Category Archives: Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head’s Shippy Shipperton is My Homeboy

Dogfish Head Shippy Shipperton

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and its founder Sam Calagione. The number one reason for that: Its quality brews.  I buy a lot of Dogfish beer, but I also support the company in a number of additional ways. I frequently recommend the brewery to those who might not be familiar with it. And I purchase a variety of Dogfish products, including glassware, t-shirts, soaps and shampoo, even Christmas ornaments.

One of my favorite things about Dogfish is its sense of humor. For example, I always crack up when I look at the Dogfish logo on the four pack of its Halloween-themed Punkin Ale and on the Punkin four pack—note the fangs. And whenever I place an order, the return address on my package makes me crack a smile.

Dogfish Punkin Ale logo

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Drink Beer, Think Beer

Washington Irving with Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

“They who drink beer will think beer.” – Washington Irving

That Washington Irving, man, he was one smart motherfucker. The more beer I drink, the more I think about beer. I can’t get my mind off of the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA I picked up during my lunch break, and it’s not helping me get any work done.

I think Irving’s principle could also be applied to chicken wings—he who eats chicken wings thinks chicken wings—because I had some buffalo wings last Sunday, and I’ve been fantasizing about those spicy bastards ever since.

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Tips on How to Age Beer, from Dogfish Head

Cantillon Bottles Aging

Bottles of beer aging at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels, Belgium

Last summer, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery posted an informative story with five tips on how to age beer. At the time, I glanced over it quickly, but I honestly wasn’t really thinking too much about aging brews at that point. Since then, I’ve built up my beer “cellar,” which is really just a big-ass cabinet built into the wall in my apartment, and I’ve spend quite a bit of time identifying and amassing beers that should age well.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Dogfish Head’s tips on how to age beer:

  1. A little experimentation goes a long way
  2. Don’t underestimate fresh
  3. High-alcohol beers tend to age better
  4. Storage matters
  5. Beer won’t spoil

After doing a lot of experimenting of my own, the first two steps really stand out to me. I’ve learned that the best way to really see and taste the difference between aged beer and “young” beer is to collect different “vintages” of each of them, and then do side-by-side taste tests. For example, I have bottles of this year’s Dogfish Worldwide Stout and 120 Minute IPA, both of which have very high ABVs, and both of which are particularly well suited for aging. I don’t plan on drinking either of them until I can get 2013 versions of each beer, at least, and probably not until I collect 2014 bottles, too. I’ve had Worldwide Stout and 120 Minute IPA numerous times in the past, but never along with different vintages, and it’s hard to remember their complex subtleties.

I’ve also learned that as a general rule of thumb, hoppy beers and beers made with fruit tend to taste better fresh and probably don’t make the best candidates for aging. There are some exceptions, of course—120 Minute IPA is intensely hoppy and some Belgian beers made with cherries or other berries can age well over a number of years. Many people think IPAs age well, because they were originally sent by the British Army to soldiers in India and were thought to age better than normal pale ales. But that was due to the increase in ABV, and I’d bet those IPAs didn’t exactly taste fresh after their long voyages.

Read more specifics from Dogfish Head’s Quality Control Manager Rebecca Newman on the brewer’s website.

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Image via Flickr user Travlr

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New Dogfish Ancient Ale, Etrusca, Coming in December

Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca Bronze Ancient Ale

Dogfish Head on Friday announced via Twitter that the latest beer in its Ancient Ales series, called Etrusca, is currently being bottled, and it will hit beer-store shelves in December.

The idea behind Dogfish’s Ancient Ales is to recreate lost styles of beer from ancient times, using recipes and ingredients that are close as possible to those originally used by their brewers.

Dr. Pat McGovern and Sam Calagione Discuss Etrusca

Dr. Pat McGovern and Sam Calagione Discuss Etrusca

Here’s a description of the new, 8.5% ABV brew, from Dogfish:

“This Ancient Ale proves that beside the wine on every Italian’s dinner table, there should also be a place for beer.

“To develop the recipe for Birra Etrusca Bronze, Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione traveled to Rome with molecular archaeologist Dr. Pat McGovern. With the help of Birreria Brother Brewers Leo DeVencenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Baladin, they analyzed drinking vessels found in 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs.

“The backbone of Birra Etrusca comes from two-row malted barley and an heirloom Italian wheat. Specialty ingredients include hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey. A handful of whole-flower hops are added, but the bulk of the bitterness comes from gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin.

