Beer Review 0216: Dogfish Head Positive Contact

Positive Contact is the fourth release in Dogfish Head’s music series of beer. I’ve reviewed the three previous beers already:

Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, which scored 100 points in a redux review
Robert Johnson’s Hellhound On My Ale, 92 points
Pearl Jam Faithfull Ale, 73 points

Positive Contact is a collaboration between Dogfish and Dan the Automator of the hip-hop group Deltron 3030. While the three previous beers honored artists that are either legendary or have highly acclaimed status, this beer is for a much lesser-known outfit. I can safely say that while I am a big fan of Miles Davis and Pearl Jam, and do like Robert Johnson, I had never heard of Deltron 3030 before this beer, and after sampling them, they’re not really my thing.

That being said… the beer is sort of a beer/cider hybrid, as it is brewed with wood-pressed Fuji apples, roasted farro (wheat), and a touch of cayenne pepper and cilantro. The packaging for Positive Contact was unique; it came in a six-pack of 750 ml bottles, along with a vinyl record of Deltron 3030 songs, and recipes from renowned chefs that center around the beer.

I did notice that Dogfish shrunk their normal 750 ml bottle a tiny bit to fit this in the six-pack packaging. This beer comes in at 9% ABV (alcohol by volume) and just 26 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

The pour served up an average size, bright white head, soapy in texture and lasting. The beer was gold in color, like dulled brass. Body was clear without any particles or sediment; however, I did notice a fairly large amount of yeast in the bottom of the bottle. I didn’t pour the yeast into the glass I based this review off of. Lacing was good, leaving behind some really creamy thin sheets.

The aroma illustrates what Dogfish Head do best: they take something traditional, and put a fresh spin on it. This screams classic Belgian-style wheat beer with the banana, clove, and bubble gum scents; then you get a touch of the apple and hints of the cilantro. There was a doughy, earthy yeast, and it played nicely with the Fuji apple, which was a lot like apple juice, quite sweet and potent.

On the palate, the banana, clove, and bubble gum notes come out first, with a masterful hint of the apple. There’s a nice grain hit, and a sweetness that reminded me very much of Riesling wine. But the finish is where this beer is at: think of all the aforementioned flavors, and double down with a hint of the cilantro, freshly chopped, and an ever-so-small tinge of the cayenne pepper. Awesome! There’s also a slight warmth from the alcohol, which only enhances the taste, especially coupled with the medium and creamy mouthfeel.

While part of the music series and for an artist that is unknown (at least to me), Dogfish have done what they do best: they’ve taken a traditional style of beer and have excelled it into something that converts the non-believers into the faithful(l). This is one of those beers you take to wine snobs and challenge them to drink. I promise, you’ll have great results. This is a fantastic beer, and I’m glad I went all in for a six pack (!!!) of 750 ml bottles. I’m dying to see how this ages.

Dogfish Head Positive Contact, 94 points. Price: $9.99 US for one 750 ml bottle.


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