Sunday, November 4, 2012

Faithfull Ale

I just need to say ... once upon a time, I could lose myself ... thoughts arrive like butterflies ... take a good look ... the pictures have all been washed in black ... yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ... release me.

Okay, that's enough.  I tried to write a review about the Faithfull Ale -- Dogfish Head's tribute to the twentieth anniversary of Pearl Jam's debut album Ten -- using lyrics from the songs on that album.  Seriously, I did.  I pulled the lyrics from every song and tried to cobble together a review. What I failed to appreciate, however, is that using the lyrics of songs like Once, Even Flow, Alive, Jeremy and Black led to the post reading more like code rather than a beer review.  And, rather than having you decipher what I am trying to say, I decided to return to the original format.

I can still remember listing to the Ten album for the first time back in 1992.  The guitar and bass in Even Flow are unforgettable, the lyrics of Jeremy and Alive are haunting, and Black is just ... well, just plain black.  This album played an important role in a personal, musical migration.  In high school, I listened to an odd mix of rap and crap.  However, in college, I heard Pearl Jam's Ten and it really captured my attention.  I began listening to other "grunge" bands, and, the migration continued.  Not to long thereafter, I began listening to punk music.  That led to ska and reggae, which, in turn, led to a renewal of my interest in jazz and blues.  I do not give all of the credit to Ten, but, I cannot deny its role in my musical transformation.

With the Faithfull Ale, Dogfish Head seeks to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Ten album.  The brewers chose the Belgian Golden Ale style for this beer, but, the homage is truly displayed in the brewing process.  During that process, the brewers added 10 increments of black currants.  Those little berries, which are native to central and northern Europe, bring with them a strong aroma and flavor.

The Faithfull Ale pours a yellowish color, reminiscent of an abbey ale or a pale ale.  The beer is well carbonated, leaving a persistent foam that remains for quite a while.  The currants dominate both the aroma and flavor of the beer.  Beginning with the aroma, there is definitely a fruit character, reminiscent of raspberries or blackberries.  There is also some floral notes, provided by the hops, as well as some biscuit or bread, provided by the malts.  The berries carry through to the taste, although they are joined by the currants.  The flavors are light, matching the body of this beer, with a little sweetness that caught me off guard.  

My beautiful wife bought this beer for me, so I cannot give any notes about where to find it or how much it costs. I am not sure that Dogfish Head is still producing this beer, although it should be.  Until next time ...


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