I’ve always known Dogfish Head as a well-known Delawarean brewery that ships its alcoholic products pretty much all over the East Coast. With a sizeable array of both year-round and seasonal brews, their beers have always proven to be solid drinks that show a little more thoughtfulness than big-brand products while not being as pretentious or inconsistent as extremely small microbreweries.
Turns out, in addition to having tasty beverages, Dogfish also makes some interesting food base off of said beverages. Intruiging!
Of note, the Spicy Espresso Chicken Bratwurst jumped out at me as an unlikely combination of flavors. Hot peppers and chicken are a good pairing. Espresso and Chicory is a good pairing. Chicken and beer are a good pairing… All together, though? At what point does the flavor equivalent of people getting along through a long string of individual mutual friends start to break down? I decided to give these guys a quick oven broil, to make sure I was able to cook them up nice and crispy without losing too much of their flavor.
After cooking, the brats came out, and they were… let’s say, a little less-than-photogenic:
Upon opening the oven, however, there was a definite scent of smokiness that filled the room – not one of overcooking meat, but one very typical of a darkly roasted espresso! Coupled with the other savory aromas of the cumin and the deceptively sweet notes of pepper, I could tell that the contents of these little links were going to be a first-class ticket to Flavor City. Color me surprised.
A definite scent of smokiness that filled the room – not one of overcooking meat, but one very typical of a darkly roasted espresso!
Actually biting into the sausage yielded a whole second layer to the experience. As a chicken-based blend, the meat was juicy but not particularly fatty; it took a definite back seat to the habanero peppers imbued inside. Those peppers pack a punch – the heat was by far the dominating flavor of the sausage itself upon first inspection. After a few moments, you get some of the other components that are originally advertised – some cumin, a long bitter note from the Chicory Stout in there, and then, ever so slightly, a little bit more roasted flavor. The same, rounder, sweeter flavor typical of a roasted coffee instead of a roasted meat.
It’s clear that the priority was to develop a strong, coherent combined flavor as opposed to showcasing the individual components.
The flavors all come together beautifully, even if there isn’t too much explicit espresso flavor unto itself. To be fair, there isn’t a ton of beer flavor in these sausages, either, despite the fact that these were made by an actual brewery – It’s clear that the priority was to develop a strong, coherent combined flavor as opposed to showcasing the individual components. Think of it like a juicy, meaty musical chord of flavor.
And that’s pretty awesome, too. Give it a shot if you find these in your area.
Until next time. Take care! 🙂