Dogfish Head's newest Ancient Ale: Etruscan Beer

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Alidar Jarok, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Dogfish Head, which has previously made Phrygian Beer (King Midas's Tomb), 9000 year-old Chinese Beer, 3200 year-old Honduran Beer, and Ancient Egyptian Beer have unveiled their newest ancient beer: Etruscan Beer.

    It's called Birra Etrusca

    What's more, Dogfish Head is teaming up with two Italian brewers, so there will be three versions: Bronze (Dogfish Head), Wood (Baladin), and Terra Cotta (Birra del Borgo) based on the vessel it's brewed in. Here's a video: Link. It's oddly half in English, half in Italian, so sorry about that.

    Anyway, I'm excited about this. I'm a big fan of these ancient beers. Midas Touch, especially, is a great beer. While there's some creative license in choosing the exact ingredients, they do take pains to find out what many of the ingredients actually were. And it helps connect everyone with the past. After all, beer drinking is something we both have in common (and we have beer to thank for the creation of civilization).
     
  2. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Wow. I'm not a huge beer fan, but I am a huge History fan and the idea of drinking something identical to ancient people fascinates me. And it looks like there's a couple of places nearby that sell the stuff. Cool. :mallory:
     
  3. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Yes, I must say the process appeals to me. :) The historical research involved, the idea of reproducing the experience of those who lived in those times, the desire to use authentic ingredients - it seems a rewarding project.
     
  4. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Are they still making episodes of Brewmasters? That was a fun show.
     
  5. 6079SmithW

    6079SmithW Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you for making this thread, Alidar Jarok. It inspired me to go and buy some beer from this company and I'm very pleased. I got Midas Touch and Palo Santo Marron. I love the Palo Santo as it has a very rich caramel taste and a creamy texture. Midas Touch tastes more like wine but it has a beer aftertaste. Interesting stuff.
     
  6. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I went down to the closest place and all they had in stock was Midas Touch (in four-packs). It tasted like beer. :rommie: I'll have to make the rounds of some other nearby places when I get a chance to see if I can track down the other varieties.
     
  7. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Unfortunately for me, I don't think Dogfish Head distribute over on my side of the Atlantic anymore. If they did, I'd pop out and give some of their variants a try. :)
     
  8. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Sadly, no. According to Discovery channel, it was only supposed to last a couple of episodes. According to Anthony Bourdain (travel channel guy who travels around the world eating), it got cancelled because the big beer companies said they would pull their sponsorship otherwise.

    Good choices, both are among my favorites.

    Yeah, unfortunately, they don't even have enough production to cover the entire United States. They would definitely do much to improve the reputation of American beer internationally, but they're still too small scale to actually pull it off. I'm sort of in the opposite boat, since I'm curious to try all three variants of this Etruscan beer and two of them are in Italy.
     
  9. SmoothieX

    SmoothieX Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is a really cool concept to research and recreate old time beers.

    My only issue with Dogfish Head beers though is they tend to be wayyyy too hoppy for my tastes.
     
  10. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's a shame as it was one of the only shows about beer and went in-depth about the process. It was on the Science channel here for awhile.
     
  11. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Well, that's one nice thing about the Ancient Ales. Hops hadn't yet been added to beers. They only add the minimum amount so they can legally call it beer.
     
  12. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Don't be sorry. ;) (Also, I loved how they explained the term piciu/picio, from my beloved Piedmont :lol:).

    Also, unknown to most, there is a small but strong beermaking tradition in Italy, but it usually gets buried under the huge (and excellent) production of wine. I'm not particularly fond of mass distribution beers (for example, Peroni and Nastro Azzurro) but there are a few local beers that are very good, like Birra Menabrea (again from Piedmont), and Ichnusa from Sardinia.

    Anyway, it's a very interesting endeavour. I'd love to try some of those "ancient beers": I haven't seen them in Italy, but I'm going to have a look for them.
     
  13. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I was only familiar with the mass-produced beers in Italy that would make it to this country, which are fairly disappointing. It's good to hear that there are good smaller brews (much like here). If you see the Etruscan Ale, let me know what you think of it.
     
  14. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Well, I finally got a chance to try it, so I thought it would be worth a bump:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My verdict? I like it. It's a very sweet beer with very little bitterness. There's definitely strong fruit tastes, but it still tastes like a beer. It's an ale, but there's not many hops and almost no bitterness (the bitterness mostly comes from Myrrh and gentian root). Overall, I found it very enjoyable. Obviously, Dogfish Head isn't available nationwide (and no longer internationally), but it's worth it if you can get your hands on it. Plus, it's a neat way to essentially taste history.

    For those living in Italy, the alternate versions (Terracotta and Wood) can let you try it as well. If anyone wants to trade, I'd definitely be interested :)
     
  15. 6079SmithW

    6079SmithW Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I had it and thought it smelled and tasted like the incense used in a church. It was good but I wouldn't drink it again. By the way this thread started me down the tasty and expensive road of craft beer.
     
  16. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Definitely expensive :D

    The problem with Dogfish Head large bottles is that, even if they're good, they're usually not good enough to justify the extra price. But, as far as ancient ales go, it's not as good as Midas Touch, but it's still quite good. I'll try the ancient Chinese one next and compare that as well.
     
  17. 6079SmithW

    6079SmithW Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The ancient Chinese one (Chateau Jiahu) is my favorite ancient ale. If you let it warm up a bit the flavors really come out. I'd say Midas Touch comes in second for me. Ta Henket (ancient Egyptian) was one of the worst things I've ever tasted. First time that I drain poured a beer. Theobroma (ancient Honduran) was decent and had an interesting chocolate/chili pepper taste but not really my thing. My favorite DFH are Palo Santo Marron and 90 Minute IPA.
     
  18. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I can't remember when historians think people started using hops, but I'm under the impression that it was long after the Etruscans.

    If the beer has notes of church incense, I wonder if it has any frankensence (sp?) in it? I ran across a recent story that the tree it comes from is under threat from changes in North African agricultural practices, with a note that the tree can also be raised in the American Southwest.
     
  19. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    There's essentially no hops in the beer. They literally include just enough to be legally called beer. Hops were first added in the Middle Ages in Germany, so, you're right, there would be no hops in the recipe. It's not at all a bitter beer, pretty much for that reason. They use the myrrh and gentian root for whatever bitterness there is.

    But I posted the ingredients above. No frankincense, but definitely myrrh.