quick drawbacks; the place is tiny and they don't allow you to create your own 6-packs. The size is a new issue; they had to split their shop in half because the landlord is putting a god damn Dunkin Donuts next store. I suppose the craft beer movement hasn't made that many strides in this part of Queens. The bottling issue? I honestly have no idea why that’s their policy. Perhaps its all connected to the dwindling business. The guys that work there are pretty chill too. They are usually behind the counter talking up beer and leave you free to browse but make themselves available if you have any questions.
I went in looking for two beers of the same style in order to do a side by side comparison and then write about it. I instead left with a 4 pack of barley wine. I call it a successful trip. Few people I know drink beer the way that I do, plus I am selfish so I didn't share it. I've been curious about aging beer for quite some time now. I drink beer, I visit breweries, I make my own beer, I write about beer; so aging seemed like the next logical step. After quick question to /R/Beer, I was ready to begin. Turns out aging isn't that complicated. The key is patience. Currently the remaining 3 bottles are safely tucked away in a black bag which itself is tucked deep in the back of a closet. I vow to resist all temptation and only drink the second bottle in November 2015.
Now, let’s get to brass tacks and discuss this beer. First things first you will notice the color. It’s a hazy orange brown that is close to honey with a thin creamy white head. The color may trick some inexperienced drinker. It looks not unlike a saison but it couldn't be any further from that.
The smell. Smell and taste are connected and just like a fine wine it is best to sniff the beer before actually drinking. Immediately you will get whiffs of grainy alcohol which is colorfully regarded as “boozy”. On the back end you will detect faint levels of dark fruits. In this case I must assume they are dates and figs because that's what the label states.
Mouthfeel is the way the beer feels in your mouth(duh). Olde School has a very low carbonation. It is almost still. There is a gently fizz but it plays more like background noise. The body starts out thin, the alcohol is the likely culprit but as you let it sit on your tongue and the back of your mouth you will notice its creaminess.
Finally, taste, the final decider. This beer tastes a bit more like bourbon than beer. I’m no rookie, I've had strong beers before. Dogfish 120 and Stone’s Old Guardian were not as boozy as Olde School. Those beers had an immediate sweetness that helped counter the alcohol burn. The booze hits you hard upfront and it lingers for a good long while. With that said, there is a certain level of sweetness. You do get a bit of that caramel maltiness but it fades rather quickly.
In the end, I did enjoy it. A 12 ounce bottle is best split between at 2 or more people. If you do venture to drink it alone, drink it slowly. This beer would be great on a cold winter night filled with deep contemplation. I’m excited to try bottle number 2 next year. I hear that the flavors shift and whatever was front and center will be the new subtle aspect. This means I should expect a rather sweet beer with strong dark fruit accents with nice mellow burn. I’m very excited for future Michael!
Like NYC and Dogfish Head? Like Dogfish Head and can tolerate NYC? Either way, maybe you’ll want to check out this event. Here’s the quick summary from the link itself
“For the first time, Eataly’s La Birreria is hosting Dogfish Head’s annual vinyl swap and rare beer fest: Analog-A-Go-Go. For the whole day ten selected vendors will be taking over our rooftop restaurant to sell their artistic and artisanal creations. We will feature 4 exciting cask ale beers, including a Panna Cotta Porter Ale brewed by Dogfish Head based on Mario Batali’s Panna Cotta recipe. Come join us for a day of shopping, drinking and eating, complete with live music. ** The ticket price includes entrance to the festival, an Eataly tote bag, one Dogfish Head beer glass and the tasting of the four featured beers, including the brand new DFH Panna Cotta!**”
Tickets are going fast since its only $25 but you are welcome to take your chances.