Beer of the Week: Raison D’Être

I've recently been in touch with another old high school teammate, Stephen Magee, who is now the latest BMLC member. Stephen has been tearing it up in the triathlon lately and is also training for the Grand Rapids Marathon in late October and will be running the masters club cross country nationals with us in 2007. Like all of us, he loves his beer, in particular anything from the awesome Dogfish Head brewery. Here's his report:

Way back in 1995 if you wanted to start a Micro-Brewery why would you choose a state that had laws prohibiting this enterprise? That is exactly what Sam Calagione did! Now Dogfish Head is the fastest growing craft brewery in the country. Last year they were able to meet 15% of the orders from distributors. While many of the beers they offer are for the experienced palate only. You will find many gems in the variety of Ale that they craft. The legendary IPA’s 60 minute, 90 minute, and the mouth exploding 120 minute (the IPA 90 is the best beer in America two years running,, IPA 60 is the second best beer in America, Men’s Journal October 2006). Some beers at Dogfish Head are only brewed once a year and have limited releases. Others you can find year round if you live in a state that they supply. I am lucky that Michigan is one such state. I have chosen a less renowned brew the “Raison D’Être” translated “reason to live” or “Reason to Be”. This is also a play on words as the beer is brewed from green raisins. The slogan at Dogfish Head is “Off-centered Ales for off-centered people” and they back it up with only the best ingredients, combined with a crazy let’s make great beer ingenuity. All the beers have increase Alcohol and increase price, but you will find the money spent and well worth the taste. The World Wide stout was the first beer brewed that was over 18% abv. In 1998.

First you need the correct glass; don’t even think of drinking this one from a bottle. A bell shaped glass is most preferred, but a snifter will do. Raison D’Être is a Belgian style ale that once opened and poured will delight you. First you will notice the deep amber and caramel color and the fruity aromatic nose. Once tasted this beer will coat your tongue with a sweet and robust flavor and roll down the back of your throat without a burn. Leaving you only wanting more. The second sip will taste even better. You will note the deep rich mahogany taste that comes from the beet sugar and the raisins. In the spirit of a true Belgian beer this one will not leave you disappointed at the $10.00+ that left your wallet for the 6-pack. Even for a novice beer drinker this brew will be a welcome change from the tried and true path. There is only a pleasant after taste and no heavy taste that can often be left by stronger ale. Smooth to the last drop and often not finished until a second bottle has been dispatched down your gullet. I recommend you try this brew with a close friend of the opposite sex and an elegant meal. Please serve with steak, duck, wild game, or even mussels. This beer does age well and can be enjoyed year long, but why wait? Raison D’Être has a twin that will really kick your booty Raison D’Extra brewed with brown sugar and even more raisins this beer clocks in well over 18% abv and 41 ibu. When you can find a bottle it will run $10-14 each and can be shared and sipped with several friends. Please first test them on the Raison D’Être to make sure they are worth of the extreme brew.

If you want more information please contact myself or If you can’t get any where you live there are now several internet sites that will ship beer and wine to your home. But, don’t worry Dogfish Head is expanding and will have increase brewing capacity by 2007.

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