Hooray for multilingual pun beer! Raison D'Être is one of several from Dogfish Head knocking around in Ireland at the moment, though the only one of which I've not hitherto had the pleasure.
It's a bit of a stonker: 8% ABV, hepped up on beet sugar and green raisins (they're like raisins, apparently, only they're green). The label describes the colour as "mahogany", which is unfortunate as I can't think of a better word of my own. It's a dark ruby-brown shade, OK? A little bit of foam as it pours, but that subsides before long, leaving you with a gently sparkled heavy beer that tastes of... well, I'm not sure to be honest.
Complex. Let's go with complex for the moment. The nose starts straightforward enough: big and roasty like a strong sugary stout. The first sensation I got on tasting was root beer. Maybe not exactly that precise flavour, but that bitter medicinal quality, harking back to when what we now consider soft drinks were sold in pharmacies. Then I tried to pin down the different elements. Before giving up I got saccharine, cheap chocolate, acrid smoke, burnt caramel, and those nasty liqueurs that every eastern European country seems to have as a local speciality, but which are only ever given to tourists for the entertainment of waiting staff.
It's a busy beer, and I'm not sure I care for it. The fruity fun suggested by the raisins has got buried in the dark malts, the added sugars, and the terrifying single-mindedness with which the yeast pursued and devoured both of them.
Definitely a beer with a well-formed sense of presence. But I'd prefer if it took it some place else.
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