Got Beer? Palate-Pleasers for Every Weather

I guess anything goes in this new topsy-turvy world where a press secretary for the president can hide in the bushes and not be fired so fast his $5,000 wingtips fly off. And apparently, in that same topsy-turvy world there is a beer made with kiwi and hibiscus and it’s produced by, of course, Dogfish Head.

The Dogfish Head Kiwi Equinox is an odd bird. It pours a nicely golden color, but with a slight red tint to it. I distinctly remember kiwis being green, unless we are talking about the bird, in which case DFH has truly broken style guidelines and probably international law. The aroma is clearly a crisp, citrusy one, with the hibiscus distinctively sticking its head out.

The first sip is sweet and fruity, with just a little tartness. That’s fortunate for me. I don’t have the palate for sours, so too much tart is the fastest way to get me to do a fish imitation. Overall, this one was actually quite good. Normally I don’t brave the DFH experiments, see my above comment about sours, but this one has a certain charm to it. It would be fantastic on a hot day, perhaps with some sherbet or gelato or another kind of pretentious ice cream. It’s like a nice tropical vacation when you’ve seen nothing but rain for two straight months. What is this, Old England?

Well, we can’t stay on a tropical vacation for long. After all, at some point you realize tropical paradise is really a muggy, mosquito-controlled, hellscape full of time-share salesmen. So it’s good to get back to basics with some home-grown Newport Storm.

The Coastal Extremists somehow slipped out a coffee beer and I almost missed it! Newport Storm High Test is just what the doctor ordered, provided your doctor drinks the same kind of beer that I do.

To call this beer rich is like saying the ocean is a touch salty. It’s not heavy as such, but the flavors are big, bold and unapologetic, and I like it that way. The aroma itself is rich with a certain sweetness to ease you in. Then, BANG! You take a sip, and the roasty chocolate flavor hits you in all the right ways. There’s almost a tobacco-like savory nature to it, but in a high-class epicurean way, not a three-day-old spittoon in the sun kind of way, or a six-pack-a-day for 10 years in the same house kind of way. No, this flavor is more like a fine cigar soaked in cognac. Mix that with a deep espresso and some dark chocolate, and what you have is just the thing for a cold, rainy New England day.

It also helps that High Test is high octane — over 8% ABV — but with zero hot flavors, that’s easy to forget. So drink this one slowly, mostly to savor it, but also because it is no brew to be taken lightly.

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