Dogfish Head – Palo Santo Marron

Tasting: March 12, 2012
Style: American Brown Ale

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

There are just some breweries that are more misses than hits in my book – but in fairness, I’ll continue to give them an opportunity to strike a chord with me. I hadn’t been a fan of Weyerbacher up until I tried their “Insanity” (89 rating) and “Double Simcoe” (93 rating) on back to back nights. Voila – I was impressed and will continue to sample the Weyerbacher stable of offerings.

In that same vein, Dogfish Head has been more misses than hits – but I enjoy their 90 minute IPA (90 rating) and enjoyed the now defunct Squall (87 rating). The owner of the brewery chided posters on a message board for calling his brewery overrated. He came back and said it was funny how some said it was “overrated or sucked except this beer or that beer”.

I’ll put it this way – I’ll have a favorite dish at particular restaurants and I tend to stick with that dish if the specials don’t strike me. There are times when I’ve been disappointed and have regretted not ordering my favorite dish – entrée envy as I call it. I think his message is simple – they provide a wide selection on their menu and they try to break new ground and they hope that you find a few favorites along the way.

One of the beers Sam Calagione mentioned was Palo Santo Marron. Actually, I’ve heard a few people rave about it – so, it’s about time I give it a go. It’s described as a brown ale and it certainly pours brown. Really it’s as dark as a stout. It says on the label 12% ABV and it describes this brown ale as being aged in a hand made brewing vessel made of Paraguayan palo santo wood. They say at 10,000 gallons, this is the largest wooden brewing vessel used in the United States since before the prohibition. I love the line on the bottle — “It’s all very exciting. We have wood and now you do too”.

Definitely cherry and vanilla on top of some nicely roasted grain of chocolate, creamy and somewhat earthy. If I let this beer settle in my mouth around my tongue I can feel the carbonation and oddly I hear it as well. The booze is concealed fairly well at first, but it does wear on this beer a bit as it warms. I’ll give it plus marks for full rich flavor. I’ll also call this one a hit at 88 points.

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