For a brewery that has been around for over 20 years and now distributes to over half of the country its seems to get very little respect in the beer nerd world. This could be in part due to the fact that the founder of the company Sam Calgione has become a C level celebrity from his short lived TV show—Brew Masters—a half dozen books and of course running a very successful brewery since 1995. Or, it could be from the long line of off the wall beers that have been sent out its doors over the years.1 Either way I feel that the good beers that Dogfish Head puts out tend to get overshadowed and forgot about.
Its 90 Minute IPA is a staple in my fridge even after all of these years and Palo Santo Maron is one of my favorite beers to buy in bulk and age.2
Generally, when I come across a new offering from Dogfish I tend to buy more than I pass and there are a few I have been wanting to try for a while but have not had the chance. Fort is a beer that has been on that want list for a while but I have yet to cross paths with a bottle. That changes today. I finally got my hands on a bottle of the 18 percent raspberry beer. Oddly enough I don’t have the highest expectations for the beer but I am still excited to try it. It just so happens that I had a bottle of 120 Minute IPA two nights ago and in my mind I am picturing a fruity version of that beer as I am about to open the bottle of Fort.
The bottle opens with a surprising pop3 and pours an attractive hazy copper color. A lingering halo of bubbles sticks around forever. A quick whiff of the beer reveals exactly what I expected out of the beer. A big fruit character and a ton of booze. It is not quite as boozy as the bottle of 120 I had a couple of nights ago but still has a very noticeable alcohol burn. The raspberries are very prevalent and come off as almost jam like with a touch of sweetness. A touch of Belgian yeast phenols help add another layer to the aroma.4
My first sip of Fort follows the nose pretty closely. Booze and fruit. The alcohol borders on the line of too much but the fruit seems to hold it in check for the most part. I get a little bit more of the malt character in the finish but the abv and the raspberry are really the star of the show. The finish is more of the same with the drying alcohol to go along with the leftover maltiness.