Let me start by saying I am a huge Dogfish enthusiast. In fact, I think it has the most solid and bold portfolio of any domestic (and dare I say) or world brewery. They are a great example of successful risk and reward in the brewing world. Enough with the soapbox, let’s talk beer. Raison d’Etre is a beautifully colored beer (the label describes it as deep mahogany). Let’s start with the smell of the beer (really I start with the glass, but more on the glass at a later time). This is an important aspect of tasting any beer. The smell is slightly metallic in quality with the sweet smell of the green raisins that are utilized in the brew. There are very little floral aspects in the beer; that is to say, there is no noticeable hoppy floweriness in the beer. Before taking a sip, I also sensed the hint of a brandy and vinous (i.e., winy) odor in the beer. Now to the drinking itself. One can almost sense the warmth of the alcohol in the mouth and the nose when it hits one’s palate. I got a notable impression of the predominantly malt character of the beer (which is reasonable with the lack of floral aspects in the drink). There is a tangible dryness in the brew, and a biscuit/bread quality that is detectable. The finish starts with a burnt grain flavor and an intensely long ending. If Dogfish 120 min IPA (India Pale Ale) is one end of the the spectrum in its hoppy qualities, then Rasion d’etre is closer to the other end for its distinctly malt driven design. This truly points to the broad view of Dogfish even in the small state of Connecticut. For those who are interested, Dogfish makes an even bolder version of this brew called Rasion d’Extra (X marks the difference in this case).
Among other Ales: