5/28/21: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Slightly Mighty

1:22 PM

Before you dig into this post, rest assured that I'm still actively hunting for cicada beers to bolster my (hopefully) burgeoning cicada-themed brews series. Since I'm having trouble tracking down more than what I've already written about, I'm shifting gears slightly to another loose series that'll run the course of the summer. This is one that'll focus on lo-cal craft beer.

The first beer I'm writing about in this set is the first lo-cal craft beer I ever tried: Dogfish Head's Slightly Mighty. I'd spent a while looking for it on store shelves and, coincidentally, managed to nab a sixer back in 2019, on the exact same day that Dogfish joined The Boston Beer Company (a.k.a. Sam Adams). I was one of many people floored when that merger went through, but I'm happy that Dogfish beer hasn't dropped in quality.

I won't be going into any sort of depth on the Dogfish/Boston Beer merger. Instead, I'll direct you to this NPR article about it. You can also do a quick bit of Googling to see reactions from that time. Instead, I'd like to talk about Dogfish, factually and subjectively.  

Dogfish opened as Delaware's first brewpub in 1995. Sam Calagione (cofounder along with Mariah, his wife) made off-centered ales that quickly helped the brewery make a name for itself. Dogfish's whole story can be read (in short) on their "Meet Dogfish Head" page

Anecdotally, I've always been impressed with the brewery's devotion to expanding the horizons of craft beer. Apart from books and documentaries written by/featuring/starring Calagione, the guy's gone out of his way to resurrect long-forgotten beer recipes through DFH's Ancient Ale program. Also, I have to give the brewery big ups for making the pumpkin beer that got me into pumpkin beer.

Slightly Mighty's a 95 calorie IPA. It employs monk fruit as the backbone upon which the hoppy characteristics of the ale rest. Boasting notes of mango, coconut, citrus, and pineapple, this 4% ABV offering also features locally-grown (to Delaware) barley.

I find citrus, mango, pineapple, and coconut all on the nose. DFH nailed the description of that aspect of the beer. It is a bright, tropical bouquet, without any unnecessary pininess or booziness. Light and crisp, just how I'm hoping the beer tastes. Purrl gave my can six whiffs, meaning she finds the aroma pleasant enough.

My first swig nets a clean hoppy flavor--all those notes I mentioned in the bouquet are here in full force. There is something else here, though, that I can't quite put my finger on--I'm guessing it's the monk fruit?--that I'm not a huge fan of. It's an almost burnt soapy flavor. Another way of putting it might be that it's akin to the flavor sensation of eating a strawberry immediately after brushing your teeth. It doesn't detract too much from the overall drinking experience of the beer, but I'd be remiss to mention it.

The ale's light on my tongue. The mouthfeel's exceptionally full. Even though this is a lo-cal beer, I'd expect nothing less from Dogfish.

I'm not drinking the IPA as one now, but let me tell you that Slightly Mighty is a hell of a lawnmower beer. Five cans from my first sixer two years back accompanied me during yardwork. I'd break into one once I'd finished with the edger and, man, was it exactly what I needed at the time. As fine as the aroma is from the ale itself, it's a higher-level affair with the smell of freshly-cut grass heavy in the air.

I really enjoy Dogfish's Slightly Mighty. I'd never guess this was a lo-cal beer if it wasn't so obviously branded as one. I'm giving my can a 8.0/10--it'd be a bit higher if that weird soapy taste wasn't involved.

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