Dogfish Head “Brewings and Eats” Re-opening
I had the pleasure of visiting one of my most favorite breweries in the country, Dogfish Head, in Rehoboth, DE. Their main production facility is in Milton, DE, but for me, the attraction was the brew pub near the beach. My father and I set out late morning, taking the historic Highway 1, two hours south from New Jersey. I feel I have now seen the triple crown of brew pubs, as I have been to Three Floyds, Stone World Bistro, and now Dogfish Head.
As we pulled up, I noticed the beach house theme, and their famous logo. When we walked in, it was pretty full, but there was room at the large bar, while we waited. When I asked for a beer list, I was pointed to their ceiling, as they have large wooden fish signs with their current tap selections. Because I had yet to eat, I took it easy, and had a fresh 60 Minute IPA. Oh what heaven that was. Smelled great, and tasted even better. My father had the Chicory Stout. He enjoyed it tremendously, I thought it was too sweet for my liking.
Before we could finish our first pint, we were seated. The young man at the front let the manager Jason know that I was there, to cover the re-opening of the brew pub. As we were ordering our food, he came out, and struck up a great conversation with my dad and I. He informed me the renovations were to fix the leaky roof and the duct work. He was happy that we were happy, and offered an “off the beaten path” sampler for us, when we finished our meal. My dad ordered a garden salad, and it passed his test. He really can pick apart a salad, and this met the white glove test. He ordered a hamburger with fries, and I ordered a crab cake sandwich with fries. Again, he was impressed, and the beer had already given him the munchies. The menu and website touts the use of their wood fire grill. I am not sure if the roll or the crab cake crossed that wood grill, but it had the most wonderful smoked flavor. The fries were thick, and had an interesting batter. Speaking of batter, we shared an order of beer battered onion rings. The seasoning they used were out of this world. Tons of garlic from what I could tell. We were nothing but smiles.
For my next beer, I had my favorite DFH brew, 90 Minute IPA. This wasn’t your regular 90 Minute IPA, as this was pumped through this device called the “Randall The Enamel Animal.” In short, the 90 Minute IPA was passed through this huge bong of hop leaves to give an extra level of hoppy goodness. As the smiles continued, Jason the manager made good on the special sampler.
My father is old school. Beer to him is a traditional light lager or German pilsner. The five samples we got totally reshaped his definition of what a beer can be. We got Surrender Monkey, a Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale, that had flavors of honey, herbs, and really impressed us. The next one was Theobroma, another fruit, honey infused brew, with chiles. This was a strong one, but was too sweet for my liking. Then we had Midas Touch Golden Elixer. The theme of this sampler was the infused brews, and this one was no exception. A strong, sweet, flavorful concoction. Red and White was after that. This by far, was my favorite in the sampler. It is a witt beer infused with Pinot Noir grapes. I think I could drink that one all day. The last was the Chicory Stout my dad had earlier. We both didn’t bother with that, because we both new what it tasted like, and I didn’t care for it the first time.
After the sampler, Jason found us in a euphoric state, and showed us the brewing gear and the distilling equipment. Turns out they are using converted dairy equipment. He is a good man, who gave me great insight on to the vibe they try to convey to their customers, and how much love goes into everything they do. After that, my dad threw in the towel for beer, but I had to try Raison D’Etre. A wonderful strong Belgium style that went down easy, even as high in alcohol as it was.
We squared up, and I proceeded to the take out area to score some bottles and merchandise. They sell small quantities of vintage bottles, so I scored myself and Evan some 2006 Midas Touch. I got some Burton Baton and Aprihop to take back to California with me. All and all, this was one of my best beer experiences to date.