Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Spirits

Most people are aware of the unique and savory beers produced by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery at their Milton Delaware location, but you may not be aware that they distill a line of spirits at their Rehoboth Beach Dogfish Head Distillery. We first learned of this fact during our research on American Rum Distillers. Currently they produce three styles of rum: Brown Honey Rum, Wit Spiced Rhum, and a Dark Rum. The Brown Honey Rum is double-distilled, and then aged in American oak with Wildflower Honey. The Wit Spiced Rhum is triple-distilled and aged with Curacao orange peel and coriander. The Dark Rum is the same as the Brown Honey rum, just not aged with honey.

But rum isn't the only game in town. they also distill a Gin clone, the Dogfish Jin, distilled with several botanicals including pineapple mint, juniper berry, green peppercorn and rosemary. And then there's the vodka. The flagship is the Blue Hen Vodka which is quadruple distilled and then charcoal filtered. For those who like infused varieties, the vodka is also distilled with vanilla, Belgium dark chocolate, blood oranges, mango and even pomegranate.

At the brewpub, customers can sample four combinations so we choose the gin, vodka and two rums, the Brown Honey Rum and the Dark Rum. The latter was not very impressive and actually rather harsh. It didn't have much aroma and the harshness overwhelmed any ability to taste the distilled molasses. The Brown Honey Rum was tamer and I liked the honey finish; but just a little too sweet for my tastes. However, it is a far superior product than the Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon. The best surprises, however, were the gin and vodka. I normally do not care for gin, but the Dogfish Jin displays a nice balance between the spirit and the botanicals. Sometimes the spices overwhelm the product, but not here - this was nicely done. My favorite, however, was the Blue Hen Vodka. This is money. Its extremely smooth - barely any burn. After dampening a little with a couple drops of water, a nice aroma arose and the taste became sweeter and even smoother. I'd have to say this version is on par with the Cold River Vodka from Maine Distilleries. No wonder the guy at the Dewey Beach liquor store said he couldn't keep this in stock. And next time you travel to the brewpub to drink some Midas Touch or Raison D'Etre - remember - there's also an array of spirits available.

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