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Dogfish Head Festina Peche- Milford, DE


jrichstar
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I am honored to help VikingJew introduce beers to the VBT. I first became enamored with craft brews in the early 90's when living in Fort Collins, Colorado. Colorado may be the leading state for the craft revolution and I was lucky to live in a city with one of the foremost craft breweries, New Belgium (and Odell's is not bad either). Fat Tire was a revelation compared to the Michelob and Moosehead that I grew up with here in Montgomery County, MD. Though Fat Tire is legendary (at least in my mind), there are so many interesting brews and styles that have emerged, especially in the last 5-10 years, that it almost seems boring right now. I look forward to sharing many different beers and discussions with you in the future on the VBT.

The beer this week is Dogfish Head's Festina Peche. I tried it the first time when introduced a few years back and was impressed---looking forward to trying it again as have not had it since. Seems like an appropriate brew as we approach another hot July 4th weekend in DC. ABV is 4.5%.

Per the website:

A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse, Festina Peche is available in 4-packs and on draft during the sweaty months. Sadly, there are only a few breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style, which is characterized by its intense tartness (some say sour). There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer!
In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic (or green apple-like) character. Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup. In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup. Just open and enjoy!
More on the style from Beeradvocate:
Berliner Weisse is a top-fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer made with both traditional warm-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus culture. They have a rapidly vanishing head and a clear, pale golden straw-coloured appearance. The taste is refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, with a lemony-citric fruit sharpness and almost no hop bitterness. Served in wide bulbous stemmed glasses, tourists in Berlin will often order on as a "Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Himbeere" or "Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Waldmeister." These are syrups that are added to make the sourness more palatable. Himbeere is raspberry (red) and Waldmeister is woodruff (green).

Cheers,

Jeff

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Thanks for posting Jeff. We're one step closer to realizing my goal of making DonRockwell.com a serious beer discussion board where people occasionally post about DC area restaurants.

I'm glad you picked Dogfish, since they're not usually high on my radar. I find their 750 bottles always go a little too far (Bitches Brew, Sah'tea, that Egyptian sounding one, etc...), but I have enjoyed some of their 4 pack seasonals like Tweason'ale. Looking forward to picking up some Festina Peche, and thanks again for posting.

-Eric

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This is a great beer for a summer evening--lemony, very slightly sour and of course, the peach flavor as the star. Nice amount of carbonation as well. This could go very well with seafood on which you'd normally squeeze some lemon.

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A guy I know mixes half 90 Minute and half Festina Peche; calls it the "Adult Arnold Palmer". He made me one on the 4th of July. It's interesting, with the sweetness of the 90 Minute balancing the acidity of the Festina-- try it. He emailed Sam Calagione about it, who replied that he loved the idea and was going to try it himself (but that there would obviously be problems with using that nickname for it).

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A guy I know mixes half 90 Minute and half Festina Peche; calls it the "Adult Arnold Palmer". He made me one on the 4th of July. It's interesting, with the sweetness of the 90 Minute balancing the acidity of the Festina-- try it. He emailed Sam Calagione about it, who replied that he loved the idea and was going to try it himself (but that there would obviously be problems with using that nickname for it).

I am a little bit surprised that Sam C. had not heard about this before. The DogfishHead AleHouse in Falls Church was serving this blend last Summer in draft form. (I know they are not actually part of Sam's company, only a licensee of the name--but you would think word might get around) I forget what they were calling it, but don't think it had anything to do with Arnold Palmer(s), or I probably would have remembered it. It was pretty good--a lot better than I thought it would be, as I am not a big fan of the 90-minute.

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In an odd turn, the day I finally found some Peche on the shelf, I had dinner in a restaurant that had it on tap. The bottled version did not leave me wanting to order it that night though. I think when it comes to fruit beer, I don't want to find the happy medium. I want my fruit beer to be a lambic, not a shandy. I, admittedly, am not a Dogfish fan, mainly because they just take everything too far in their brews. Instead of going to 11, this beer just hung out around 2 or 3 for me. The beer flavor wasn't anything special, and the fruit was too subtle to affect the overall taste. This might have been what they were going for, and if so, I'm just not the market for it. I'll give them credit that they can tone down their recipes when they want, and this is a session beer with a hint of fruit that doesn't reach the usual Dogfish extremes.

The day I picked up the Peche, I also found the new Founders Raspberry beer, Rubaeus. I think it is around now, so it'll probably be our next topic of discussion.

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An underrated beer, simply because people don't always know what their getting. Not a true Berliner Weisse (and not just because it would have to be brewed in Berlin), it is a really great take on it. I've had some faux Berliner Weisse's  (weissi?) at some homebrew meetings and they are a unique, and tough to pull off style. Since they include the fruit in the fermentation as a subtle counterpart to the acidity of the lactic acid, as opposed to just doing a straight Berliner Weisse , which, as was pointed out, is usually flavored with syrups in Germany (they end  up looking like people are drinking cherry soda and mountain dew instead of a beer), it makes a subtle finished product. 

 It's not for everyone, but it's a great summer quaff. Nice and tart, and the acidity makes it pair well with strong cheeses, or as a palate cleanser between courses. It reminds me of their 120 minute. First time i had it i gagged. That's because i was drinking it wrong. Quaffing it like a beer instead if sipping it like a liquor (I've since had a number of vintages of 120 and they age beautifully).

 

Interesting trivia, even in Berlin they don't really make this style anymore. Technically a true  Berliner Weisse  has to be brewed in Berlin, Germany, and right now there is only one, Berliner Kindl Weisse. but that's like saying a can of Bud is the same as is a true classic BudÄ›jovickí½ Budvar czech style lager. It's not....

A craft brewer is crowdfunding a project to recreate the classic Berlinner Wiesse style by extracting yeast from a bottle from  Berliner Weisse  from a long defunct brewer Jurassic park style, and brewing it the exact way it should traditionally be brewed. 

"Born Again In Berlin" by Evan Rail on allaboutbeer.com

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I picked up a 4 pack of Festina Peche this week myself, trying it for the first time, & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went on a beer shopping trip at Wegmans, & got this, Avery White Rascal, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, & Shiner Ruby Redbird. Not a loser in the bunch.

I went out for lunch w/ my son on Thursday, for his birthday, to the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Fairfax. We split a crab dip app, he got the special burger of the week- bacon cheddar on a doughnut! bun, & then we both sampled the deep fried bacon wrapped Oreos ( they were a lot better than I thought they would be). I am grateful that bdays come once a year.

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I picked up a 4 pack of Festina Peche this week myself, trying it for the first time, & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went on a beer shopping trip at Wegmans, & got this, Avery White Rascal, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, & Shiner Ruby Redbird. Not a loser in the bunch.

Great beers you picked out! Tried the Habanero Sculpin and was surprised they'd market such a strongly spicy beer. I think a fair number of people wouldn't finish a pint if they weren't pepper heads. It's not a beer you'll have two of, IMHO.
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