As a beer
hunter, I’m always happy to come across something different and unique. And
different and unique is definitely what I got when I happened to sample a
bottle of Dogfish Head’s Au Courant ale last night. It was quite a
bit different from anything I had ever tasted before.
Au Courant is a fruit beer, and of course such beers are a dime a dozen
these days. The Belgians probably started the craze with their
fruit-seasoned lambics, some of which (at least one) was seasoned with
currants: St. Louis Kir Royal Cassis. That beer is currant inspired,
though it’s been a while since I’ve tasted it.
Au Courant was released back in December of 2004 by Delaware-based Dogfish
Head, and there is still some hanging around. It’s doing nicely with age on
it, I think, and there is talk of doing up another batch again in 2006.
Based on a Belgian strong pale ale, the beer is made with French pilsner
malt, pureed currants and candy sugar.
The currant, by the way, is a berry that grows in parts of Europe and comes
in red and black varieties. The unique color of the beer here tells me the
red version is featured in Au Courant. It’s an interesting concept, and I
encourage you to try this one if you have the chance.
Fruit beers are not always popular with beer enthusiasts. Some of them can
be overly sweet, which is not the case here. I happen to enjoy them, and
feel that fruit can be a very good seasoning for beer, as it is here. Taste
is subjective, of course, and your mileage may vary.
When I first poured my bottle of Dogfish Head Au Courant into my
glass, I got a decidedly unbeery looking pinkish-purple-red colored liquid
with a very light creamy head floating atop and a slightly vinous, very
The palate was smooth in the malt department, completely dominated by the
fruit. And what fruit there was. I discerned notes of ripe cherry, raisin,
raspberries, raisin, and fruit punch. The creamy character of the beer
combined with the fruit flavors to lend an almost sherbert-like quality.
This is not like most beers you have tried.
The finish is really devoid of hop bitterness, but it is not at all cloying
or sweet. Rather, it is perfectly balanced and even a little tart. That
makes this a very refreshing beer indeed, and though it is a winter
seasonal, it would work rather well on a warm spring or summer day.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.