Beer: Secret Machine – Baked Alaska
Brewery: Dewey Beer Company (Dewey Beach, DE)
Style: Fruit Beer
6.5% ABV / 0 IBU
There’s a curious movement brewing in the mid-Atlantic over the last 5 years or so: completely over-the-top fruited sours with a cult-like following so fervent that fans buy cases on drop days. It may have started with Berlin, MD’s Burley Oak and its J.R.E.A.M. series; this certainly set the tone for dessert-themed fruited sours on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. But within an hour’s drive, there’s also RAR in Cambridge, MD, where you might be lucky enough to score Out of Order, a series of lactose-bomb smoothie style sours with pop-culture tie-ins (i.e. an all-green Yoda beer or a Gremlins homage brewed with “Mogwai slime”). And just an hour or so away from that, you could hit up the newer kid on the block in Delaware, the Dewey Beer Company.
Dewey Beer Co. has been killing it lately with crushable beers like the Italian pilsner Pizzetta, and improved distribution in the region is helping to get the word out. It also portends easier access to Dewey Beer’s own line of cultish sours, Secret Machine. All of them are very fruit-forward, with an emphasis on bold berry flavors. And all are advertised as “fruit smoothie beers,” but really don’t have the thickness you’d associate with that style. Secret Machine beers are straight-up for fans of extremely fruit forward kettle sours. Borrowing a page from Burley Oak, Dewey Beer is riffing on familiar dessert flavors, too, as evidenced by the “Baked Alaska” variety of Secret Machine, which is aged on pistachio, chocolate, raspberry and vanilla.
Problem is that only the raspberry and chocolate are truly discernible in Secret Machine – Baked Alaska. Arguably it’s more like a linzer torte, which is exactly what it smells like on the nose. The raspberry dominates. And where’s the pistachio? You get a hint of it as this beer warms to room temperature but it’s really miscast in this strange musical where raspberry is the star of the show. Vanilla is barely present here, as well—think of how rad a vanilla/ pistachio stout or porter would be. It’s a noble experiment, but a bit of an overreach, and one where a bit of lactose might actually help to smooth out the ragged edges of the raspberry and provide an experience that’s, you know, more fun.
For more info on Dewey Beer Company, please head here.