Fill It or Spill It

Beer Event: Cheers to Science! A Drinkable Feast of Beer

In Beer Event on June 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

An event about science and beer?  Apparently, the World Science Festival can read my mind and create events around my thoughts.  When I saw the notice about this event I immediately bought tickets because it was a Dogfish Head Ancient Ales event, so you know I had to go.  The speakers at the event were Dr. Patrick McGovern and Sam Calgione from DFH.  This was an opportunity to sit with two people who create the Ancient Ales for DFH and hear more about them.  I must also mention that a tasting of the Ancient Ales was also part of the night.

The event took place at Eataly in NYC.  For those that are not familiar with Eataly, it is owned by Mario Batali and is a food market that also has restaurants inside.  The event took place in Eataly’s test kitchen, which was cool because I’m sure not a lot of people get to hang out in there.  During the event, everyone sampled 4 DFH Ancient Ales: Midas Touch, Ta Henket, Chateau Jiahu, and Theobroma.  The first three beers had a cheese paired and Theobroma was paired with chocolate.  I didn’t note what the specific cheeses were (unfortunately) but one of them was a bleu cheese.



I had tried all the beers except for Theobroma before the event, but obviously the cool part of the event is sitting and listening to Dr. Pat and Sam talk about the beers.  Dr. Pat told us about this primate whose source of nutrition is a fermented drink.  It gets buzzed to live!  How hilarious is that.  It is one of the ancestors to humans, so drinking beer is in our nature.  Dr. Pat spoke about some of the history of beer and about the archaeology of beer.  They were really cool, Sam was really knowledgable about the history of beer and the history of the beers he created. 

 Sam told us some stories about the trips and creation of the ancient ales.  Sam also told some stories about the early days of DFH. One of the best stories was about the first  beer event that DFH attended.  The beer they had taken to the event was Raison D’etre, this guy tasted the beer and hated it so much that he spilled out right in front of Sam and told him they wouldn’t make it past 6 months.  That story is crazy on so many levels!  Clearly he proved the guy wrong, but who hates Raison? And what kind of person are you that you’re crazy disrespectful like that?  But I digress.

One of the cool parts was the pairing of the cheese and chocolate with the beers.  I never had a DFH paired like that and it was crazy how the food was enhanced by the beer and vice versa.  My least favorite cheese was that bleu cheese with the Ta Henket.  It really accentuated the flavors in the beer, but the cheese was too strong for me.  The chocolate paired with Theobroma was awesome.  It was 50% cacao and I am dark chocolate guy so that was especially delicious.

After the tasting, there was a chance to ask some questions and I had to take the chance to ask one.  I asked whether the ancient people used anything similar to an airlock when making their beers and it turns out they did. Sam said some ancient people would use something like plants and herbs to cover the beer and the beer would take on additional flavors, which was really cool.  Even ancient brewers were experimenting with beers.

Once the Q&A concluded, we headed upstairs to the brewery to check out Sam’s latest creation, an ancient Etruscan beer.  At the top of the staircase was another beer for us to taste: Sahtea.  I grabbed my mini snifter and headed into the brewery.  Two other DFH brewers were waiting for us in the brewery with samples of the ingredients being used in the beer.  Some of the ingredients that are going to be in the new beer are a tree resin, honey, and pomegranates, We were supposed to do a preliminary tasting, but the brewers told us that wouldn’t be happening because it wasn’t ready.  Sam did his best to get the brewers to let us try it, but they weren’t having it.

The Etruscan beer is a going to be a collab with Dogfish, Birra Del Borgo and Baladin. Each brewery will be releasing their own versions of the beer.  Sam and the brewers talked about the ingredients and how the beer is being made.  One of the things that Dr. Pat and Sam discussed was how the actual vessels that contained the ancient beers contributed to the flavors of the beers.  Some of the beers such as Midas Touch were kept and brewed in pottery, so traces of previous beers were imbedded in the pottery and added to the complexity of the beer.  If I remember correctly, the Etruscan beer is going to fermented with a thin sheet of copper which should be interesting.   The Etruscan beer for Eataly should be ready and available to patrons in the near future.  The bottled version should be coming out sometime this the year.  I am quite excited for both.  I also asked Sam what the ABV for the beer will be and he said about 7% which is cool with me.  

This event was a ton of fun and probably the best beer event I’ve been to yet.  I brought along my dad for this beer event because I got my love for science and history from him.  He had a blast and is Dogfish’s newest fan.  It was very informative about the science behind the ancient ales and the history of beer.  Being able to get the scientific insight from Dr. Pat was great and such a rare opportunity.  Obviously, the highlight for me was getting to meet and briefly speak to Sam.  He was really cool and talked to me for few minutes once the event was over.  We even got some DFH swag, an ancient ales chalice, an ancient ales coaster, and a DFH hat.   I can’t wait to get my hands on the Etruscan beer.  Keep up the good work Dogfish!


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