Taking a trip in the way back machine for this week’s beer review! I tried this beer back when I was still brand new to the whole beer reviewing thing, and apparently not that good with a camera either! Still, it made an impression enough for me to write notes on it, so here we go.
Rosabi – Imperial American Pale Ale 8% ABV
Rosabi is one of those beers that catches your eye immediately for two reasons.
One is the bottle, which is simply beautiful and a nod to illustrator and noted Dogfish Head collaborator Julianna Barwick. It has this really catching minimalist design that reminded me of a foil Magic the Gathering card.
Two is that the beer has wasabi in it.
Yeah, wasabi like the Japanese root that provides that wonderful heat component to eating sushi. I am a huge fan of sushi, and beer, so naturally I had to buy this one and was pretty excited to give it a shot!
Rosabi poured a nice coppery red color with basically no head at all. What little head was there quickly went away, making me think I had mangled the pour somehow.
There was a nice earthy and hoppy smell to it, with some notes of citrus present, but not a whole lot. It smelled a little bit like tea, if tea had hops added to it for some strange and wonderful reason.
First sip was very active: lots of crisp honey taste that I didn’t expect, with notes of cinnamon and a bit of melon rind there. Second sip revealed a small amount of hops on the tongue, but nowhere near the amount an Imperial Pale Ale should have, in my opinion. The beer had a nice clean and slightly bitter finish, which I assume is a byproduct of the addition of the wasabi.
The heat component of the wasabi comes in at the tail end of the taste, as a lingering note that leaves you with a nice bit of warmth on the tongue. It’s not nearly as hot as I thought it would be, but the wasabi combined with the boozy 8% alcohol warms the tongue and belly quite nicely.
What was most interesting was how much this beer tasted a bit like a floral tea — there is a lot of herbal flavor going on here. I can’t stress enough how pleasant that was, as it really balanced itself out and never became cloying like one would imagine a tea-flavored beer would be.
Overall, I was impressed here, but not blown away. I think Dogfish Head has a fun beer with Rosabi and one worthy of some praise. However, I was left wanting more from the wasabi and really questioning where the hops were. Still, as far as unique beers go you can’t go wrong with giving Rosabi a shot, but it’s a rare offering from them so your options for obtaining it might be limited.