Friday, November 7, 2014

Wine + ale + fungus = something surprisingly good.

Last week I posted the Botrytis (Noble Rot) Wine Cheat Sheet, about the fungus that impacts many of the world's great dessert wines. This week I'm drinking a beer that's infused with grape must from "nobly rotten" grapes.

Dogfish Head, a brewery known for unique and historical beers, has created this unusual ale. It's a saison (a light, fruity, refreshing style of ale), brewed with the juice from Viognier grapes which were infected with botrytis. According to the Dogfish Head website:  "This is the absolute closest to equal meshing of the wine world and the beer world that's ever been done commercially." And sure enough, the result tastes like equal parts of white wine and ale.

Nose:  Peach, floral, citrus, apple, and honey.
Palate:  Dry, with a refreshing citrus quality.  9% abv

The peach and floral aromas are typical of wine made from Viognier grapes, and the honey is typical of botrytis-affected wines. The biggest surprise of Noble Rot is that it isn't sweet, since botrytis is usually only involved in making dessert wines. The second biggest surprise is that this ale is light and refreshing. While still flavorful and complex, it isn't the rich, heavy, or sweet beer that I expected.  Great stuff.






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Ancient wine, ancient beer, and how you can try some today!
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