Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Suds: Dogfish Head "Namaste"

There's a whole lotta mashing up going on around the craft beer globe these days. Brewers are teaming up in twos, threes and tens to ply their trade, flex their creative muscle, share techniques and no doubt learn a few things along the way. Sometimes its happening right around the corner, sometimes its bringing together brewers from oceans away.

One of the most active progenitors of this collaborative craze has to be Sam Calagione, founder, owner and head brew cheese at Delaware's Dogfish Head.

Now in its second year as a summer seasonal, Dogfish Head's "Namaste" was originally conceived in 2009 via a four-way, intercontinental team-up between Sam and his wife Mariah, Dogfish Head lead brewer Bryan Selders, and Leonardo DiVincenzo, owner of the central Italian craft brewery Birra del Borgo. There was an aspect of charitable giving in the mix, too. Part of the proceeds for the first-year sales of "Namaste" were donated to Armand Debelder of Drie Fonteinen, who lost about a third of a year's production of his lambics and gueuzes due to a thermostat malfunction in the storage area at 3 Fonteinen. In that first year, "Namaste" was available only on draft and only at the Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE. This year, Sam, Mariah and Bryan brewed a bit more, enough to to pour on draft as well as to allow for a limited bottling in crown-sealed 750s.

"Namaste" is brewed in the tradition of Belgian white ales. Given the wheat, coriander and citrus elements in the mix, Hoegaarden would seem the most obvious point of comparison; "Namaste," however, is a touch rounder and broader in texture and also a tad darker in both its color and flavor profiles. Whether that's the result of the use of entire slices (dried) of orange rather than just the zest or whether it's just the Dogfish Head signature showing through I can't say. What I can say is that the brew is refreshing and very easy going down, a bit short on the finish but very tasty up front. At only 5% ABV, it's also quite light by the standards at Dogfish Head, a brewery best known for its over-the-top, hop monster and ancient recipe inspired creations. You can read more about it at the Dogfish website as well as on Sam's blog.

If the info on the DFH site is correct, "Namaste" may not be available outside of the state of Delaware. I enjoyed this bottle, shared over dinner with friends, at Wilmington's Domaine Hudson. Whether there's any still available there I don't know but, if not, there's plenty of other great stuff to choose from on the restaurant and wine bar's recently expanded and quite adventurous list of 120+ bottled beers.

Oh yeah, as for the title of today's post, I know it's not Sunday but, in homage to the crazy cats at Dogfish Head, so what? I drank this on Saturday and wrote about it on Monday, so Sunday it is. After all, it's my blog and I'll do what I want.


Anonymous said...

I've seen it in a variety of places in NJ so get it while it's hot. Now that you've given it the numbs up I'll have to grab a bottle. The low alcohol content (for DFH) made me somewhat reluctant but they never make a sub par beer no matter what the abv.

David McDuff said...

Hey Anon,
Thanks for the heads-up as to availability in NJ, and thanks for the vote of confidence. Hope you enjoy it.

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