So, in bringing you this review, I’m a little torn. This beverage, while brewed by one of my favorite breweries, isn’t technically beer. But I figured that I’d rather give you an extra review of something that qualifies as a high quality “malt beverage” than skip it all together. Because my readers are diverse… you might just enjoy this one.
Chateau Jiahu is one of Dogfish Head’s brews that are based on archaeological evidence. Yes, I said based on archeology. Similar to their Midas Touch beer, recently found pots at archaeological sites were analyzed to formulate what they contained. Dogfish Head took that information and re-created it for both the Midas Touch (in that case, from King Midas’ tomb) and Chateau Jihau. Before even tasting it, this beer has conversation value and would make an interesting party topic. Imagine offering your guests an ancient delight in a gorgeous bottle.
“Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, has revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago – right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East!” -Dogfish Head Website.
The brew is made from honey, hawthron fruit, grape concentrate, chrysanthemum flowers and other delightfully antique ingredients.
What’s great about this drink is, in addition to being historically reproduced from molecular evidence (a history geek’s dream brew) it is sweetened with honey, grapes and has a lovely warm taste which resembles wine, or mead. It’s pretty cloudy and smells like sweet grapes, with an amber color and some carbonation that isn’t overwhelming but reminds you that it isn’t wine. I think this would be a good candidate for aging, and I am hankering to have this on a moonlit summer night for some reason.
It is very smooth, not overly sweet but the honey is a delightful compliment. I feel like I’ve been transported back to 9,000 years ago in China, and that I’m sipping this wine from a small porcelain vessel in the presence of the emperor.