Dogfish Head Lemon Quest
Dogfish Head Lemon Quest
Wheat Beer / Dogfish Head NA / <0.5%
Our Super-refreshing Non-alcoholic Wheat Brew with Lemon Purée, Blueberry Juice, Açaí Berries, Monk Fruit Extract & Sea Salt.
They come in many different forms, but it seems like it is impossible for any brewery to craft a non-alcoholic beer without some sort of tradeoff. If they attempt to create a healthy option by drastically lowering the calorie count, it usually means that the flavors will be so toned back that the result is bland. If they instead do their best to mimic the strong hop character of a traditional IPA, it can be tough with the lack of alcohol to balance out that bitterness properly, and you may end up with just one note. Some NA beer makers, however, have decided to embrace these tradeoffs with a little bit more experimentation.
Dogfish Head, based out of Delaware since 1995, is no stranger to adjusting to the times, so it isn’t a surprise that they have decided to throw their hat into the NA ring with an interesting offering. Perhaps knowing that attempting to accurately mimic a high-quality traditional style is a very tall task, they have released Lemon Quest, a wheat “beer” that is brewed with lemon puree, blueberry juice, and a number of other novel elements. There is, of course, no guarantee that it will taste good, but it appears to be some sort of innovative nod to seltzers and sours packaged as a wheat beer. I am very excited to try it out and let you know if it’s worth your time through this Dogfish Head Lemon Quest review.
Dogfish Head Lemon Quest Review
The reason that I feel it may be a nod to both seltzers and sours is the packaging. In addition to the obvious name, a large lemon is front and center on the can’s label, so I am fully expecting some strong sour character. And the lightly colored can itself is the taller and skinnier 12-ounce variety, reminiscent of so many seltzer brands. There isn’t a ton else to the label design other than a list of the main ingredients down the side. They included acai berries, monk fruit extract, and sea salt, in addition to the aforementioned lemon puree and blueberry juice. It’s a lot of elements, and I hope they blend together well.
Poured into a glass, the first thing that I notice is the generous amount of carbonation – not only in the large foamy head but all down the sides of the body. It doesn’t lead to much lacing, though. The color of the liquid is actually a bit more typical than I expected, a hazy gold with just a tiny shade of red, perhaps from the monk fruit.
There aren’t a ton of surprises to the aroma. I get a strong combination of lemon and blueberry, with the tart lemon definitely taking the driver’s seat. The best thing is that these scents are both very proud, eliminating any concerns that this offering might lack a bold flavor profile. It’s hard to find other elements on the nose underneath those dominant scents, though.
The appearance and aroma both have me optimistic about what this beer will taste like. But there are still a lot of ways that an experiment like this could go wrong. The only way to find out if it does and answer the question, “Is Dogfish Head Lemon Quest good?” is by digging in.
Is Dogfish Head Lemon Quest Good?
I feel kind of foolish that this didn’t dawn on me earlier, but I want to be honest with all of you. It isn’t a facsimile of a sour nor a seltzer. It’s a shandy. Duh. My first reaction upon tasting is that this beer tastes quite similar to Leinenkugel’s Lemon Shandy (which many people will argue isn’t a real shandy), except this is better in my opinion.
I don’t know exactly how to explain this phenomenon, but it just tastes more natural. It seems very evident to me that these flavor elements are coming from the fruits themselves rather than any artificial sweeteners. The lemon bursts through on the taste buds and is followed nicely by both the blueberry and acai. On the back end, I really get that kick of salt that kind of reminds me of a nice, refreshing cerveza.
All of these strong flavors do have a minor downside, though, as this beer comes in at 90 calories per can, a pretty high total for an NA. But I think that is a tradeoff worth making. Some of the real health nuts might disagree. On the bright side, this leads to a nice full body that has none of that thinness often found in non-alcoholic brews.
The tart lemon easily could have gone over the top, but it doesn’t. Likewise, the sweetness isn’t overpowering or syrupy at all. Everything balances out so nicely and stays solid throughout the tasting. Even the finish is crisp, a real pleasant finding after all that character.
Spoiler alert: my final Dogfish Head Lemon Quest rating is going to be high. I simply can’t find much wrong with it. But make sure to finish reading to find out just how high that grade ends up being.
Dogfish Head Lemon Quest Rating
I have to admit that this beer did take me by surprise just a little bit. But that was solely due to some mindlessness on my part. It had been a long time since I enjoyed a shandy, and while I know that isn’t technically what this brew is, it is a very approachable mimic. It is a shame that summer has come to an end before I got a chance to sample this beer, because I definitely would have enjoyed sipping a few during hot days on the lake or at the beach. It provides plenty of refreshment, and while drinkable, there is a big enough profile that you won’t be compelled to tear through them all day long.
I could see this being a favorite for those who aren’t exactly the biggest beer fans, but it still does have that underlying wheat character to prevent snobs from looking down their nose at it. Plain and simple, it is delicious and original and does it all without the booze. It will not shock you to learn that I have decided to end this Dogfish Head Lemon Questin review by awarding it a full 5 out of 5 stars. It was worth they weight to try the first NA option from this brewing giant.