No trip to Delaware, USA is complete without visiting the bad-ass brewery that is world famous and is even importing to my home away from home (South Korea) – Dogfish Head!
Why Dogfish Head? The founder, Sam Calagione, started brewing at home (like my hubby) on just a 10 gallon brewing system. Seeing his immense operation now is very inspiring to what is possible for someone with a dream. He is a leader and innovator, always experimenting with funky ingredients in a variety of unique ways. They even give it a name:
off-centered goodness for off-centered people.
Before you find yourself driving to Milton, DE, don’t forget to check the visiting hours of their Tasting Room. We happened to be there on a Friday and were happy to see a Farmer’s Market setting up right after we finished our tour (win, win!). Despite it being a week day, the crowds were still heavy, especially around the bar area ( figures…). Since we missed the next tour, we had to wait only about 45 min-1 hr for the next tour to commence.
Nobody was complaining, since you get 4 free samplers just for coming to the tasting room (love when that happens!). You jot down what you desire on a card provided and hand it over to the bartender. First two beers were already chosen for us – Festina Peche and 60 Min IPA. I also went with Biere de Provence (8.3% Saison) and Burton Baton (10% Oak Aged Imperial IPA). Man, were they strong, but that’s not surprising with Dogfish Head’s Average ABV being 9% !
Walk around the property, take in the massiveness of it all. Get inspired by random quotes on buildings or eat a beer-infused food from a food truck nearby.
Be sure you’re familiar with tour’s info on safety, policy, etc. In all the commotion you may not hear that you need to wear goggles and closed shoes (both are provided) and No Beers allowed on tour (my ears decided to skip that information, while I gulped down a very strong brewsky in 2 seconds). By the way, they also have a more in-depth-tour available, if after the free one you just need to see that Steampunk Treehouse, the Distillery, try something from Sam’s stash and more. More info on “From grain to glass” tour here.
With Dogfish Head Brewery being the biggest brewery I’ve ever visited, making 175,000 barrels of beer a year, I was impressed by the size of the entire operation. Just look at the size of those brewing tanks (it would take a 10 gallon system 3 years to make as much as this one tank makes in a day – thank you for the information tour guide!).
Did you know that Dogfish Head grew by 400% between 2003 and 2006?
The free tour was very informative with lots and lots of information, which is hard to take in and retain after 4 glasses of highly alcoholic beer. With food in our bellies, we prevailed!
At the end of the tour we walked past a new venture for Dogfish Head – a distillery! Who knew you can make vodka and gin out of beer…I didn’t. At the gift shop were were able to try the three varieties that they now offer. While not my favorite alcohol – the Gin, especially, was very smooth. I liked the enthusiasm and easy going-ness of the sales girls and the presentation of the cases.
Oh, and if having a distillery wasn’t enough, Dogfish Head is also kicking ass and taking names, while running a Dogfish Inn in Lewis, DE and multiple restaurants (find the closest location here). Wow, this brand is definitely trying to get it’s fingers in various ventures, all the while brewing some mean, mean brews. So, if you’re in or around the First State, hop on over to Milton and while you’re driving through it, enjoy it’s small town charm.
Dogfish Head Brewery
6 Village Center Blvd, Milton, DE 19968, USA