August Beer of the Month- Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

I know this is a bit late, but a brewery was supposed to send some beer to review and it never showed. So I went to Midtown and picked up this beer. Back in November of 2006, I visited the Dogfish Head Eatery in Rehoboth Beach, DE. This beer was a new offering and draft only, listed at 14% and 35 IBUs. I enjoyed the beer, but thought the finish was a tad too heavy on the fusel alcohol. Nearly two years later, I saw that this beer was bottled and available locally. I decided to revisit this one, especially since they have lowered the abv to 12% and they altered the production methods.

Palo Santo Marron (Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, DE)

An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means "holy tree" and it's wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

This beer is a 12% abv, highly roasty, and malty brown ale aged on the Palo Santo wood. It was a huge hit at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub when first released in November of 2006, so it's coming back... into full production!

At 10,000 gallons each, these are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition.

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours a deep coffee brown, almost stout like, with a one finger brown head that dissipates to a ring. Very inviting nose of cocoa powder, dark roast, and wood mulch. Short initial flavor of nuts, molasses, and roasted malts that quickly transitions to aggressive plummy and red wine flavors. Semi-dry and oaky finish is warming with a strong vodka like alcohol presence (not quite as aggressive as the initial draft version). This is a strong beer and not recommended for the pedestrian palate. I think this may be a beer worth cellaring, and could use some time to mellow.
Recommended Food Pairing: I think this would be a good after dinner sipper or night cap beer. This is a tad too strong to pair with a main course in my opinion. This could pair well with a good dark chocolate cake.
Where To Buy: Midtown Wine and Spirits

Flying Dog Fundraiser for employee with cancer

Flying Dog Brewery PR and Even Coordinator Stephanie Kerchner sent me an email about an upcoming fund raiser. Please read below:

"I don't know if you have heard, but our longest standing employee and brewery manager, Mike Freeman, was recently diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor and the most aggressive of its kind! Due to Mike not being able to work and to offset some medical expenses, Mike’s friends and family are hosting a fundraiser. The fundraiser, Rock the Mike: The Freeman Brainefit, is on Saturday, August 23rd at the old Flying Dog warehouse (24th and Blake) from 7-2am. We are going to have several bands, free beer from Breckenridge, Great Divide and Flying Dog, free food and a raffle with a $20 cost at the door. All of the proceeds from this event are going to Mike and his fiancée Jennifer.

I have attached the press release and our flyer. I was hoping you could help me spread the word in your blog, paper, to your friends, etc. The more people we get in the door, the more money Mike gets!

Please check out the website we set up for him at You can also support Mike by purchasing a "Fuck Cancer" shirt! Please let me know if you have any questions! "

The event is too far away for us Nashvillians to attend, but if you click here, you can purchase one of those "bold" Tshirts or make a donation via Paypal. Pray for Mike and hope he goes into remission and possibly back to work.

Road Trip- Providence, RI

When my employer decided to send me on a short trip to Providence, RI, I wasted no time in seeking recommendations for beer stops. Time was very limited, but I always find ways to squeeze in a beer or two. My flight arrived two hours late on a Sunday night, luckily Trinity Brewhouse was open late.

Located in downtown Providence, Trinity has a worn but cozy British pub motif. I sampled all six of the beers on tap- Russian Imperial Stout, Island Ram Light Lager, Decadence Imperial IPA, Point Break Pale Ale, Peoples Porter, and Tommy's Red Lager. My favorite was the double IPA (surprised?), which had a nice rich caramel-esque malt back bone with good dose of juicy hop bitterness.

The following day I was able to make a quick stop at the Attleboro, MA Yankee Spirits to grab some beers for my cellar. This is a typical mom and pop warehouse store (which smells like stale beer) with a well-organized and large selection of craft beer. I picked up a newly-released Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout and a few regional beers.

After a long day of work, I had some time to kill before making a trip up north to the Boston area. I decided to sneak in a short happy hour at Track 84 in Warwick, RI. This small local bar may not look like much on the outside, but step inside and the perception totally changes. The place is small, with wooden floors, juke box, dart boards, and empty beers bottles lining the top area of the walls. I guess some would call it a “dive” bar, but that just sounds negative. I prefer to say it has lots of character. I sat down and ordered Harpoon Old Rusty's Rye Ale. The group sitting next to me were drinking a bottle of Deschutes Black Butte XX . Deschutes is not distributed in RI, so I inquired about where they obtained the bottle. I had stumbled upon the weekly Monday night tasting, in which local beer aficionados bring in beers to share. It wasn't too long before they were pouring me samples. While enjoying great beer conversations with the locals, the entire bar rumbles like an earthquake and no one bats an eye. Now I realized why the bar is named Track 84. It’s RIGHT NEXT to the train tracks! I ordered a draft Stone Ruination before it was time to leave for dinner and yet more work. I did make it back for last call and enjoyed Victory Prima Pils and Ballast Point Big Eye IPA. Track 84 is my type of bar because it has a nice eclectic mix of friendly locals and good beer selection. And it is not trendy.

I did not have time to visit Union Station Brewery (John Harvard's) or Nikki's Liquors (for singles); hopefully next time I am in the area.

next road trip blog will be a three part series on my trip to San Diego- my favorite beer destination in the world