DOLCE MIO: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT
It all started with a little Innuendo: our one-of-a-kind fall release, inspired by the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski. That was as much of a trip to behold as it was to make. The challenges of bending and molding the boundaries of beer into the representation of another flavor concept were so rewarding, we knew we needed to make a follow up. I wanted to take you behind the scenes and give you a director’s commentary on the making of our Imperial Cannoli Brown sequel, Dolce Mio.
As a brewing team, we have wanted to make an Imperial Brown for a while; feeling like it was a beautiful style that was painfully underrepresented. At the same time, we had been exploring concepts in “dessert beers” that bring a whole range of flavor possibilities into relevance. The opportunity to do both beers in a single project felt really good, so we set about experimenting with their integration. As someone who doesn’t really have a sweet tooth to speak of, there were a lot of directions that I definitely did not want this to go. So, how to make a beer that was deeply decadent and clearly confectionery without getting overly sweet and cloying? Like a lot of cinematic endeavors, the inspiration came from my childhood memories, of desserts from the Sicilian bakeries near my grandmother’s house in New York.
The components of cannoli are diverse but integrated, bold and balanced. From the flaky pastry crust and rich chocolate, to the creamy and subtly tart filling, every bite gives you a slightly different perspective on the sum of its parts. To express this in a beer, we started with a number of Belgian mashing techniques to get the concentration of sugars to make a tripel-sized beer with light brown hues and a delicate citrus note. Knowing it would be a vigorous fermentation that would convert almost all of these sugars into astringency-producing alcohol, we preemptively added just enough lactose to balance out any high ABV heat. The finishing touches were made with a big dry hop of cacao, complimented by a skootch of Madagascar Vanilla, to emphasize the beer’s confectionery connotations.
Just like any decadent dessert, Dolce Mio is made to be the reward at the end of an excellent meal, the cap on a great night; or the perfect pairing to watching movies on the couch!