I figured since I did a marathon post concerning ancient beer and culture, why not do a review for the beer I recommended to try that reflects those ancient beers.
So here it is! Ta Henket by Dogfish Head.
Dogfish Head tried to stay as close to the ancient process as possible, using Emmer wheat and bread loaves (similar to bappir). They also sourced a modern-day yeast from Cairo, to stay as close to the ancient recipe as possible. If you’re unfamiliar with Dogfish Head, they do a lot of cool historical things in this vein.
Coming in 22 0z (650 ml) bottles, Ta Henket pours out the color of clear straw with a cloudy white head that is not very tenacious.
Wafting out of my glass came a somewhat complex, yet very straightforward, melange of aromas. The first to tickle my olfactory membrane was a tag team of celery and lemon, both a mild juicy fresh lemon and a lemon peel zest. After which a very clear sense of wheat malt came through, melding into a chai-like mixture of spicing, which was very strong overall and quite nice. This mellows out into a soft spiced herbal experience that made me reminisce of a bakery that bakes spiced sweet breads. Finally, a strong idea of gingerbread finishes up the range of aromas for this beer. Overall, I could enjoy this beer based off of the nice mixture of soft and calming aromas that emanate from it.
When I started to drink this, after indulging for a bit in the aroma, I was greeted with a flavor that was coconut like, but could not commit fully to being coconut. Mixed in with this was a nice, smooth celery flavor that went hand in hand with the almost coconut. On the heels of these two, was a distinctive wheatiness that was light and refreshing. Around these flavors, were hints of mild citrus and lemon that tickle the tongue. Throughout there are various floral and herbal notes that are somewhat ethereal and numerous. The after swallow leaves a freshly baked bread and cinnamon bun flavor lingering in the mouth. As more of the beer is drank a chai and gingerbread quality becomes more and more prominent with each sip. There is absolutely no hop bitterness to be found, nor should there be. The whole packaging is very light in the mouth and fairly effervescent.
My take away for this beer is that it is very aroma and flavor full, and if you like the herbal spicy things this is a phenomenal session beer. It has an ABV of 4.5% and 7 IBUs. However, the beer is a bit cost prohibitive, as it’s hard to find below $12 USD. I find it hard to pony up the cash for this beer, especially when Dogfish Head is making a lot of other interesting special releases (see: W00tstout). Overall, I rate this beer as a 3.5 out of 5 , as while it is a nice beer, it does not quite reach world-class status. That and it’s price tag feels a bit high for the content. It is, however, worth a try if you have not experienced it, because it is a unique beer that tries to capture a part of history.
Jared Lewinski is obsessed with beer. As such, he has uprooted his life in New Jersey to attend the Brewmastery and Brewery Operations Management program at Niagara College, a program that has, for the past three years, been producing top-tier brewers for Canada and beyond. As a child of the American Craft Movement, Jared has big opinions and a love for big beers. His hope is to bring an outsider’s perspective to a fascinating and tumultuous time for Canadian and Ontario made craft beer, and the culture that it represents…And is excited to be back in Canada later this month.