This post has been long overdue. The relentless 100 degree heat here in Austin has me longing for a cold, wet, and dreary Delaware Winter. Last year, during my visit home for the holidays, my family and I hopped on a ferry in Cape May, NJ. We sailed across the Delaware Bay to visit the house that Sam Calagione built, Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware.
The brewery is a quick 20 minute drive through the pastoral Delaware countryside. The first thing visitors see upon arrival is the imposing Steampunk Treehouse outside the brewery. The art exhibit was purchased in 2009 by Dogfish founder, Sam Calagione. The Treehouse was an art installation at Burning Man and had to be taken apart, shipped from Nevada, and reassembled in Delaware.
We toured the facility. I’m in the camp that once you’ve toured a few breweries, you really don’t need to see the behind-the-scenes action of every brewery you visit. There are a few exceptions, and this is one of them. Dogfish Head gives you a glimpse into the next-level craft brewing operations including; expanded bottling lines, massive fermenters, behemoth foeders, and an extensive area of cellared beers from every year of Dogfish’s existence known as Sam’s Private Reserve. Fun fact: the average ABV for DF beer is over 9%!
We finished up the tour with a few samples and ended our day with dinner at the original Dogfish Head brewpub Rehoboth Beach before catching the last ferry out of Delaware.
During the interlude between Dogfish Head Brewery and Dogfish Head Brewpub we took a quick trip over to a lesser known Delaware brewery, Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford. The tap list featured several pilot system offerings and the standout, in my opinion, was the Beach Bum Joe Belgian-style Pale Ale.
If you’re visiting Delaware or passing through, Dogfish Head is worth a stop. It’s also nice to see that there is still room for craft beer growth in the nation’s second smallest state.
Photos provided courtesy of Shore Beer Club.