Written By: Bill Rightnour
Dogfish Head. The name itself is catchy and unforgettable. Much like its name, its mark on the craft beer world is most certainly unforgettable as well. Dogfish Head has become synonymous with creativity. Many craft breweries attempt innovative brew recipes, achieving varying levels of success, but none compare to the daring adventures the folks at Dogfish Head Brewing take you on. They challenge your taste buds to work through the complex chemistry of each brew with combinations of ingredients only a mad scientist could dream up.
This maverick approach to brewing even landed the Milton, Delaware based brewery its own television series on the Discover Channel called Brewmasters. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after only six episodes due to the lack of a viewing audience – shame on us.
This past weekend as I strolled through the aisles of various craft beers, I came across Dogfish Head’s Theobroma. I was immediately drawn to this brew for two reasons: first, it was a Dogfish creation and second because I have never seen or heard of this particular beer before. As I looked over the 22oz. bottle and the ingredient list provided (honey, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, ancho chiles, and ground annatto) I knew this sexy bitch was coming home with me.
Given the ingredient list and experience with beers of similar makeup, I was expecting a dark pour from this beer. My mind was blown when I tipped the bottle and a coppery rush of suds filled my glass instead. This is supposed to be a chocolaty beer, right? After taking a moment to shake off my amazement of its appearance, I put my nose to the glass. Once again, I was thrown into a state of shock as the aroma hit me with sour notes. I was immediately reminded of another Dogfish beer: the Festina Peche. The Peche is a summer seasonal Weisse beer with peach as a defining ingredient. So how in the world is this chocolate inspired beer even in the same aromatic ballpark? At that point, I knew I was in for an interesting experience. A Dogfish Head experience.
As I began to drink the deceiving brew, chocolate was not what I tasted (shocking I know). Instead, the honey and ancho chiles came strutting out on the dance floor as the primary flavors. My world was turned upside down. I was in the Twilight Zone. My now dazed and confused palate began to adjust to what was happening. And, even though this was the exact opposite of what I was expecting, I found myself enjoying the Theobroma. What’s better is that as the brew warmed, the cocoa nibs and cocoa powder finally presented themselves. Not in an obvious way, but as a subtle afterthought.
The folks at Dogfish Head have once again taken creativity and pushed it to the limit with Theobroma. In the end, I enjoyed the experience of this beer more than the beer itself. When I purchase a chocolate inspired beer, I expect chocolate to be a primary player. Theobroma did not accomplish this and, in that respect, was disappointing. However, this odd beer took me on a fun and quirky adventure that I’m happy to have gone on.
Follow The Smokey Pint on Twitter @thesmokeypint and on Facebook!