Beer Of The Week: Dogfish Head Suddenly Comfy is apple cobbler in a glass

Illustration for article titled Beer Of The Week: Dogfish Head Suddenly Comfy is apple cobbler in a glass
Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Fall is the best beer-drinking season, hands down. Summer is when beer sales are highest, but for my money, I’ll take fall’s brown and amber ales, porters, and even pumpkin beers any day. After a summer of easy-drinking lagers, it’s comforting to cozy up with something a little boozy and spicy. Dogfish Head’s new Suddenly Comfy—a new imperial cream ale brewed with apple juice, cinnamon, allspice, and Madagascar vanilla beans—could not be more aptly named.


Pouring this beer is like opening the oven on a warming pie: Vanilla is the dominant aroma, backed by cinnamon and other baking spices, and graham cracker. The fruit notes aren’t straightforwardly apple juice, but apple, pear, and even golden raisins. It’s inviting, autumnal, cozy.

The flavor delivers on the aroma’s promise: it’s like liquid apple cobbler. Vanilla and cinnamon lead the charge, and the vanilla clicks with some of the cream ale’s malts to suggest caramel. Spiced pear and apple notes hang in the background, not overwhelming the vanilla and cinnamon up front. As sweet as these associations are, this beer isn’t too saccharine or syrupy. The cream ale base supplies just enough of an unobtrusive, bready base to carry the spices, which linger just a bit after the sip alongside a gentle alcohol warmth on the tongue (thanks to the beer’s 8% ABV).

Suddenly Comfy isn’t a beer I’d drink an entire six-pack of, but it would be a great dessert beer alongside a bowl of vanilla ice cream or as a brunch beer with cinnamon rolls. If you’re a fan of mulled cider, apple desserts, or oatmeal cookies, keep an eye out for this beer. And if you missed the news of Dogfish Head’s merger with Boston Beer Co./Sam Adams, it’s time to get caught up.

Where to get it

Dogfish Head Suddenly Comfy is available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles through December across Dogfish Head’s 45-state distribution.

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Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Spamfeller Loves Nazis

Perfect timing with this one, Kate! I had mine on Sunday.

I definitely agree 100% with the notes on the nose, but, well. I don’t know. Remember that I’m a sipper, so I’ll take my beer out at about 45F and it’ll warm over the next two hours. This is fine with most beers and they don’t mind too much.

But this one was different. The flavors were very up front with a pleasant complexity and excellent mouthfeel. So the initial taste was good enough that I would even dare to compare with something from Southern Tier. (And you know how big and direct their flavors are.)

But as it warmed, it turned into something else. Not entirely unpleasant, but also not pleasant. The apple faded into overwhelming spices that just wanted to punch me in the tongue, and the alcohol taste picked way up. I’ve had 14%ers with less alcohol punch than the last quarter of this one had.

Still, with that cream ale base, they definitely made the right choice. If you can keep it colder or drink it faster, this definitely is a solid entry in the dessert beers. It’s much lighter than the stouts you usually see, but it definitely doesn’t sacrifice on the flavor, nor is the base completely overpowering like the terrible attempts at IPA dessert beers. The cream ale base definitely serves as the whipped cream to this apple pie. And Dogfish definitely leveraged their knowledge of complex spicing very well here. (See: Indian Brown.)

So all that said, I think I’d give it a conditional recommendation myself. You need to either put down an 8%er while it’s still cold (not always a good idea,) or be able to keep it below probably 50F the whole time you’re drinking to really enjoy it. I’m very hopeful though that with some tweaks, Dogfish can get this as sippable as their Indian Brown.