Monday, August 17, 2009

A Unique Beer and History Lesson: Dogfish Head's Theobroma

Well, I've been waiting for this. Ever since seeing it featured on an educational tv special about beer, I have been waiting. For like, months. I had to go to a few places to find it, and felt immense satisfaction at buying it. I held onto it for a few weeks, but this past weekend it was time to try it.

First: the history. "Theobroma" = "food of the gods"
The creative and unique Dogfish Head Brewery created this beer after analyzing traces of chemicals on Aztec pottery dated to 1200 BC. Who knows how close it is to the actual old school beverages of our ancient Aztecian friends, but it is inspired by this, using Aztec cocoa, honey, chile, and annatto ("fragrant tree seeds.")
It is available only in a 750 ml bottle. I poured it into a wine glass, not sure what the closest thing I have is to 1200 BC pottery.

Appearance: A pretty peach color. Tiny bubbles of white head did not last at all, and it left no lacing. It was slightly hazy; almost like an orange-ish colored apple juice.

Smell: I have a cold, but even without this, I do not think the smell is strong. The first smell was chile, which I got upon opening the bottle. Mild and sweet. Perhaps faint cocoa.

Taste: Interesting. Very interesting. Started out sweet, but the spices (chile and "annatto" I suppose) came out. To me there was cinnamon. Maltiness; an overall sweetness but I'm not sure if I would have pinpointed this to honey and cocoa without reading the bottle first. The spice of the chile is not overbearing but present; I can feel it in my stomach. As it warmed, the spices became more dominant.

Overall, this was decent. A very unique beverage, made more interesting because of the historical inspiration behind it. Truly "off-centered" as Dogfish Head's motto proclaims. Very flavorful, but not overpowering since it has both spice and sweetness. One glass took me a good hour and a half to sip on and is plenty with 9%ABV.

The next night I enjoyed another glass with a most delicious mustard-glazed cranberry-topped salmon with goat cheese and spinach-risotto (Holla!) It was all delicious, but a million different strong flavors happening. I will not be going out of my way to try Theobroma again, but I'm very glad I got the chance to try it. I did enjoy it, but it's not for everybody.