Review: Tweason'ale, Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery — Milton, DE

  • Style:  Gluten-free Fruit 
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV:  6%  
  • Ingredients:  Water, sorghum syrup, strawberries, honey, hops, yeast
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle 

Description:  "Between the seasons, we have a special release - a gluten-free beer. But not just any gluten-free beer -- a gluten-free beer with gusto! For our first new 12-ounce 4-packs in nearly half a decade, we replaced the classic barley foundation of beer with a mild sorghum base. The hints of molasses and pit-fruit are balanced by vibrant strawberry notes and a unique complexity that comes with the addition of a malty buckwheat honey. We believe health-conscious beer drinkers and the millions of Americans who suffer from Celiac disease can cut back on gluten while relishing the distinction and drinkability of this very special brew." — Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Random thoughts:  I'm tasting this as part of my series on gluten-free beer. Dogfish Head will release this beer four times a year, in between seasons. Does the name now make more sense? Interesting idea. I'm not aware of other breweries that release a seasonal in this manner.

The tasting:  Golden in color with a light pink hue (some might call it blush), crystal clear, with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. In aroma, the distinctive sorghum is present, but sweet over-ripe strawberry is also prominent. At the first sip, the sorghum and strawberry flavors dominate. The flavor combination doesn't work well together, in my humble opinion. The strawberry adds both sweet and tart elements—which help to mask the sorghum flavor. There are some light herbal notes and I didn't taste the honey. Hop bitterness is very low, and alcohol isn't noticeable. Tweason'ale is light bodied (almost watery), highly carbonated, and has a lively effervescent mouth feel. It finishes with the same notes of strawberry and sorghum.

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkablebut not sure I want to.  This is one of the better sorghum-based beers I've tasted. I think the strawberry was a smart addition because its flavor and aroma mask the sorghum—to some extent. I've now learned that sorghum-based beers aren't for me.

Rating (if I was Celiac):  3 star.  Good I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.  OK, if I was celiac, I expect I'd be more open to this beer. Great work by Dogfish Head in responding to this growing market segment. I'm sure those who must drink gluten-free appreciate it! I think DFH is on the right track by using fruit in the beer.

Have you tasted Tweason'ale? What's your favorite gluten-free beer?

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