Review Date 9/10/2000
Beers change with time. I don't mean that they merely age as they get older
here, I'm actually referring to the fact that they vary from batch to batch,
year to year, and brewer to brewer. Such is the case with the samples of
Dominion Ale I have sampled over the past few years. This is intended to be
an English style ale, but is brewed with domestic malts including caramel
and black. Pacific Northwest hops are used, but imported English Kent
Goldings are here too. The brewery says "We ferment our ale with a
traditional American ale yeast in the German Kolsch style -warm, fast
fermentation followed by a slow maturation. " Not sure what they mean by
that: is the beer cold conditioned, as a Kolsch is? It's fairly clean, so
that could be possible.
Back in 1998 I took the following notes on this beer:
It's not a particularly overwhelming beer, but it has a unique toasty quality to it reminiscent of slightly burnt cane sugar that grabbed my attention from the first whiff of this cloudy amber nectar right into the first sip. Plenty of caramelly, candyish crystal maltiness dances around the tongue and leads into a well-balanced, ever so slightly bitter finish. This is a beer I could easily drink a lot of, and never get tired of.
That candyish character was a product of the caramel malt, but tonight I have a bottle before me packaged on August 23rd of this year, bought refrigerated at the brewery in Virginia and kept constantly cold. Little head forms on the brew as I pour it into my Old Dominion beer glass. The color is golden brown, the nose sweet and malty. I still get some of that burnt caramel flavor, but not as much as in the past. The beer seems lighter, less chewy, a bit biscuity. The hop finish seems more aggressive, grassy and bitter, slightly fruity, the Goldings readily apparent. Different does not mean better or worse by any means; I find it interesting that the beer showcased the malt in the past and now leans a bit more towards the hops.
The bitter dry finish gives the beer the power to cut through many dishes. I enjoyed Dominion Ale this evening with seasoned pork chops, a garden salad, cheese and garlic biscuits, and home-made pinto beans with bacon and onion made overnight in the slow cooker.
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.