Dogfish Head Brewing Co – Birra Etrusca Bronze

This post is my triumphant return to the blogging community.  I got a little jaded with my blogging by the end of last year, so I felt like Ietrusca needed to take a little time off.  While I really only meant it to be over the holiday break, I managed to get fairly busy over the past few weeks of the new year.  So I really felt like I didn’t have a lot of time to get on here.  It’s not like I haven’t been drinking craft beer or listening to good music.  Trust me, I’ve still been formulating different blogs in my head, but I just haven’t found the time to get back on here.  Hopefully you missed me and can’t wait to read my ramblings.

Even though I wasn’t posting anything on here, my views really kept up with the almost two years of posts in my history.  Guess I can keep contributing despite not actually writing anything new.  Also, while I was gone, it’s not like I have been buying and drinking craft beer.  My collection has continued to grow, I brewed perhaps my best beer yet (A black ipa), and I even took some notes for future reviews.  I’m not sure if I’ll abandon those notes just yet or not, but if you’re interested in reading my opinion on any of these let me know.  My notes are for Old KILTer Scottish ale from Olde Main Brewing Co, Blitzen from Blue Mountain Brewery, and the latest collaboration from Stone known as Perfect Crime.  I can put one of these up if there is interest.  Otherwise I’ll continue pressing on.

Anyway, I picked up this bottle a few weeks ago.  Dogfish is of course one the most hot and cold breweries out there.  There is no other brewery that produces some of my most loved and hated brews of all time.  Anyway, this is part of their Ancient Ales series.  Historically I haven’t loved a lot of the beers in this series, but I can’t help but feel the need to give it a try.  For this brew, Sam traveled to Rome to analyze drinking vessels found in 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs.  Based on their findings, they brewed this ale using two-row malted barley and an heirloom Italian wheat.  Some of the specialty ingredients include hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey. While this beer had all the signs of things I typically dislike in my beer, I still had to give it a shot.  Plus it seemed like the perfect beer to get me back into blogging.

This one pours a nice bright orange reddish color.  It really has an almost candied quality to it.  There is a very substantial tan head that develops on top of the beer.  Some very light lacing develops on the side of the glass, and you do have some much more substantial sticky residue as well.  As you can tell from the picture, the clarity in this one is great with some very visible carbonation as well.  The carbonation bubbles back off overtime, but they are quite plentiful right after the initial pour.

EtruscaThe fruits in this one certainly dominate the aroma coming out of the glass.  The sweet malts are fairly large and back up the fruits quite well.  According to the bottle, they utilized both actual pomegranates and pomegranate juice.  Therefore, pomegranate is the biggest aroma that you get out of this one.  I pick up a little bit of the honey sweetness to this one as well.  There seems to be a little bit of light raisins, as well as, a bit of spice from some clove too.  While it doesn’t say it anywhere on the label, I seem to find some slight cherry aroma too.

Overall I would say the flavoring on this one is rather light.  Everything works well together, and you don’t have any huge flavors that dominate, but overall it’s quite light.  The sweet malts come out however they are somewhat subdued.  This beer hinges more on the specialty flavors that are added rather than the base flavors.  The honey sweetness combines with the malt intro to make it a somewhat sweet start.  Midway through a sour cherry and bold pomegranate flavor come in.  The pomegranate flavor carries through all the way to the end.  There is a kick of carbonation and yeast slightly past the midway point that adds a lot of character to the beer.  The yeast brings a little bit of clove and spice to give the beer a little needed kick.  The beer ends with some lingering pomegranate flavors and overall sweetness.

I would say this beer is rather sweet overall, but they did a good job of using a yeast that added a lot of character.  The beer is certainly dominated by a syrupy nature, but yeast and carbonation help to even it out.  The beer has a rather moderate body because of this nice mixture.

Rating this beer is a little difficult.  This ancient ale is also known as a gruit.  Historically I’ve never really had a love for this style.  So, as far as gruits go, I’d like rate it rather highly.  However, my actual rating system is based on whether I’d like to drink this beer again.  As far as returning to this beer, I don’t really see that happening.  So this may actually be the first beer I have to give a double rating to.  If you’ve been spurned by the gruit style like I have, then you should definitely check this one out.  I’m glad I had this beer, but I won’t be grabbing another bottle for me.

Gruit Grade: A

Teacher Grade: D