Friday, August 23, 2013

What kind of beer is Dwarven Ale?

The foaming mug emblem of
Clan Battlehammer,
the dwarves of
R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels.
It's Friday; I just got home and poured myself a beer.  

I spent part of the day today working on the campaign I'm hoping to run sometime soon--God willing that I have the time--and one of the major NPCs is a dwarf clan leader.  Campaign kind'a needs a macguffin.  Anyway, it occurred to me that this dwarf clan might brew beer, that dwarves are famous for their brewing, and that I have no idea what Dwarven Ale, famous as it is, actually looks or tastes like.

Now, my first thought was that obviously dwarves must brew stouts, but as I'm thinking about it, I realized that doesn't work.  Dwarven ale is always described as being foamy, and there aren't a lot of stouts that have a lot of head.  Barrel-aged stout in particular is only gonna give you a tiny amount of head--half a finger if you're lucky--so, well, stout is out.  Meanwhile, hefeweizen can give you plenty of head, but do dwarves grow wheat?  And anyway, wheat beer is not all that strong.  Doesn't really seem appropriate. 

So...?  Maybe a white IPA, with the extra hops meant to keep the beer fresh for travel?  Double IPA?  Maybe a brown ale double-fermented in metal casks?

These are the kinds of questions that drive me crazy when I write.

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