20 February 2011
KOTBR #120 | Two Places, One Beer - Dogfish Head/Three Floyds Poppaskull
November through January is always a busy time for the Knights of the Beer Roundtable. While we'd like to be writing more about our roundtables, the holiday season and Winterfest planning always take up a lot of our time. As a result, some of the roundtables inevitably slip through the cracks. Last year's "lost roundtable" was our review of Founder's Porter. This year, it's our review of Dogfish Head and Three Floyds' collaboration beer, Poppaskull.
Our first sit-down to review Poppaskull happened way back on November 18th, when Brugge Brasserie had a tapping party upon Poppaskull's initial release. We had a second sitting with Poppaskull back in mid-January, when we reviewed a trio of Vermont beers at the only Church's Chicken in town that serves beer.
Because Poppaskull is still available at a number of locations throughout town, we went with the "better late than never" mindset and decided to go ahead and get this lost roundtable up for you, even though many of you have already experienced the lusciousness that is Poppaskull. So take it away, Rodney and Mike...
Many times with collaborations, the breweries involved will take turns brewing the same beer at each of their locations. With the name similarities between Popskull and Poppaskull, I thought that's exactly what Three Floyds and Dogfish Head had in store for us. Boy was I ever wrong. Popskull was something of an imperial brown, aged with some of the trademark Palo Santo wood that DFH is known for. Poppaskull is much lighter in appearance, coming across almost as a Belgian tripel. Spicy notes of cardamom, cinnamon and clove linger in the aroma. Absolutely nothing like its Popskull brother. At first taste the huge array of spices jumps to the front. Tons of cardamom, cinnamon, anise and clove all shock the taste buds - something of a pumpkin spice beer without the pumpkin. After a few sips I became used to the huge amount of spice and the brown sugar-like sweetness started to round the beer out. I'll admit, at first I didn't think I would be able to finish this beer, but as the spices mellowed, the beer became a very pleasant sipper. Not sure what the ABV is on this, but I'm guessing it is deceivingly high. Poppaskull tastes like it should be big, but doesn't really leave any alcohol burn in the finish. Overall this spicy beer certainly took me by surprise, but in the end I enjoyed what Three Floyds and Dogfish Head have come up with this time around. 3.90 Mugs.
From my first taste of Poppaskull I knew it was a beer I was in love with. Arriving around Christmastime, the beer seemed to reflect the holiday (despite not being a "Christmas beer"). It's all in that cardamom nose, the milky vanilla Oreo middle, and the creamy mouthfeel.
Christmas beers (again - this isn't one) can be cloying, screaming out CHRISTMAS SPICES, hitting you over the head like a stocking full of coal. This beer isn't that. Balanced, light, extremely drinkable - my notes say "a strange combination for two breweries known for over-the-top weirdness". My notes also say "we need more subtle beers from Floyds, because they know what the fuck they're doing". I wrote all of that thinking this was a 5 - 6% ABV beer. It drinks like one. The only problem is that it's actually 10%.
In any case, what a great fucking beer. 4.66 Mugs.
Dogfish Head/Three Floyds Poppaskull
Rod: 3.90 Mugs | Jess: 4.20 Mugs | Chris: 4.30 Mugs | Mike: 4.50 Mugs | Gina: 4.20 Mugs | Jim: 4.75 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.31 Mugs