Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Valley Table is the Hudson Valley's premier magazine for Hudson Valley farms, food and cuisine. The March-May 2008 issue lists Weihenstephaner's Hefeweissbier Dunkel, Flying Dog Brewery's "Wild Dog" Collaborator Doppelbock and Dogfish Head's "Olde School" Bottle-conditioned barley wine-style ale as their seasonal beer picks. I called Chef Marcus Guiliano at Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY and asked him if he had any of the beers since Aroma Thyme has one of the most expansive beer lists in the area. He just happened to have all three on his list and invited me over to try the Dogfish Head "Olde School". Dogfish only produces five beers year round (one of which is available only in the Mid-Atlantic), but produces 18 more seasonal and limited releases. The Deleware brewery has recieved much acclaim over the years for their brews and have been praised for their innovation. "Olde School" is one of those limited releases and was launched in November 2007. The beer pours a dark orange copper with a very thin head. The beer is fermented with dates and figs, and the nose gives off a smooth, fruity smell with a lot of malt. The first sip hits the palate strongly and you can taste a wide range of flavors. This pattern continues into the mid palate before tailing off slightly into a very nice finish. The beer has a whopping 15% ABV but hides it nicely. The beer is very good now but will only get better with time as the flavors have a chance to balance out. I strongly suggest buying a four pack of this beer, tasting one now, and laying the other three down for a while. This rich, complex beer will only get better with time, as the flavors have time to smooth out.

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