I’m not typically a jealous person, but I kept hearing on twitter about all the beer folks out there getting a chance to sample a rare, limited release brew that is a result of a collaboration between two awesome breweries : Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head. I’d read their tweets and just sigh – convinced that I’d never get an opportunity to try it. Then, like a dream come true, Lyn from Smiley’s in Dover, NH found a bottle for me – and I brought it home to try it! I couldn’t be happer at having the opportunity to taste this beer that basically skipped over NH as a whole in its distribution. What a great way to start a whole new year!
The beer is brewed in a spirit of collaboration – and has elements of the west & east coasts, of family heritages and heirloom ingredients. According to the Dogfish Head website, its Life & Limb is “a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics- brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman “farm” at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast-a blend of both breweries’ house strains-bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska.” After reading the description there and on the bottle – I was intreigued. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a beer with birch and maple elements but I anticipated that they would be a great addition for the right malt and yeast.
It pours out a dark brown (almost like a deep cherry or mahogany) with a white head. The aroma has a lot of alcohol, yeast and the smell of the flavor of a good brown ale (remind me a little of the smell of Paolo Santo Marron, another Dogfish Head brew). The taste on this is complex. It seems based in some kind of a brown ale, but that’s where the definability ends. It has a roasty finish with a definite aftertaste of maple. I think the birch adds some kind of spice to the brew, too, though it doesn’t taste anything like birch beer. The subtleness of the maple/birch flavors is a good thing here, and I think they both are such strong flavors that it would be possible to quickly overwhelm the other flavors in the beer. That being said, it does taste WONDERFUL with a maple sugar candy on your tongue. (I just happened to have some laying around – hey, I’m in New England after all…)
All and all I highly recommend it – though its fading from the shelves quickly. I feel honored to have had the chance to sample it, and I wish it was something I could get often. It works very well for the beginning of the year – its spirit of sharing and working together while cherishing the local and one’s own heritage seems like it is a sentiment worth embracing.
So, to all my readers – cheers, and happy new year!