Dogfish Head Pearl Jam beer

| October 18th, 2011 | No comments

Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries. I’ve yet to have a beer of theirs that I didn’t like. I often recommend their beers to those who are new to craft beer. Dogfish’s beer tends to be much more “approachable” than most of my other favorite beers.
That said, I’m torn as to whether or not I am interested in their new music related beer: Faithfull Ale. It’s not that it doesn’t sound good, a Belgian golden ale with black currants sounds amazing, actually. However, I’ve been a longtime hater of Pearl Jam. I blame growing up in the Pacific northwest and being force fed grunge music as why it’s never interested me.
If Pearl Jam is your thing, and you would like to continue celebrating their 20 years of… whatever, check out the below link to see details of it’s release.

Gluten-free Dogfish Head beer coming in December

| October 14th, 2011 | No comments

This past summer Dogfish Head made its first gluten-free beer, Tweason’Ale. The beer was a huge success in its Rehoboth Beach Brewpub so Dogfish is planning on releasing four-packs of the bottled beer.
Like nearly every gluten-free beer, Tweason’Ale uses sorghum as its base. To keep the beer from tasting as bland as most gluten-free beers though, the beer also includes buckwheat honey and fresh strawberries.
I know what you are thinking, strawberry, honey beer sounds terrible. Like the sugary malt beverages made by Bacardi or something similar. Having tasted this beer at GABF, I can tell you that it isn’t what it sounds like.
First of all, natural sugars, like honey and fruit, are highly fermentable, leaving very little residual sugar. Despite having over a pound of strawberries per gallon, the beer is not bright red. It is a pale orange color, like most other beers. The taste is very refreshing, with a light, fruity finish. As I mentioned before, it is not a sugary, sweet beer. It is however very light bodied, with a slight tanginess from the fermented fruit.
With how much fruit is in this beer, I can’t imagine that this is an easy beer to make a lot of so it is very likely to be difficult to find this December. No announcement has been made as to which markets this will be distributed to.
For more info, and some moving pictures of the creation process, see Dogfish Head’s website:

Great American Beer Festival

| October 3rd, 2011 | No comments
This past weekend was the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, CO. I was lucky enough to have visited the final evening of the festival.

By far, the best beer fest I’ve been to, obviously, since this the biggest in the country. I finally had the chance to taste so many different beers that I don’t have access to in Nevada. In future posts I’ll write about some specific breweries or beers I tasted.
Downside of visiting the final day, a lot of the more rare beers were already out. However I do have a list of favorites that I did get to try:
Stone BELGO Old Guardian Barley Wine
Rogue Old Crustacean Barley Wine
Dogfish Head Tweason’ale
Ballast Point Victory at Sea
Left Hand Milk Stout
Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti
Alaskan Smoke Porter aged since 2000

And the list goes on. Attached are a few pictures I was able to take. Yes I took a picture in front of the Anheuser Busch booth for fun, no I didn’t try anything there. I was surprised to see how busy the booth was, which is a shame considering all the great craft breweries that were there in attendance.
Got to meet Zane Lamprey from the TV shows Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy, super nice guy. Also saw Greg Koch from Stone, he insisted that a picture be taken with him.
All in all, it was a great time. I highly recommend you take a trip to Denver for future GABF’s. It is impossible to not have fun.

Sierra Nevada To Open Second Brewery On East Coast

| April 30th, 2011 | No comments

Last week I posted an article about Stone building a brewery in Europe and how Dogfish Head could benefit from building a second brewery on the west coast (here). Today it was announced that Sierra Nevada has been visiting various cities on the east coast to determine a location for them to build a second brewery. 

