Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

by: BeerAdvocate on 07-04-2007
Today, only a handful of breweries craft what’s called a Berliner Weisse; a seemingly lost wheat beer style that’s bottle-conditioned and made with traditional warm-fermenting yeast and a lactobacillus culture. Due to the acidity of the beer, they display a rapidly vanishing head and a very tart, citric and dry green apple character—recipe for a thirst quencher. In their homeland of German, they’re often served in wide bulbous stemmed glasses and ordered as a "Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Himbeere" or "Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Waldmeister". These are syrups that are added to make the beer’s sharpness more palatable; himbeere is raspberry (red) and waldmeister is woodruff (green).

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche from the Dogfish Head Craft BreweryDescribed as a neo-Berliner style Weisse brewed with peach juice (concentrate), Dogfish Head’s new Festina Pêche hits us just in time for the summer and is a bit of a twist on the style, in that the fruit is added during fermentation vs. as syrup after bottling. Let’s check it out.

The Taste
Cloudy—it’s unfiltered and also contains yeast in the bottle—dirty straw blonde, topped with a thin, dissipating white foam lace. Husky with a light peach aroma. Light-bodied, a bit coarse around the edges, and a creamy carbonation. Tart and juicy peach flavors, nectarine skins, and Granny Smith apples flavors offer a lively citric smack on the palate. It’s a lightly hopped beer, so any hop character or bitterness is masked by the tartness, and there’s virtually no sweetness. Crisp as hell, and the dryness cuts to the bone. And after all of the commotion, there’s a thin malt base left behind, with a touch of wheat and sourness, in a surprisingly clean and more-ish finish.

Final Thoughts
In a market where summer seasonal offerings have all become same-y and overdone, Dogfish Head offers us something different. The tartness and flavors entice and quench, while the 4.5 percent alcohol by volume makes it perhaps their lowest alcohol beer and something worthy of a session—a nice change of pace from their usual sweet and heady line-up of extreme beers.

Their website recommends pairing with grilled chicken or fish and salad and compare it to a Pinot Grigio—spot on. This would also work with most feta cheese items, like spanakopita—a Greek pastry filed with spinach, onions, and feta.

Available every year in 4-packs starting June 1st through the summer.

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