Beer Review 0175: Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Leave it to Milton, Delaware’s Dogfish Head to produce a summer seasonal beer that is, well, slightly strange.
Dogfish’s Festina Peche, available in the sweaty months, is brewed in the style of a Berliner Weisse (they call it a Neo-Berliner Weisse), a type of beer few breweries are making anymore. Berliner Weisse is a sour wheat beer, typically low ABV (alcohol by volume, this one keeps that tradition by only coming in at 4.5%), and was once the most popular alcoholic drink in Berlin. At one time, over 700 breweries made beers of this style; by the end of the 20th century, only two did.
The name “Berliner Weisse” is protected in Germany, and can only be applied to beers brewed in Berlin. That might be why Dogfish calls this a Neo-Berliner Weisse.
Festina Peche is brewed with peach concentrate. Traditionally, this style of beer is served with woodruff (baby’s breath) or raspberry syrup, to soften the sourness. Dogfish says the natural peach sugars in this beer make it unnecessary to doctor this beer.
Before I begin the review, I must say that I’m not particularly a fan of sour beer. That’s mostly due to the fact that my experience with them is limited; something I hope to work on soon by drinking more of them. I do normally buy a four pack of Festina Peche each year, so I have had this beer before, and I typically start out not liking it, but by the fourth bottle, develop an appreciation for it. So the bottle on review today is the last in the pack.
The pour made for a large, billowing head, frothy but quickly diminishing. The beer had a clear body and was a very pale, dull light yellow color with no particles or sediment. There was no lacing left on the glass while sipping, either.
There wasn’t much to speak of in the aromatic department, but what was here exceeded expectation. There’s a prevalent tart peach, but at the same time, it’s just as sweet as it is tart, and it combines with a baseline of wheat malt. The peach is natural and inviting; honestly, perfect for a hot summer day…
On the taste, there are some cereal-like grains up front, and then the taste buds are shocked by a tart peach. On the swallow, there’s wheat and a sweet peach flavor, almost like eating a cup of prepackaged peaches — then the finish greets you with a jarring sourness that makes the lips pucker. Never fear, you get used to it, but it is a bit much at first. The sourness quickly fades and this beer finishes clean, refreshing the palate and quenching thirst.
Dogfish are on point here, successfully riding sweet peach with a sourness that actually causes the mouth to water and cool off the body in all this sweaty weather.
A good sour beer starter… and, hey, it’s supposed to be a hundred degrees or more here in North Carolina over the next few days.
Dogfish Head Festina Peche, 83 points. Price: $7.99 US for a four pack.