A beer for the finish line
A Review of Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 8/27/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
Here's a question for you. What happens when an archaeologist discovers a recipe for a fermented beverage that dates back 9000 years? The answer is not all that surprising. He calls Dogfish Head. Now here's another question for you. What does Dogfish Head do when they receive said phone call from the archaeologist with the 9,000 year old recipe for a fermented beverage? Simply put, they take that recipe, run with it in a way that only Dogfish Head can, and end up producing what is now known as Chateau Jiahu.

When poured, Chateau Jiahu has a bright, golden yellow coloration, and comes with about a fingers worth of bubbly white head. After sticking my nose in the glass several times and really examining and searching it, I believe that the best way to describe it would be to tell you to imagine what a honey and ginger infused sake would smell like. In all honesty, once this thought entered my mind, I was truly unable to find anything else. I'm not sure if it was my brain just shutting down and giving up, or if that's truly what was meant to be found. In any event, I definitely found myself wanting to dive right in and see what it tasted like.

When I went in for the first a taste, the only thought that ran through my mind was ''Man! This is one crazy complex beer!'' The mouthfeel is surprisingly dry and full of bubbles. It's almost champagne like in a sense. Then the flavors start to hit you. There is a sweet, but puckering sensation and taste from the grapes used in the brewing process, and right after that comes the unmistakable honey and ginger flavors. As I mentioned earlier in the aroma department, at times I really thought I was drinking that honey and ginger infused sake I described. The more it warms, the more some delicate random highlights come through, but the number is so high that if I were to start listing them we might be here all day.

Beers like Chateau Jiahu are very few and far between in the better beer world. There is a level of complexity in the bottle that is rivaled by few. Of course these days, we have come to expect nothing less from Dogfish Head. They have rightfully earned the ability to take beers such as the Chateau Jiahu, and their boundary pushing characteristics, and run completely wild with them. I highly recommend anyone with a more experienced palate to take this one for a spin if they see it, but be prepared to take some time with it. Rushing through it is pointless. And along those same lines, I would probably have to tell those with less experience to steer clear of it. You're simply not ready. It takes time and patience to be able to appreciate a beer such is this. Try to think of it as a finish line beer, and just enjoy the other beers during the marathon as you get there.

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Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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