Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Style: Hefeweizen

Brewery: Red Brick Brewing Company

ABV: 4.7%

Serving size: 12-ounce bottle poured into a pint glass and tested again in a Duvel glass

Served at 50 degrees

The debate about what makes the South distinctive, different from the rest of the country has raged for over two hundred years. And it shows no signs of abating any time soon. But there is one characteristic, however, that all the pundits and philosophers can agree on: It’s hot down here. Brutal, beat down hot. Sure, the mercury rises in other places but are you really ready for three months of temperatures about ninety degrees? Or six months of temperature above eighty-five degrees? And don’t forget the humidity. Remember, it’s this long and grinding combination that – in the works of native son, Tennessee Williams – drives people insane or provokes them to violence.

Leave it to a southern brewery – local Atlanta favorite, Red Brick Brewing – to come up with the right beer for weathering the notorious southern sizzle: Dog Days Ale. Dog Days is the Red Brick seasonal formerly known as “Red Brick Summer Ale.” As we have written before, Hefeweizen (or hefe-weizen if you prefer) is an unfiltered wheat beer, an ale, made with wheat malt, barley malt, hops and yeast (“hefe” means “with yeast”). It is a wheat beer because brewers use at least 50% wheat malt (and sometimes even more) to make it.

Appearance: Honey colored and cloudy. This varied depending on whether or not the sediment from the bottle was added to the glass. With hefeweizens, it is common to pour most but not all of the beer into the glass, then use the remaining beer to swirl around the inside of the bottle to collect the remaining yeast and then add that to the glass. When we intentionally did not disturb the sediment, it was of course more clear but still fairly cloudy. When swirled, the beer appeared very dense and more whitish-yellow. A quarter inch of cream colored head disappears quickly, leaving a fine layer across the surface. No lacing.

Aroma: Lots of esters (which means, it smells like bananas) and cloves. A very slight metallic smell.

Taste: Banana, clove, orange zest, bubble gum, maybe a little pear. There’s a bit of bitterness but that seems to be adjustable by the addition of the sediment. It was a little less bitter with a less aggressive swirl to clear the bottle of sediment.

Mouthfeel: It has a bit of body to it. The medium carbonation clears the palate quickly. Dog Days Ale is very dry compared to other wheat beers/hefeweizens/witbiers we’ve had.

Drinkability: We can definitely drink more than one because it is drier than other hefeweizens. It finishes very cleanly. The alcohol content is low compared to the beers we generally drink (most averaging around 7-8%), so that helps as well. A lower alcohol level is very good for a summertime beer where you could find yourself drinking more than one to help beat the heat.

Conclusion: We noticed some interesting differences with Dog Days Ale. The differences in flavors from the addition (or not) of the sediment was, of course, the main difference. Another difference was the effect of food on this beer. We found that certain foods toned down the bitterness as a happy coincidence while cooking dinner –  a pasta jamabalaya. After eating a piece of celery cut for our recipe, we took a sip of the beer and the celery mellowed the bitterness to a complimentary level.  Just as a personal preferences, we’re not fond of bitter or metallic flavors in beer, so we may be more sensitive to them. Also, if you prefer a bit of bitterness then you will appreciate its appearance in Dog Days.  It’s very drinkable on its own, but the right food really brings it to life.

Food Pairings: Goes well with spicy or strong flavored foods:

Olives, goat cheeses and wheat crackers
Buffalo chicken wings with celery and bleu cheese
Jambalaya/shrimp creole/Cajun dishes.

Here is the recipe for the “pasta jambalaya” I made if you want to try it too:

The jambalaya made the flavors of the beer sing and the beer complimented the recipe as well, bringing out the layers of flavors and nuances of the seasonings.


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