The Beer List: Sea Quench Ale by Dogfish Head

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Delaware’s own Dogfish Head is a brewery that simply does not know how to fail. I’ve never experienced even vague disappointment with any of their brews, and yet another thoroughly enjoyable offering from these East Coast gods of brewing has been added to The Beer List here at The No Seatbelt Blog.

Last year, Dogfish Head released the Sea Quench Ale, a session sour that expertly blends three complimentary styles of brewing into one explosively delicious beer. The Sea Quench Ale is a fascinating combination of the kolsch, a German wheat beer, the Berliner Weisse, a sour typically brewed with citrus fruits, and the gose, which is a characteristically salty beer. In particular, Sea Quench is brewed with black limes, lime peel and juice, as well as sea salt. What’s a black lime, you ask? I had sure never heard of one before trying this beer, so I had to do a little research. Black limes are those that have dried out in the hot sun, but still retain their natural sourness, and even take on somewhat of a bitter, fermented taste. That characteristic lends itself well to brewing, and it’s not surprising that the always-inventive Dogfish Head chose such an uncommon ingredient for this sour delight.

I had the Sea Quench Ale once last summer after its release, and it was one of the inspirations for the sour binge I’ve been on for the better part of the last year. The gose and Berliner Weisse are two of my favorite types of beer, so this was a no-brainer for me. When I spotted it back on the shelf in a local liquor store this a couple weeks back, I snatched it up without hesitation. Poured from a 12-ounce can, the Sea Quench Ale appears a hazy golden color and smells of wheat and the pungent aroma of sour limes. The smell is a tantalizing precursor for what lies ahead with this awesome brew.

There’s a lot going on with the taste – heavy lime and general sourness, plenty of salt that hits the back of your tongue for balance, and a strong wheat presence to hold it all together. Being a “session” sour, the Sea Quench Ale clocks in at just under 5% on the ABV (alcohol-by-volume), making it conducive to steady drinking at a party or even when you leave work for lunch (I won’t tell your boss if you won’t). The craft beer community has been going nuts for sour beers as of late, and has gone equally bonkers for session beers, and that confluence of fandom is all here in one little can. Light and summery, but with enough body provided by the salt and wheat backbone, the Sea Quench Ale is thoroughly satisfying.

Everything about the Sea Quench Ale warrants “summer staple” status, and yes, this one is “crushable,” if you’re into just chugging for chugging’s sake. On the same token, there’s plenty to enjoy here, so make sure you savor one, and then by all means, crush away!

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