Not known for many tourist attractions, Delaware might not be a state you’d plan a vacation to. But beer drinkers should reconsider. After visiting Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, DE I’d be happy to make another visit! Having only had their 60 Minute IPA before, I was pleasantly surprised with my experience at the first brewery established in The First State.
Dogfish Head’s founder, Sam Calagione, had every intention of becoming a writer. He even went to college for it. Or at least until he discovered home-brewing while working in New York. He ditched his dreams of writing pages and decided to write history instead by creating Delaware’s very first brewery.
Sam’s original continuous hopping machine, “Sir Hops a Lot”
Dogfish Head’s current hopping system is a little more efficient
What Sam is best know for is his one-of-a-kind “continuous hopping” technique. He learned that to properly pepper a soup, you add pepper every few minutes as not to let other flavors override if added only at the beginning, or overpower all other flavors by adding it at the very end. Sam figured that adding hops to beer should be a similar process. While everybody else was adding hops at the beginning and end of the process, Sam made a DIY contraption to hop his beers as they were being brewed. This creates a more balanced flavor of hops in Dogfish Head’s brews.
Dogfish Head operates under the motto that we should all make decisions based on our experiences. We don’t have to like every experience, but we should be open to having them to be able to decide for ourselves. There’s even a larger-than-life Emerson quote on the side of the brewery to remind employees and visitors alike.
Although DH is one of the smaller nationwide craft breweries, it still pumps out massive quantities of the goods. Our tour guide, Kim, told us that this warehouse is about 2 weeks worth of product. They do a great job of getting it out of their stockroom because “it puts it in your belly faster.”
Sam’s “secret stash” of aged beers and part of an intruder
After touring the buildings where the magic is made, we had to stop by their taproom for a tasting.
Here are some of our favorites:
Chocolate Lobster (5.6%): This chocolate porter tastes exactly as it sounds —DELICIOUS
Pennsylvania Tuxedo (8.5%): Seasonal collaboration with Woolrich made with lemon grass, orange slices, and spruce
Midas Touch (9%): Sweet golden ale — a staple of the Dogfish Head brand
Siracusa Nera (10%): Russian imperial stout aged in oak
SeaQuench Ale (4.9%): Made with lime peel, lime juice, and sea salt, it’s a tangy kick in the mouth — would be great for sipping next to a body of water
Burton Baton (10%): Imperial IPA aged in oak — the most popular among the employees, and for good reason.
A visit to Dogfish Brewery in Milton, DE should be on every beer drinker’s bucket list. If not for delicious beer, then for the chance to go up in the steam punk treehouse in the front yard!