“Birra del Borgo and Baladin also will brew a version of Birra Etrusca, and to add complexity and variety, each brewery will ferment its batches with different traditional materials. Dogfish will use bronze, Baladin will use wood, and Birra del Borgo will use terra cotta.”

I appreciate what Dogfish Founder Sam Calagione and his “beer archiologist” buddy Dr. Pat McGovern are trying to do with these Ancient Ales, and I love how Dogfish is always experimenting with new beers and ingredients. (Beer Advocate magazine recently mocked Calagione and McGovern in an amusing comic strip.)

Read more about Dogfish Head’s Birra Estrusca Ancient Ale on the brewery’s website.

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Dogfish’s Calagione, Dr. Pat McGovern Lampooned in Comic Strip

Sam Calagione Dr. Pat McGovern Comic Beer Advocate

I’m a huge fan of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and I appreciate what Dogfish Founder Sam Calagione and Dr. Patrick McGovern, the famed archaeologist, do. But it’s also kind of fucking weird. So I must admit, I got a kick out of the following comic strip by Arne Frantzell, which appears in this month’s issue of Beer Advocate magazine. If you’re not familiar with Calagione and McGovern’s work, read this article on SmithsonianMag.com and check out Dogfish’s Ancient Ales page. (Beer Advocate mag is also now available in a cool digital edition for Android devices, and I strongly recommend it.)

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Zombies Love Good Beer Too (Dogfish Head ‘They’re Alive!’ Video)

The good folks at Dogfish Head just posted this amusing, if slightly corny, Zombie-themed Halloween video that appears to have been filmed at its Milton, Delaware brewery. The message of the video—besides, Happy Halloween—is that Dogfish’s bottle conditioned beers (Namaste, My Antonia and 75 Minute IPA) are “alive,” meaning they’re each bottled with live yeast, and they evolve and change over time in the bottles.

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

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  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

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Image via TheGranarySA.com

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Dogfish Head and The Grateful Dead Announce ‘American Beauty’ Pale Ale, Solicit Ingredient Ideas from Boozy Deadheads

Dogfish Head Grateful Dead American Beauty Imperial Pale Ale

Yesterday, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced a new collaboration between it and The Grateful Dead, the 60s jam band that just won’t quit. (I didn’t even know that any of those dudes were still alive until Phil Lesh and Bob Weir sang the national anthem at the Cardinals/Giants MLB NCLS game on Monday.)

From Dogfish Head’s website:

“Working in that happy place between creative ideas and like-minded people, the off-centered brewery and free-spirited band have been trading ideas for a beer they’re calling ‘American Beauty.’ They’ve settled on a strong pale ale with all-American hops and barley, and now they’re asking their loyal fans to suggest a special ingredient – and the Dead-inspired story behind it.”

The idea is for Deadheads to suggest ingredients that have some sort of Grateful-Dead-related sentimental value to them that would work well in a strong pale ale.

More from Dogfish:

“Did you trade a bushel of fresh clementines for tickets to a two-night-stand at Long Beach Arena? Or maybe your dad first laid eyes on your mom sipping a cup of green tea in the parking lot of the legendary Cornell ‘77 show? Jog your memory, tell the story, and suggest the ingredient at the heart of that story. You could help bring this counterculture collaboration to life.”

I’m not a Dead fan, and the only two Dead songs I can think of are Scarlet Begonias and Casey Jones. I guess the begonias could work as a beer ingredient, but I’m guessing Dogfish won’t want to use cocaine. Deadheads interested in offering up legitimate suggestions should check the Dogfish website in the future for additional details. The American Beauty beer is expected to be available on tap and in bottles in October 2013.

Dogfish Head and its Founder Sam Calagione have participated in quite a few collaborations recently, including Liquid Breadfruit, which it made along with Maui Brewing Co., and Rhizing Bines, which it’s in the process of making with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The brewery has worked with other brewers on limited release beers for years, but it seems like Dogfish is ramping up its collaboration efforts.

For more on Dogfish and Calagione, read “5 Funky Facts I Learned about Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Business Book” and “Sam Calagione on the Difference between Beer Snobs and Beer Geeks.”

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5 Funky Facts I Learned About Dogfish Head from Founder Sam Calagione’s Business Book

Dogfish Sam Calagione book Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Founder and President Sam Calagione is an interesting guy.

