Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

8% on draught

Friday I went to Dinosaur BBQ Harlem to have my death row meal, their Jumbo Roaster Bar-B-Que chicken wings, spice rubbed, pit smoked, then finished on the grill. Were I about to be put to rest, for my final feast I would simply have the prison officials pry open my gullet and dump several hundred of these wings down my throat (with a gallon of Maytag blue as lubrication) in the same way they feed a foie gras duck or goose. But this would not be gavage, it would be pure ecstasy. I wouldn’t even need to go to the electric chair or get a lethal injection, I would eat these wings until my liver exploded and I perished. The foie gras I created no doubt sold off to rampant Vice Blog fanatics in some charity auction at the next VBCon.

While sitting at Dinosaur’s better-than-you-would expect bar waiting for my dining companions to arrive, I marveled at the terrible drink selections everyone was making. Dinosaur has a quite respectable craft beer menu yet everyone was getting shit. Blue Moons and Stellas aplenty. I thought of the reaction of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” character Jimmy when Vincent and Jules are so impressed that he actually has some good coffee to serve them.

Jimmy: I don’t need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is, okay? I’m the one who buys it, I know how good it is. When Bonnie goes shopping, she buys shit. Me, I buy the gourmet expensive stuff because when I drink it, I want to taste it.

Well just like Jimmy, I drink the gourmet expensive stuff while everyone else seems to drink shit. Why is that? I suspect it’s because most people don’t truly like the taste of beer like I do. That’s cause all they’ve ever had are crummy macros. But they like to get drunk–without the liver-scorching potency that hard liquor brings or the effete stigma that delicious fruity cocktail concoctions bring–and thus are forced to drink beer. And so the number one thing I suspect these people look at when ordering a beer is what is the cheapest shit in the place. Thus, they order macros.

Now this always amused me. True a macro is almost certainly going to be the cheapest beer in the joint when ounce-age is the only factor considered. But is that what should be measured? I propose these folks should look at PPAP (price per alcoholic percentile). As in, where I live in New York, Bud Light is usually $5 a pint. At a 4.2% ABV that’s $1.19 cents per alcoholic percentile. Meanwhile, at Dinosaur the ubiquitous Blue Moon was $5. At 5.4% that’s 92 cents per alcoholic percentile. But what I got was Dogfish Head’s Raison D’Etre. True, at $6 the most expensive pint on the menu, but at 8% ABV it was also the most alcoholic beer on the menu giving me an PPAP of 75 cents! By far the best value in the place gettin’-drunk-wise.

You would think these people that are only concerned about alcohol as a vessel for drunkenness would use their basic math skills and figure out that in the long run it would be much more thrifty to drink “expensive” craft beer all night than “dirt cheap” piss water macros. And, then, they might realize–shit!–these microbrews are so vastly superior in flavor than the swill I’ve been drinking my whole life.

Back to Raison D’Etre. Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries but I’d avoided this beer for years for reasons twofold. Firstly, it’s so easy to find that I never saw any urgency in picking it up, and secondly, it gets pretty mediocre reviews online. I really don’t understand that at all. From the first sniffs and sips, I really liked this one. Pun-ish raisins (not raisons), chocolate, and maybe a little coffee immediately nail you. Tastes like some unique stout/strong ale hybrid. A sweet finish and a sour aftertaste.

I must admit I liked this beer less and less the more I drank it, but that’s just cause it’s so overwhelming. The first 8 ounces or so were flirting with greatness indeed and I would definitely have this one again. Just not so much of it again. And I would also tell amateurs to totally avoid my earlier PPAP treatise because there is no fucking way you macro-drinking lifers could handle this one.



5 Responses to Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

  1. […] Vice Blogger recently riffed on a very interesting concept, and one that I am in complete agreement with when it comes to convincing frugal friends to put […]

  2. Dave says:

    Shame they retired Raison D’Extra. It’s big brother. I know you like big beers and it’s pretty goddam big. You might still be able to find a bottle of it but it’s rare. Glad I got one before they stopped making it.

  3. Aaron Goldfarb says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a bottle or two still around. Surprisingly, I’ve never even had their Worldwide Stout either. Plan on having it this winter.

  4. Dave says:

    World Wide Stout is good and big. You’ll probably like it. I had that, the extra, 120 ipa, and their Barleywine in one sitting. Needless to say, I was pretty buzzed out of my mind.

  5. Aaron Goldfarb says:

    Wow, that’s some prodigious drinking.

    Have you heard about DFH 90 with Randall?

    A bar in Manhattan apparently has it and I really want to go check it out. The mint julep version sounds sick!

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