I was at the local beer store last Thursday and the owner stated that he just took delivery of two new DogFish Head beers new to the area.. He pointed to two unopened cases sitting at the end of one of the aisles. One was Romantic Chemistry (the beer I’ve heard about a few weeks ago) and the other was Immort Ale, DFH’s Barley Wine. I didn’t have enough cash to buy either one AND my daily ration, but I made plans to return after juggling some numbers and pick up one or the other for Saturday’s review.
Early Saturday afternoon I returned with some extra bucks and decided to purchase the Romantic Chemistry and postpone the Immort due to its asking price ($19.99 for a four-pack) and its ABV (11%.) After some Immort my wife may find me asleep at a drool soaked keyboard with reverse letters imprinted on a cheek.
My research showed that Rom. Chem. was classified as a fruit beer, but weighed in at 7.2% alcohol. I wasn’t too fond of fruit beers (especially raspberry, especially lambics) but this one touted the tropical fruit flavors of mango and apricot. As a matter of fact, Romantic Chemistry was DFH’s replacement beer for Aprihop. Whether a marketing decision or a brewmaster’s decision, Aprihop was gone and this one was the new spring/summer seasonal kid on the block. I couldn’t venture a guess never having tasted Aprihop.
I wondered whether DFH had brewed a juice-box beer or a tasty fruity treat. WE all know of the crazy concoctions that Sam Calagione has come up with. Many of his exotic recipes have new and untried flavors while still being called “beer.”
The romance and the chemistry come form a single organic material, myrcene. It’s found in the oils of hops and mangoes and apricots. There ya go, no need to get a room.
Enough with the yik-yak, let’s have some beer.
The beer poured with an orange color and the liquid was crystal clear. Carbonation was vigorous as it brought up a big 2” head of fluffy white foam. The aroma held some sweet fruity notes and my mouth started to water as I smelled it.
The first sip had a medium mouthfeel and was slightly sweet at the beginning. The swallow was rather mild. The middle began delivering fruity flavors after the first couple of sips and it was rather mysterious. I’d say that it was the mixture of the apricot and mango flavors giving it the unique taste. The beer wasn’t significantly fruity nor was it blatantly hoppy. As a matter of fact, I’d say it leaned more towards a pale ale than an IPA.
The beer is a delightful drink and it would be perfect in a warm weather environment. The slight sweetness of the mango and apricot would really be tasty upon a parched palate and I’m sure that maybe a few of the ladies would like it.
I have to hand it to DFH for doing some chemistry before changing the original Aprihop recipe (see video.) The choice of malts had to complement the fruity taste perfectly and IMHO, they nailed it. I can’t postulate on the hops used. Perhaps some Simcoe for bittering and then Mosaic or Citra mixed with some of the New Zealand strains such as Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu as late additions. Just my own opinionated dissection.
I left the second bottle sit on the counter for about 20 minutes. Upon sipping this slightly warmer glassful, the sweetness is slightly more pronounced and the beer took on more of the classic pale ale taste. Still quite as tasty as the previous one.
RomChem is not a beer with a blatant amount of fruit juice in it. The flavors are subtle, from the start of the sip to the swallow. Easily drinkable in relatively copious quantities. The hops are pulled back as well making nice with the fruity flavors preceding them, and not a huge ABV load to muddle one’s thinking.
Romantic Chemistry is quite a delicious beer, an easy drinker. Numerous ratings calling it “hop forward” or “piney, citrusy and grassy” are bullshit. This is a taste engineered beer with easy, slightly sweet tastes being the main goal. Don’t expect Aprihop. Don’t expect a pumpkin beer. This Romantic Chemistry stands alone. It’ll be a great addition to the spring/summer beer fridge.
Style: Fruit beer
Taste: Pale ale style taste with subtle, gentle fruity flavors.
Smoothness: Nice and easy going down.
Drinkability: Better get enough. These will fly out of the cooler.
Bang for the buck: On a par with other craft beers.
Amount paid: $10.99 per 4-pack of 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Maybe a few more times before summer is over.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Amberish. (sniff) Kinda fruity. (sip) I get ginger. (sip) A sweetness but I get a a lot of ginger. (sip) I’m not big on ginger. (I’d bet that If I quit reading the brewery’s taste description, her whole perception would be different.)
Sam talks about Romantic Chemistry [2:31]
How is he not flinging beer foam all over the place?