12 December 2008

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Dogfish Head is one of the best breweries in the U.S., and is especially expert at complex, flavorful, high-alcohol beers. Their 60-minute IPA is a perfect citizen of the genre; their 90-minute IPA is a tasty treat that'll knock you on yer ass if you're not careful; and the Raison D'Etre is one of the more innovative brown ales of recent years.

Their Palo Santo Marron is a new entrant, an unfiltered brown ale aged in Palo Santo wooden barrels. The nose starts with a hint of banana, and the very full-bodied beer delivers, as promised, caramel and vanilla, finishing with a nice dark roast. The 12% ABV does not come through particularly strongly, and overall it's a solid beer.

Solid, but not spectacular. The word is that last year's batch was far preferable, more complex and balanced - this year's is a solid, tasty big brown ale but at ~$4/bottle retail, other cheaper or similarly-priced beers (including and especially Dogfish Head's own) deliver at a higher level. Maybe next year!

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