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Thirsty Thursday: Dewey Beer Company’s Secret Machine Triple Double

Photo by Ed Miller

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.

Having done this column for close to two years now, some of my friends ask me if I want them to bring me back beer when they go on vacation or on a brewery pilgrimage.  The answer is always yes, at least if it’s a spot I haven’t highlighted, so I can review it – and that’s exactly the case this week.  A friend of mine took a weekend trip right before COVID-19 hit, grabbed me a unique beer he thought was quite different and held onto it for a while until he could drop it off. Don’t worry, it’s a beer that can survive just a little longer in a can than most others.  So, what is this week’s beer you ask?  Well, it’s Secret Machine Triple Double from Dewey Beer Company.

Founded in 2015 by Scot Kaufman, Mike Reilly and Brandon Smith, Dewey Beer Company is a 3,000-square-foot brewery located in the Delaware beach town of the same name.  Known for its signature variety of fruited sours, potent fruit-forward beer that looks like slushies, Dewey Beer has built a name for itself and has slowly transitioned into a destination beer spot thanks to its centralized location between both Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.  But Delaware has also taken notice, as earlier this year the craft beer company was named the top-ranked brewery in the first state.

Like most breweries, Dewey Beer is currently doing curbside pick-up.

Dewey Beer runs on a rotating limited release model but there’s always at least one or two of the brewery’s sours on that list. That’s why people flock to it. There’s even a calendar on their website focusing on upcoming releases and events so drinkers know when to plan their trip to the brewery.  At the center of Dewey Beer’s releases is an ongoing series of fruited sours called Secret Machine and with more than 25 variations currently listed on BeerAdvocate, they’ve dabbled with many different flavors.  Secret Machine Triple Double is one of those variants.  It’s a hefty 9.0 percent raspberry, blueberry and blackberry fruited sour in which Dewey Beer “took one of our favorite Secret Machines, doubled down on all of the fruit and turned up the ABV.”  When I checked out Dewey Beer’s Instagram account, I could immediately tell it’s unlike anything I’ve had.

The label of Triple Double is fairly simple, with a white background and the name prominently featured at the top.  It also has three gear-looking shapes in the middle that are oozing with shades of purple, pink and red, perhaps to mark the prominent fruit flavors found in this effort?  It gives the alcohol content but otherwise doesn’t explain a whole lot about what drinker’s are about to consume.  That’s a little bit of a bummer as someone who enjoys reading the information on the label.

Now, let’s delve into this one.  When I cracked it open, how could I not smell it?  What I got was exactly as advertised on the label, a pungent array of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry – almost like some sort of jam.  I also noticed a little undertone of that distinct sour aroma, you know, the one that’s usually found in a well-constructed sour beer.  After that came the pour and I will fully admit, this was not my best job as I angled it into my 16-ounce tulip glass, spilling just a smidge in the process.  It poured a vibrant plum-burgundy color and with a little less head than I anticipated, though some of that could’ve been the pour and the fact that this beer had been sitting on my friend’s counter for about two months or so.  Still, I though the carbonation was solid but. let’s be honest, that’s not the most important characteristic when it comes to a definitively fruity sour like this one.

Triple Double definitely leans more on the heavy-mouthfeel, with thick texture that I would say is a little on the ample syrup side of things, kind of like a frutified stout.  The best way to describe it is if you’ve had Dogfish Head Brewery’s 120 Minute IPA – it reminded me of that.  As far as the flavor is concerned, there’s a ton of the three berries that are the focal point and an underlying tartness that simply gets swallowed up by the sweetness.  I would’ve liked to see a little more balance with the sour tartness and the sweet that shines through it. I’m sure the more scaled back, less ABV, Secret Machine efforts would be a little more my speed.

I found it to be a little sweet, stemming too far from what attracts me to a more traditional beer. I love a good sour but I need the undertones of the hops and wheat to help define it and I didn’t get there here.  I will say, if you’re sitting out on the beach, this is something you could probably sip on all day long – or if you’re someone who gravitates more towards sweet cocktails or spiked seltzers, this one will give you a beer you can enjoy and discuss with all of the beer nerds in the group.

This 16-ounce can comes in four-packs for $19, which is pretty standard and deserving of that price.  Even when a beer doesn’t strike my palate, I can still tell if it’s well-crafted – and this one is well-crafted.  According to BeerAdvocate, there’s no site score for Secret Machine Triple Double and just one in the rating category, giving it a 4.5 average.  I would go much lower on this one, giving it a 5.8 out of 10.  It’s just not for me but if that’s how innovative and well-done their fruited sour is, I need to try something that aligns more with my taste.  Don’t worry Dewey Beer, you have not heard the last of me.

Stay tuned next week, because I might try something from your favorite brewery.