Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dogfish Head | Festina Pêche

Dogfish Head's Festina Pêche, a very popular, yet somewhat quirky summer seasonal offering from a brewery that likes to brew way outside the box. They call it a neo-Berliner Weisse, mainly because Festina Pêche has peaches in it. A traditional Berliner Weisse is fermented with lactobacillus yeast which imparts a sourness that on its own, would be off putting for most drinkers. So when drinking such a beer out at the pub, people will ask for a red (raspberry flavored) or green (woodruff flavored) syrup to be added to make the sourness more palatable. With Festina Pêche, Dogfish Head used peaches for the sugar in fermentation, and then infused more peach flavor and aroma into the finished product, so no syrups are needed.

Poured into a weizen glass, Festina Pêche has a cloudy, very pale golden color. The fizzy soda-like head stacks up high, but falls to a minimal ring. No lacing to speak of either.

The aroma is of light toasted wheat malt, somewhat floral, but with a nice hint of sugary canned peaches. There is a mild tart funk in the nose that doesn't necessarily sting the nostrils, but definitely makes its presence known.

WHAM! The first sip is like popping a peach flavored War-Head candy into your mouth. Intense carbonation, sweet peach flavor, and an unexpected sourness that throws your salivary glands into overdrive. The lactobacillus yeast really smacks you in the face upfront, but slowly blends into peach, green apple, and wheat malt towards the finish. Crisp, light and bubbly right to the end with a clean and dry finish.

Festina Pêche is really something else, it's not a typical German wheat beer, and it's not really like any Belgian flemish or lambic ales either. While I can't say I've had any other Berliner Weisse beers before, I am definitely a fan of the style. It's a shame that the style has fallen out of favor over the years. Anyway, I would recommend this as a great beer to drink on a hot summer day, and I have a feeling that if you're a fan of hard ciders, you might really enjoy Festina Pêche.

Personal 8/10
Style: ??

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