I’ve used this before, but Dogfish Head tells their tale much better than I…
“The story of Dogfish Head began in June of 1995 when we opened Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the first state’s first brewpub opened in the resort beach community of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The plan was to bring original beer, original food, and original music to the area.
Not only was Dogfish Head Delaware’s first brewpub, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America. Our very first batch, Shelter Pale Ale, was brewed on a system which essentially was three little kegs with propane burners underneath. Brewing 12–gallon batches of beer for a whole restaurant proved to be more than a full time job. When the doors to the pub first opened, we brewed three times a day, five days a week! The one benefit to brewing on such a small system was the ability to try out a myriad of different recipes. We quickly got bored brewing the same things over and over – that’s when we started adding all sorts of weird ingredients and getting kind of crazy with the beers!
The beer wasn’t the brewpub’s only draw. The pub’s menu centered on a wood-burning grill. We soon became known as the place to enjoy fresh grilled seafood, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. The wood–burning grill imparts a unique flavor to everything on the menu, whether it’s a hearty sandwich, a delicate piece of fish or our signature pizza dough.
With the popularity of the pub growing, it was quickly apparent that the 12–gallon brewery would not keep up with demand. We built a new brewery and underwent a thirty-fold expansion of the brew house!
The reputation of Dogfish Head ales quickly grew beyond Delaware’s borders. Calls from Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and beyond poured in, as thirsty restaurant patrons demanded their favorite beach beer at home. We began bottling our Shelter Pale Ale in 1996 and just 1 year later we expanded again – this time we separated the packaging operation from the restaurant, and kept on brewing! By 1999, we were up to five year–round bottled brands in about a dozen states.
We outgrew our distributing brewery in a couple years and in the summer of 2002; we moved our entire production brewery up the road to Milton, Delaware into a 100,000 square foot converted cannery. Around the same time (just to keep thing interesting), we built a distillery on the second floor of our Rehoboth Beach brewpub, so we could make vodka, rum and gin.
Thanks to all our employees and every one of our customers, Dogfish Head continues to grow today! We’re now up to nearly 20 styles of beer that are sold in more than 25 states, and a half–dozen kinds of hand–crafted spirits… and we still have some ideas in the back of our collective heads.
This is an example of an Imperial IPA, or India Pale Ale. Essentially this is an IPA all juiced up. The style often have double the hops and malt, creating an even more bitter taste. Some Imperials are more balanced between the hops and malt, giving it a clean, crisp, bitter hop finish, but with a balanced sweet malt taste. Much higher in alcohol than a standard IPA. Dogfish Head takes a twist on this by blending of an oak-aged English strong ale and their 90 Minute I.P.A.
This poured nicely into a pint glass, with a light copper/reddish tone and producing a medium amount of foam. The nice amount of carbonation may be the culprit for the foam, but either way it left a thin but nice lacing on the glass.
The aroma was a very nice citrus, mixed with a wonderful floral aroma, almost that of mountain wildflowers. Slightly piny, although I think this can be attributed to the the floral aroma.The malt really does balance this nicely, but still retain a bitter hop finish.
The taste was very nice. The bitter hop I smelled really comes out, enhancing the sweetness of the malt balance. Somewhat a contridiction perhaps, as some imperials are extremely bitter with no attempt at balance, and others loose the bitter while having complete balance. The alchohol taste is there more on the back end and can sneek up.
Mouthfeel is good. Very crisp, sweet and goes down smooth.
I liked this one. I’ve had it before and always enjoyed it. It paired nicely with the grilled chicken fajitas with Monterrey Jack cheese I had. The bitter hops balanced and complimented the cheese. With a 10% ABV, take it slow, but enjoy and have another!