Is it a Kölsch-style beer, or a Double IPA? This is the question Dogfish Head wants its fans to ponder while drinking its newest concoction, The Perfect Disguise. Like so many Dogfish Head beers, the new brew’s unconventional ingredients purposely blur accepted beer norms to stand out on shelves.
But we at Cigar Aficionado have a more pertinent question: Does the new beer pair well with a handmade cigar? With a decidedly fruit-forward flavor and a malty backbone, the short answer is yes.
On paper, The Perfect Disguise seems like it should be a Kölsch, as it’s brewed partially with with pilsner malt, typical for the style. In the glass, however, Perfect Disguise pours like many Double IPAs: hazy. This is because Perfect Disguise is unfiltered and has been dry hopped twice with nearly four pounds of German and American hops.
Additionally, the beer is also brewed with German chit malt, which is barley grain that hasn’t gone through the complete malting process. The chit malt adds body to Perfect Disguise and gives it a creamier mouthfeel that’s far from a standard Kölsch and closer to a Double IPA.
Still, there’s a pleasant crispness to the beer’s finish, which is a sign it could be a Kölsch. But then again at 8 percent alcohol by volume with a fruity, hoppy aroma, it may be closer to a Double IPA.
Regardless, the fact remains that Perfect Disguise is a great beer to pair with a handmade cigar. In particular, we recommend a smoke that falls in the mild to medium range, as a full-bodied smoke will likely clash with the hops of the brew.
Dogfish Head The Perfect Disguise (8 percent abv., $14.99/6-pack)
Appearance: Pours a hazy golden straw color, with a rich white foam that reforms with a gentle swirl of the glass.
Aroma: Loads of citrus hit the nose, with some faint floral and grassy notes.
Palate: Packed full of citrus fruit from the start, with orange and mango hitting the tongue. As the brew spreads in the mouth, cantaloupe and peach notes appear before the chit malt shows, delivering fresh sage. Finish is creamy and crisp at the same time.
Cigar Pairing: Laranja Reserva Lancero (91 points) The cigar’s breadiness plays well with the sage from the beer, while the orange peel notes from the smoke are amplified by the citrus notes from the beer. This creates a wonderful creamsicle effect in the mouth. Solid pairing.