Category Archives: Novelty Beers

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze Ancient Ale Review

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze

Last month, I told you Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s new Ancient Ale, Birra Etrusca Bronze, would be hitting beer-store shelves in December. Today, I got my hands on a bottle of Birra Etrusca, the sixth widely distributed beer in Dogfish’s Ancient Ales series. (Dogfish also made two more Ancient Ales, T’ej and Chicha, but they were released in limited quantities.)

The idea behind Dogfish’s Ancient Ales is to recreate lost styles of beer from ancient times, using recipes and ingredients that are as close as possible to those originally used by their brewers. (For some Ancient-Ale-related humor, check out this cartoon that pokes fun at Dogfish.)

Here are some details about Birra Etrusca, from Dogfish Head:

“To develop the recipe for Birra Etrusca Bronze, Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione traveled to Rome with molecular archaeologist Dr. Pat McGovern. With the help of Birreria Brother Brewers Leo DeVencenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Baladin, they analyzed drinking vessels found in 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs.”

And here’s my review:

First of all, Dogfish’s Ancient Ales probably aren’t for novice beer drinkers. They’re challenging in a number of ways, and most don’t really taste like beer, at least not what most average drinkers expect beer to taste like.

I poured my 1-pint, 9.4-fl.-oz. bottle slowly into a Dogfish Head Signature Glass, and it formed a small-to-medium size head that dissipated quickly. Carbonation is very fine. The beer is aromatic with notable honey, leather and yeast scents. It’s a nice light, brownish-tan color, and it’s very clear and thin looking when held up to a light.

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze Color

Birra Etrusca is made with two-row malted barley, heirloom Italian wheat, hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey, raisins, whole-flower hops, gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin, according to the brewer.

The three kinds of honey make this beer taste sweet with notable honey flavors that blend nicely with malty, funky flavors. The brew has an ABV of 8.5%, and the high-ish alcohol content provides a nice warming effect to the mildly bitter aftertaste, which is a result of the hops, gentian root and myrrh resin. Dogfish Birra Estrusca Bronze is definitely a unique, interesting brew, but I’m not sure I’ll ever pick up another bottle again. Like all the other Ancient Ales, it’s more unique than it is very tasty.

My bottle of Birra Etrusca Bronze cost $14.99, which isn’t cheap, but about what I expected, based on the price of other Dogfish specialty beers. It’s also probably not a beer you’ll drink very often, so its $15 tag doesn’t seem too pricey for a special-occasion brew.

Birra Etrusca Bronze is so new it doesn’t even have a rating yet. But I give it a 6.5 out 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale.

Learn more about Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze on the brewer’s website.


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Another Ridiculous Beer from Rogue: Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale

Rogue Ales has officially jumped the shark with it latest absurd beer, Rogue Voodoo Donut Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale, which was announced today, not even a month after its last gimmicky beer, Rogue White What Ale, which is made with torn up page of Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick.

From Rogue:

“Rogue Ales has again collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen ingredients including chocolate, banana and peanut butter to match Voodoo’s ‘Memphis Mafia’ doughnut- a nod to Elvis’ entourage.”

The ingredient list is as follows: 2-Row, C-150, C-175, Carafoam Special II & Chocolate Malts; Rogue Farms Revolution & Independent Hops; Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana; Pacman Yeast and Free Range Coastal Water.

This new Rogue ale is the brewery’s second collaboration ale with Oregon’s Voodoo Doughnuts; the first was the infamous Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale. Rogue Voodoo Donut Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale comes in 22-ounce “bomber” bottles, and it’s available online for $13 a bottle, not counting shipping and handling.  (Rogue does not mail beer to Utah, Massachusetts, Texas or North Dakota due to local laws that restrict the import of alcohol.) It will also presumably hit liquor-store shelves near you in the not too distant future.

I’m a fan of Rogue’s beers, but I kind of wish it would stop releasing odd ales for the sake of releasing odd ales. I’ve never tasted the original Rogue/Voodoo doughnut beer, because it was brewed with real bacon, and I do not dig on swine. But I don’t know anybody who claims to have really enjoyed it, after the initial novelty of drinking a bacon-donut flavored beer wore thin. I’m guessing it will be more of the same with Rogue’s Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale. But to each his own, I guess.


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