Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Ta Henket

If you watched the show, Brewmasters, you probably remember the episode in which Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head, traveled to Egypt to make an ancient ale called Ta Henket. In case you didn't watch the show, here's Dogfish Head's write up on the beer:

"For this ambitious liquid time capsule, we used ingredients and traditions plucked from Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Ta Henket is brewed with an ancient form of wheat and loaves of hearth-baked bread, and it's flavored with chamomile, doum-palm fruit and Middle Eastern herbs. To ferment this earthy ancient ale, Sam and friends traveled to Cairo, set out baited petri dishes and captured a native Egyptian saccharomyces yeast strain."

 Before we go any further, let's take a look at these ingredients. Ok, good on the bread part, good on the chamomile part, good on the...what the hell is doum-palm fruit? After a bit of research, I found out that doum palms are native to north Africa, specifically Egypt, Sudan and Kenya and bear a fruit that was sacred in Ancient Egypt. According to a few sources online, the fruit is supposed to taste like gingerbread. The Middle Eastern herbs used are a blend called za'atar and can be made in a variety of ways, usually using a combination of thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, salt and sumac. Alright, let's try this puppy.

Ta Henket pours a clear honey color with a one finger tan head. I found the aroma to be pretty mysterious. As hard as I tried, I had a ton of difficulty picking out individual smells. There was definitely a ton of bread and wheat and then a background of chamomile, cinnamon and maybe a touch of allspice.

The taste opened with a lot of doughy yeast and bread with some wheat, white peach and some faint indistinguishable spices. If it's anywhere in the taste, the doum fruit may be hiding somewhere in a finish that leaves a slightly tart aftertaste. If it's there, it's very subtle, though. I'm usually not a fan of beers that taste like bread, but this one didn't feel weighed down by the breadiness. I definitely wish I could have tasted more of the stranger ingredients in this beer, but it was still a pretty decent experiment.

Final Grade: B

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 38

1 comment:

  1. Ta Henket moves in mysterious ways! Thanks for giving it a whirl, Walker. Cheers!