Tag Archives: beer review

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 BeerAdvocate.com 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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Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout Review

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting San Diego I hit a few bars that had Ballast Point Brewing Co.‘s new Indra Kunindra India-style export stout on tap. (If you’re curious those bars were Downtown Johnny Brown’s and Neighborhood.)

I’m a big fan of San Diego’s Ballast Point—the brewery’s Sculpin IPA is fantastic—but after reading a description of Indra Kunindra, I decided to go with something else. The selection of great beer at these bars is impressive, and the fact that Indra Kunindra is made with both curry spice and cumin, neither of which I really like, was a major turnoff. It kind of just sounded too…weird.

But when I returned to Boston, I found a 22-ounce bottle, and I decided to give it a go.

I poured my Indra Kunindra into a frosted pint glass, and it immediately formed a frothy tan-brown head made of very fine bubbles. The head quickly dissipated, leaving a thin layer of carbonation atop the dark brown brew—it’s not quite black, but very deep brown. And the India-style export stout is thick, but maybe not quite as thick as the average stout.

Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra has a very mild aroma of spice, earth, coconut and sweet lime citrus. The stout is made with Madras curry spice, coconut, kaffir lime leaf, cayenne and cumin. But no one flavor is overpowering, and they all combine quite nicely. You can taste and smell the lime and coconut more than anything else.  The cayenne pepper leaves you with a notably spicy aftertaste and lingering burn.

Overall, I like this beer much more than I expected to after reading its description, and I regret not trying it on tap in San Diego.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

Award-winning home brewer and Ballast Point Senior Brewer Alex Tweet made the brew in honor of the 46th anniversary of San Diego’s Holiday Wine Cellar, with the goal of creating a truly unique beer that pushes the boundaries of home and craft brewing. And he admirably succeeded.

My bottle cost $10.50, so it’s not exactly cheap. But I don’t feel as though that’s an unreasonable price for such a unique brew. It has an ABV of 7.0%. There’s no official Indra Kunindra page on Ballast Point’s website, unfortunately.

Ballast Point Brewing’s Indra Kunindra India-style export stout currently has a BeerAdvocate.com score of 86, based on 45 user ratings. And it gets a 7/10 ranking on the Urban Beer Nerd Scale.


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