8/16/17: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Dragons & YumYums

4:29 PM

Summer seems to be winding down (meaning that autumn seasonal posts on the blog are right around the corner) but we technically still have over a month until the season ends. That leaves plenty of time for cookouts, lawnmowing, beach bumming, and simply hanging around outside, enjoying the warmth and the lively nature.

In light of all of this, today I'm writing about a beer that seems like it will be decidedly summery. This is the first post in some time that I'm going into blindly, but the label alone gives me a good feeling about it. And that fact that it's from Dogfish Head. Today's beer: Dragons & YumYums.

Alright, I've written about Dogfish enough times on this blog that I'm going to try to do this from memory, but you should feel free to check out dogfish.com for the full story (which is sure to feature correct and exact facts). Dogfish Head was founded by Sam Calagione in the mid-nineties, and opened as the Delaware's first brewpub. After a lot of hard (but I'm assuming fun) work, Sam's been able to bring his brewery to the frontline of the craft beer world. Some time ago, Dogfish expanded out of its original site into an enormous, state-of-the-art brewing complex. Today they make some of the world's best, and most creative, beers.

Dragons & YumYums looks to be one of those beers. It's a pale ale that's brewed with dragon fruit and yumberries (as well as pear and carrot juice and passionfruit). The ale, which comes in at 6.5% ABV, was brewed for Record Store Day 2018 and released in conjunction with a Flaming Lips vinyl (which was inspired by the beer, which itself was influenced by The Flaming Lips).

The ale smells like summer. It has a slightly bitter bouquet, but I'm getting plenty of fruit from my whiff. It's citrusy, but also reminiscent of strawberry. If it was in a can, Dragon & YumYums would be a fantastic lawnmower beer. I can't say I've ever had a yumberry before, but I am familiar with dragon fruit and I actually can suss it out of the aroma. I think the ale's nose is a perfect pairing for the season. Purrl, however, isn't super impressed. She gave my open bottle just four whiffs.

The flavor follows the nose, but not without the slightest disconnect. The fruitiness is strong on my tongue, but it's more sour that citrusy. Dragon's finish is an almost cranberry tartness (which, after reading this Wikipedia article that says yumberries are known for their sweet and tart qualities, I'm going to attribute to that ingredient). It doesn't taste much like carrots, but there is something of an oakiness present in the fore of each swig. It's an odd flavor, which is most akin to MadTree's Shade (although still incredibly different), but I dig it. And it's still summery as hell. 

"Bright" is the word I'd use to describe the mouthfeel on this one. It's not lightly nor overly carbonated. Have you had a pale ale before? Yeah? Great. Than you know exactly what to expect in this category. I'll add, though, that the beer is incredibly crushable. I'm nearly done with my bottle by this point in the review.

When I lived in Athens, I used to go out every Wednesday night; one of the bars uptown had a deal that night where you could get a pitcher of liquor for $5. I was cheap and a college kid. That much booze for $5 was a dream come true.

Wednesday nights were best during the summer months, because that's when most of the kids went home for the season. The city was thin and you didn't have to wait in line for a drink or the jukebox. My friends and I would roll into that bar (sometimes slowly, as in it might've taken some time for all of us to show up), grab our drinks, and play our prefered (subjectively awful, for a college town) music on the jukebox. We'd swig our way through our pitchers as the night grew long and we'd wear our voices out by screaming along to our music. Looking back now, I feel bad for the bartenders. But not too bad--we all tipped well.

Today's beer was pleasant. I won't say it's a pleasant surprize because, well, it's from Dogfish Head. Sam and his people have a special place in my heart because they make such consistently good beers. And Dragons & YumYums is no exception. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. It's a fantastic summer ale and it's something that I suggest you track down soon if you're interested, because 1) summer's almost over (it's really the best time to drink this), 2) it's only around through the end of the month, and 3) since it's a special collab with The Flaming Lips, who knows when/if it'll come back anytime soon?

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