My run-in with Dogfish Head's Raison D'Être a while back left me a little suspicious of the Delaware brewery's abilities to make nice beer with fruit. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the cap on Festina Pêche, a self-proclaimed "malt beverage brewed with peach concentrate" which doesn't claim to even be beer. Oo-er.
The pour gives lots of dramatic sparkle, champagne-like, subsiding quickly to a pale orange cloudy body with no head whatsoever. On the nose, subtle peaches and a bit of carbonic fizz. Flavourwise it's quite dry, with the peaches -- fresh and juicy -- having nothing more than fizzy water to bear them up. The lack of any real body or follow-through taste are a bit of a letdown. It could, in fairness, have been much worse. They could very easily have packed this with sugar and made an alcopop out of it. Instead, while much closer to a Bellini than a beer, it is at least drinkable.
Next up, the much more promising Indian Brown Ale. It boasts of being "well-hopped" which, from the makers of 120 Minute IPA, should really mean something. But there's not a whole lot of hops in evidence. Instead, this very dark ruby ale is loaded with smooth and creamy milk chocolate, accentuated by the light carbonation. If you pause a second after swallowing, the echo of hops makes itself felt: pithy and herbal, but not lasting long as the residual chocolate cream takes over the aftertaste. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for some sort of stale, oxidised bum note, but that never came. Overall, this is a simple but interesting beer. The velvety texture leaves no hint of the 7.2% ABV and it was only after slipping back half the glass that I started to feel a warming glow from it.
Conclusions of this research: one beer for frivilous summer chugging and one for warm autumnal comfort. Or whatever works for you.
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