Spiced beer Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton, DE 8% ABV
This archaeological recreation based on ingredients found in a Neolithic Chinese pottery vessel incorporates flaked rice, honey, muscat grapes, and chrysanthemum flowers, along with the traditional malted barley, and is fermented with a sake yeast. The result can only loosely be termed beer, since it has definite characteristics of white wine, mead, and sake. The aroma of macerated tropical fruits like papaya and pineapple dominate over a honey sweetness and an earthy, funky yeastiness. The taste is fruity, but not overly sweet: crisp and full, like a bite of juicy apple, followed by melon, pear, and muscadine grapes. The tangy yeast and spicy, floral additions provide a counterpoint to the sweetness on the back of the tongue. The rustic, unrefined finish might put off a snooty wine drinker, but this is a great selection for a holiday meal, even for non-beer drinkers.