[Author’s Note: August is the Dog(fish Head) days of Summer here at The Dogs of Beer. All throughout the month I’ll be looking exclusively at the beers from DFH.]
German geophysicist Alfred Wegener put forth a theory in his 1915 book Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane (The Origin of Continents and Oceans) that at one time, all the continents of the world were connected, forming a super continent or what he dubbed Urkontintent (German for “origin of the continents”).
The theory actually wasn’t totally unique. The Greeks had a similar belief and later on that single continent became known as Pangaea (but that’s another post). Still, Wegener’s theory was mostly met with doubt and resistance due to the fact that the forces needed to break apart and move the continents around the Earth were unknown at the time and thus the theory was widely discredited.
In fact it wasn’t until the 1950/1960s that Wegener’s “continental drift” was vindicated. Due to breakthroughs in Paleomagnetism and further strides in the theory of plate tectonics, not only was the “single continent” theory resurrected, but hailed as one of the most important scientific statements of the 20th century. Of course, this came to little comfort to Wegener who had died from complications of dog sledding around on an ice sheet in -76F degree weather during a expedition in Greenland in 1931.
In 2011, DFH approached Google and asked for suggests from the worldwide team for ingredients for their next “global” beer and as a nod to Wegener and his theory, they named it Urkontintent. Let’s Taste.
THEM: Urkontinent is brewed in the style of an Belgian Dubbel and is built on a grain bill of pilsner and chocolate malts. The brew also contains an unspecified hop and Belgian candi sugar. The five ingredients that were chosen for Urkontinent were:
wattleseed from Australia – are the edible seeds from any of the 120 species of Australian Acacia
amaranth from South America – A plant commonly found around the world (and in some places is considered a weed) that is cultivate for its seeds.
green rooibos from Africa – is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants grown for these leaves which are used to make tea.
myrica gale from Europe – commonly referred to as Bog Myrtle is one of the ingredients in Gruit, a common herb flavoring in beer before hops became prevalent.
honey from the US – bee spit.
Urkontinent clocks in at 8% ABV and 12 IBUs.
ME: I’m going to be honest, I’ve never had this one before, and I’m glad I picked it up. Urkontinent pours with almost a black cherry color with a nice effervescence. Visually this could pass as a sparkling red wine. The nose is oh so good, with notes of powdered chocolate, hint of molasses, slight roast, and possibly some cherry. The flavor is more of the same, some chocolate, cherry, light roast and something that’s just not coming through. Another fruit? Grape? Apple? I’ll be honest, I might be doing better with this if I knew what half the shit on the label was, but I’m writing the “ME” section of this review before the “THEM” so all I got to go on is flavors I’ve tasted before and pretty sure I’ve never tasted amaranth or rooibos. Now that I’ve tasted it for a bit, I’d add a “seediness” to the profile, like a millet or a rye. Something in there is definitely bring the grain to the party. The after taste is pretty clean, no real bitterness to speak of, although there is that “I just chewed some bird seed” thing that’s lingering, which isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds.
All in all, this was a surprise. My usual rule of thumb mathematically is that my enjoyment of a beer is inversely proportional to how many ingredients I have to do a Google search on (yes I used you Google, if I had hated this beer I’d have used Bing), but this isn’t the case with this beer. It’s different, but not so far away from the traditional “beer” to be off-putting. You can drink this, trust me.
Rating : Six-pack (if it came in them). You should probably have a friendly relationship with Belgian beers if you want to try Urkontinent. It doesn’t beat you over the head, but there’s some Belgian lurking in that glass, make no mistake. But you should definitely check it out .
Time for another beer….