Hybrid Brown Ale
Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, Delaware
Dogfish Head was Delaware’s first brewpub. Like their name, DFH is a zany joint full of quirky quaffers who enjoy dabbling in unusual brew recipes. Starting out small (brewing 12-gallon batches of beer), they were able to experiment with a variety of recipes and weird ingredients on their way to honing their craft.
Dogfish Head has expanded several times through the late 1990s gaining a reputation for excellent food and great music to pair with their unique brews. It’s also a plus that philanthropy plays a large part in the DFH philosophy, as they’re strong supporters of causes furthering the community and cultivating arts. International beer guru Michael Jackson called DFH America’s most interesting and adventurous brewery.
One awesome perk of working at Dogfish Head is that brewers get to take home cases of beer. The most popular choice is Indian Brown Ale and I can see why.
DFH calls this beer a hybrid, combining the best attributes of Scotch, American Brown, and India Pale Ales. While similar to other India Dark Ales, dry hopping and a delicate balance set this beer apart.
Indian Brown Ale Sports a Head Dress
Indian Brown pours with a thick foam that billows about the rim. You’ll need to restrain the pour to keep it in check. The color is a rich brown with burgundy around the edges.
The aroma of Indian Brown leads with bitter coffee and lingers with roasted hoppyness. Taking a swig, I’m met with a sophisticated balance of my favorite ales, each maintaining its unique personality. Malts, chocolate, and molasses are evident from the Scotch ale, while the dry hopping adds a floral and piney finish.
The caramelized sugar presents a smooth and creamy mouth-feel quickly inviting a return visit to the glass. It has a medium to heavy body which leaves a lingering coat of flavor on the tongue. Some alcohol is present, but it’s masked behind an array of flavors. As I drink, the head dissipates slowly leaving a fingerprint of thick lacing.
Indian Brown is a another successful recipe in the arsenal of the innovative and wacky brewers at Dogfish Head and well worth adding to your list of go to beers.