We’ll head back across the pond for this brewery review and it’s one that gained some transatlantic recognition recently when it was linked to the story regarding Google employee’s attempt to brew their own beer. The story was of course true, although Google is not planning to storm the brewing industry, it’s only a one-off, limited edition beer.
Dogfish Head is a well-established brewery in Milton, Delaware; it was founded in 1995
and following some years of gradual growth, the company suddenly went into expansion overdrive in 2003, increasing output by 400% by 2006. The man behind the brewery is Sam Calagione and chose the name after an area of Maine called Dogfish Head where he spent holidays as a child.
The attitude and outlook of Dogfish Head could be compared to that of the Brewdog brewery in Scotland (brewer of some of the world’s strongest beers) in that experimental and occasionally very strong beers are not unusual. Dogfish’s brews have been known to reach 20% abv and the brewery refers to these as “off-centered ales for off-centered people.” Even the staple brews where Dogfish makes most of it’s sales are relatively strong. Dogfish produces dozens of regular and seasonal brews so we’ll just mention a couple of them here.
The India Pale Ales are what we’re referring to when we talk about the biggest sellers for Dogfish. Depending on your point of view they are named creatively or unimaginatively (we plump for the former) and are as follows:
- 60 Minute IPA – a “hoppy, citrusy, grassy brew”, 6.0 abv.
- 90 minute IPA – “brandied fruitcake, raisiny, citrusy”, named by Esquire Magazine as “perhaps the best IPA in America”. 9.0 abv.
- 120 minute IPA – “too extreme to be called beer”, this brewer between 15% and 20% abv. It’s also a seasonal offering.
Although there are many more beers available just as part of the IPA offerings, the three mentioned above tend to get the coverage, probably because of the name. The timings actually refer to the amount of time the wort is boiled while hops are added to the mixture. The longer the length of time, the bitterer the taste of the final product will be. There is also a 75 minute IPA brewed very occasionally which includes maple syrup as part of the recipe.
Dogfish has notably been the driving force behind the brewing of ‘Ancient Ales’, an attempt to brew ales using residue left behind on drinking vessels which have been unearthed from archaeological digs. In collaboration with Dr. Pat McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania, four recipes have been extracted and brewed to date as follows:
- Midas Touch Golden Elixir – from the 8th century BC tomb of King Midas in Greece
- Chateau Jiahu – from 7th century BC Central China
- Theobromo – from 12th century BC Honduras
- Ta Henket – from ancient Egypt
Dogfish also operates a superb brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware called the Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats. It contains Delaware’s only (legal) distillery. This venue is also the only place where you’ll be able to sample the ancient Egyptian brew, Ta Henket.