Music and beer belong together--anyone who has been to a show or festival and crushed a few cold ones can attest to that fact. That’s why October is bringing its second annual celebration of beer, music and food, OctFest, to New York City on September 8 and 9. Over 20 acts and 90 breweries will team up to rock out Governors Island for an unforgettable mashup of music and beer.
But maybe you want to enjoy a music and beer mash-up but aren’t the festival type. Enter OctFest headliner The Flaming Lips, who teamed up with Dogfish Head Brewery to brew a collaboration pale ale Dragons and YumYums. The beer features dragon fruit, yumberry, passion fruit, pear and black carrot juice, but this collaboration was about more than just beer. The Flaming Lips released a two track vinyl record for Record Store day featuring elements of the beer in each song.
Even the bottle art is carefully crafted to combine elements of psychedelia while remaining true to the style of Dogfish Head labeling. While the collaboration went the extra mile to cross over from collab beer to collab music, the question remained: Is a beer with all of these adjuncts even any good?
It’s a great beer to lead off a summer afternoon, but one you will quickly move on from after one or two due to the abundance of flavor and sweetness.”
Setting out to answer just that question, I poured a bottle of Dragons and YumYums into my glass. The appearance definitely requires keeping an open mind as the look more closely resembles rose champagne than beer. Big bubbles rise through the pink hued body to a substantial if quickly fading white head.
The appearance in no way foreshadows the aroma. Dragons and YumYums smells like a fruity pale ale with the additions of dragon fruit, yumberry, passion fruit and pear juice dominating the nose. Underneath, a hint of tea creeps out, which I’m guessing may be how the black carrot juice is presenting to my nose. It is a complex aroma, but make no mistake, this bubbly pink beverage smells like a beer.
It’s obvious off the first taste why this is an April to August release for Dogfish Head. Dragons and YumYums is bright and refreshing, with big notes of sweet tropical fruit that are balanced by earthy and resinous undertones. I taste more of the pear addition than was present in the nose, while the tea-like quality from the aroma has stuck around. I’m almost sure it’s stemming from the black carrot, as it seems to be bringing the earthy and herbal notes I’m picking up.
All of this flavor plays over a light body that makes Dragons and YumYums highly quaffable. It can get a little sweet as it warms, which certainly slows me down. It’s a great beer to lead off a summer afternoon, but one you will quickly move on from after one or two due to the abundance of flavor and sweetness. You are going to enjoy that one or two though. I believe if a brewer is going to add this many adjuncts, each better have a purpose and be present in the final product. Dogfish Head and The Flaming Lips achieve that balance with Dragons and YumYums.
If you like beer, then you'll love OctFest. Join October at its second annual beer and music festival in New York City on September 8 and 9. Tickets are on sale now.