Birra Etrusca Bronze is part of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale collection, an initiative where they basically travel the world with a molecular archaeologist and try to resurrect the beverages that our ancient ancestors enjoyed. This Italian Ancient Ale was crafted using the data gathered from the analysis of drinking vessels from 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs. As if all of this wasn’t crazy enough, the ingredient list is longer than many of our weekly grocery lists: honey, hazelnut flour, heirloom wheat, myrrh, gentian root, raisins, pomegranate juice, pomegranate, etc. I feel like myrrh was only thrown in there as an added jab to the Reinheitsgebot. Seriously, if you can taste the myrrh in this beer, I want your autograph.
Birra Etrusca pours a deep bronze/copper with a sudsy head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is sweet with several of the advertised ingredients shining through: pomegranate, honey, toasted grains, and myrrh (just kidding). You can tell from just the nose that this beer isn’t going to be your average ale, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Dogfish.
As you could probably guess from the list of ingredients, the flavor has a lot going on. The pomegranate is on full display throughout the profile, and the hazelnut and honey flavors build a strong platform in which to showcase this. There’s also a cherry tartness that plays well of the sweetness and some dark fruit notes that enrich the body. The body is relatively light but has a rich, velvety texture. It feels more like drinking a mead than an ale at times.
Dogfish Head is king when it comes to crafting ales that are both creative as well as thoughtful. I can’t really think of another brewery that would be willing to invest in archaeological/paleological research to craft one beer; In Italy no less! I’m surprised this didn’t end up being a hop-forward wine. Sampling this beverage is mandatory for anyone that enjoys unique ales, especially if you’re a myrrh-head.
- Appearance: Bronze/copper
- Aroma: Pomegranate, honey, toasted grain
- Flavor: Hazelnut, pomegranate, honey, cherry, figs, raisin, citrus
- Mouthfeel: Light plus, velvety
- ABV: 8.5%
- Size/Price: 25.4 oz. / $12-$14
- Score: 89