An exploration of Neolithic China
A Review of Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 10/23/2012 by Chops
9000 years. That's how long it took to craft this beer. If any beer fan was reading this review without reference, I would imagine the first thought to enter their mind would be ''must be a Dogfish Head''. And, they would be 100% correct. Allow me to introduce you to the Chateau Jiahu, a brew with hearty roots tracing back to Neolithic China. At this point I need to reference the beer's detailed back story, and the best source I have found comes from an article on NPR:

Click Here

See what I mean? This amazing beer is about as ''Dogfish Head'' as you can get. President Sam Calagione touts this beer as ''the oldest-known fermented recipe in the history of mankind''. I can't help but feel humbled as a beer geek. But before getting into this review, it helps to note how Dogfish Head actually brews this beer: ''In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, Orange Blossom honey, Muscat grape, barley malt, and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with Sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.''

In the glass, this beer has a clear golden orange coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has pretty good retention. On the nose, I detected a strong sweet mixture of honey and grassy notes, which I imagine was coming primarily from the orange blossom honey. There is also some lemony citrus and biscuit characters which I attribute to the the grape must and sake yeast, but they serve more complimentary roles. Despite its complex aroma, the beer actually smells very refreshing and inviting.

The mouthfeel is what immediately caught my attention on the first sip. Chateau Jiahu drinks a lot like a quality mead (honey wine). It has a very sweet start, followed by a balanced middle ground, then exits dry and tingly like a crisp wine. The big 10% ABV is very well hidden, so proceed with caution. The base flavor is a warm herbal bready character. Resting on top is a mishmash of sweet notes, namely brown syrup, honey and berries. There is also a general fruity vibe that encompasses the entire mix, which includes various citrus notes and a tropical tartness. This beer is incredibly complex and a lot of fun to study, so definitely take your time with it. I spent the entire session picking out traits and flavors.

Overall, Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu is a deliciously fascinating brew. As a stand alone beverage, I can easily recommend it to seasoned beer drinkers and wine lovers. But unfortunately, I have to steer novices away because I would hate to see this beer's complexity and rich history trivialized. Chateau Jiahu deserves to be respected, studied and appreciated. Drinking this brew is an honor and a privilege for any craft beer fan, and I thank Dogfish Head for the devotion that produced this remarkable brew.

Share This Page:  An exploration of Neolithic China, A Review of Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
About  |  Terms  |  Privacy  |  Contact  |  Login
© Copyright 2011-2019  |  |  All Rights Reserved