In addition to being a boundary-breaking craft brewer and entrepreneur, Calagione recorded a hip hop album in 2003. (Seriously, he and Dogfish Head brewer Bryan Selders form The Pain Relievaz. See the video clip below. Note: I never said it was a good hip hop album.) Calagione has a college degree in English, though he was kicked out of high school in Western Massachusetts and never received a high school degree. He was a Levi’s model. He literally changed the laws in Delaware in order to open the original Dogfish Head brewhouse, which was the first brewery in the nation’s first state. You get the point.

I know these things because I just finished reading Calagione’s small-business oriented book, Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Calagione’s book is really about how to prepare to launch a small business and then make it successful, so it’s not for all craft beer aficionados. You’ll probably need some degree of interest in small business or entrepreneurship to get the most out it. But I’m no business owner or entrepreneur, and I really enjoyed the book because I’m a huge Dogfish Head fan, and it’s full of little-known facts and anecdotes about Dogfish and Calagione.

Here’s a quick list of five of the more notable things I learned from Brewing Up a Business. I don’t want to spoil the book, so I’ve only listed a handful of facts, but it’s packed with many more details that are sure to be appreciated by fans of Dogfish Head and Calagione:

1) Calagione was on the Ricki Lake show, and Lake tasted the first beer he ever brewed. That first beer was a pale ale made with cherries. And Ricki Lake attended the party he held to taste it shortly after he appeared on Lake’s show.

2) Dogfish made a malt liquor called Liquor de Malt, to prove it could make a better in that style than the established 40-ounce makers. Liquor de Malt was packaged in a 40-ounce bottle that came with a hand-stamped, Dogfish brown bag.

Dogfish Head Liquor de Malt malt liquor 40 ounce

3) Dogfish fans visiting coastal Delaware who want the ultimate brewery and brewpub tour can participant in the Dogfish Head 360 Degree Experience, which includes a hotel room at a local inn that’s customized with Dogfish memorabilia, meals at the brew pub and a boat ride to the Dogfish brewery, where they’ll receive tours and tastings.

4) Dogfish’s second most popular beer behind its 60 Minute IPA, Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, was originally packaged in a bomber bottle that was graced with an image of a circus freak jamming a nail up his nose. Shortly after 90 Minute IPA was released,  the photographer who took the image contacted Calagione to complain about unfair use. He wasn’t pleased until Dogfish sent him a bunch of beer and promised never to use the image again.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA original label

5) A 50-barrel brewery system Dogfish outgrew and sold in 2008 is now used by one of my favorite brewers, Northern California’s Russian River Brewing Co., makers of the elusive Pliny the Elder IPA.

The first edition of Calagione’s book was published in 2005, but it was revised and updated in 2010. Surf on over to Amazon.com, where the paperback and digital Kindle editions both cost less than $11.00.

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Images via SarahForst.com, BeerAdvocate.com

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Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione on the Difference Between Beer Geeks and Beer Snobs

Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione

Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione

I’m currently reading a cool, business-oriented book by Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione, called “Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.”

I plan to write up a review after I finish the book, but a passage that contains Calagione’s take on “beer geeks” versus “beer snobs” really caught my attention.

From the book:

“At Dogfish Head we are beer geeks, not beer snobs. This means we love and respect all good beer and realize that appreciating beer is subjective….Beer snobs are the people who want to prove how much they know about beer by bashing a brewery.”

There’s definitely a difference between beer geeks and beer snobs. Beer snobs are more concerned with convincing people that they’re knowledgeable about beer than they are with just enjoying drinking beer. And they’re often aggressive and condescending. Just visit any beer forum or website, and you’ll see just what I mean.

Beer geeks are passionate, and they like to talk beer with other passionate drinkers, but they’re less concerned with what those other folks think about them or their opinions on brewing.

I’m not a beer geek or a beer snob. I’m a “beer nerd.”

So where do beer nerds fit into the equation? I think we fall somewhere in the middle. I’m not aggressive when it comes to beer or beer knowledge, but I admit I kind of look down on the guy who walks into a beer bar that offers tons of great beers and orders a bottle of Bud Light. I also admit to harboring some degree of resentment for breweries like Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors, for the same reason that I resent companies such as Wal-Mart and Target—they purposefully try to eliminate competition, and they value quantity over quality.

That said, I honestly believe people should drink whatever they like. So if you like Bud Light, I say cheers—but I also say Bud Light sucks.

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Image via BeerandWhiskeyBros.com

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