Tuesday, January 12, 2010

196. Dogfish Head Theobroma

Yep. Another beer from Dogfish Head. This makes our sixth: we’ve had 120 Minute IPA, Festina Peche, Squall IPA, Burton Baton Oak Aged Imperial IPA, and Sah’tea. So, backstory. In graduate school at SUNY Buffalo, I had to read the Popol Vuh for one of Dennis Tedlock’s classes. And yes, Adam, you still better have your copy of that sitting on the bookshelf. So while we’re reading it, Tedlock tells us a story one day in class in his monotone voice that’s a half-register above the air-conditioner about how the Maya used to drink this alcoholic hallucinogenic chocolate beer out of a calabash, which represented the skull of their slain opponents. Damn. Hardcore. My first thought upon hearing this story: I need to get me some of that. Fast forward to the present, and I read about Dogfish Head’s Theobroma. While I did have momentary pangs about the lack of hallucinogens, the flashback to my dreams from grad school made it all worthwhile.

Theobroma has a candied fruit sweet nose; it is a very clear tan with a strong red undertone and has a light white head. In terms of flavor, Theobroma starts with low levels of dry malt before moving into some light fruitiness (mostly cherry-like) and some alkaline cocoa flavors, ending with a return of the sweetness that lingers too long on the palate. It is soft and dry in the mouth, and, somewhat paradoxically, has some cloying stickiness in the mouthfeel. There is medium carbonation, but very little bite to it, and the heat that does appear in the back of the throat from the ancho chilies is very much in the background and takes some time to accumulate. This bottle was sort of a letdown—last time we had this (on tap at the Trolley Stop) it was much spicier and had more of a chocolate flavor in the body with a lot less fruitiness. We’re not sure what happened between that last batch and this, but we liked the previous one much better.

From the bottle: “Theobroma, or ‘Food of the Gods,’ is a re-creation of the premier chocolate beverage of the Americas, intended only for the gods, kings, and the elite. This liquid time capsule is based is based on the earliest chemical and archeological evidence of cacao in the New World, dating to before 1100 B.C., and enhanced by natural additives of the later Mayan and Aztec drinks.”

Stolen from the New Yorker

From the Dogfish Head website: “This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into ‘food of the gods’) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). It’s light in color - not what you expect with your typical chocolate beer. Not that you’d be surpised that we’d do something unexpected with this beer! This beer is part of our Ancient Ales series - along with Midas Touch, Chateau Jiahu, and other - step back in time and enjoy some Theobroma.”

ABV: 9%


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