Their reasons for doing so are very similar to both the reasons Stone mentioned as to why they are building a brewery in Europe, and the reasons I suggested that Dogfish Head should build a second brewery on the west coast. They are at the point where in the next couple of years, their current brewery will be working at capacity. They also currently distribute to all 50 states and need to continue to do so. They want to grow as a company and also reduce the costs of shipping all over the country. They have not decided where they will build a brewery, when they will build it or if it even will happen. Chances are though, that this will happen as it likely makes the most sense from a business perspective. Sierra Nevada is currently the second largest craft brewery, right behind the Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams. Sam Adams being the largest American brewery (remember, Budweiser, Miller, Coors etc are not American anymore), they own multiple breweries as well as contract other breweries to make their beer for them. To put things in perspective, Sierra Nevada will brew about 800,000 barrels (1 barrel = 31 gallons) of beer this year. Boston Beer Company on the other hand, brews over 2 million barrels of beer a year. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sierra Nevada’s expansion in the next few years. 

Another interesting aspect of this story is that Sierra Nevada also included as a factor in choosing a city: potential quality of life for its employees. Great to hear about breweries treating their employees well.

Stone To Build Second Brewery In Europe

| April 26th, 2011 | No comments

The Stone Brewing Company have announced that they have plans to open a secondary brewery somewhere in Europe. This is an amazing idea, and something I wish other breweries would start doing as well.

First, let’s look at a company like Dogfish Head, the 11th largest craft brewer of 2010. They have grown immensely, especially recently. They are smart in that they have never wanted to grow too fast. However they are still growing remarkably fast. On the company blog and on Discovery’s Brewmasters show, they have publicly stated that they have had to dump batches of their rarer, specialty brews because it was not consistent with previous versions. When they dumped their 120 Minute IPA last year, it cost the company half a million dollars. People forget that beer contains living organisms (yeast) and simply doubling the recipe does not mean that the exact same beer will come out. The yeast can act differently from one batch to the next, especially when the batches are increased greatly. Besides this, Dogfish Head also regularly makes quite a few different beers that it does not distribute to the west coast. This is done to ensure that these particular beers are as fresh as possible. Recently they also announced that they would no longer distribute to England, Canada and 3 states currently in distribution. This is done so they can better focus on the states with the greatest demand and not simply growing bigger too fast. I’ve always wondered if it would be beneficial for business if they were to open a second brewery on the west coast. They could have their main Delaware brewery focused only brewing enough to distribution the east coast and their west coast brewery doing the same on the other side of the country. They could continue to brew smaller, consistent batches of beer and overall increase distribution to more states with more varieties.

Stone is doing something similar except in another continent. They state that the reason for this is to build their presence in Europe without the costs, financially and environmentally, of shipping beer across the world. They want to ensure that the best, freshest beer that best represents their company is available to Europeans. In addition to this, they will primarily only use ingredients available in Europe whenever possible. Because of this, they will be brewing different beers in Europe than what they currently brew in San Diego. They will still be in a style that is consistent with their brand but new recipes. Again in keeping with their reasoning for all this, the beers that they brew in Europe will not be distributed to the U.S. for the same reasons that they are not currently distributing beers to Europe.

I think this is going to turn out to be a huge success for Stone. They will create a global brand recognition without having to sacrifice quality. It will allow them to create even more unique beers using a greater variety of ingredients and overall increase distribution and sales. All of this can be done than cheaper than what it would cost if they were to try and accomplish these same goals all from their single brewery in San Diego, even if they were to expand it’s size. I would love to see this kind of thing happening more often. It doesn’t have to be in another continent or even country, but a secondary brewery can help a company like Dogfish to continue creating their off-centered ales for more off-centered people in more off-centered places.

Beer For Weddings

| April 23rd, 2011 | No comments

The royal family has decided that beer is for the lower classes and has banned any beer from being present at Prince William’s wedding. Specifically: “It isn’t really an appropriate drink to be serving in the Queen’s presence at such an occasion.” Since many associate beer with a drunken frat party with an endless supply of Bud Lite, beer can have a negative connotation. Many think of beer simply as the watered down taste of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. However, modern day craft beers have complex flavors that any alcohol enthusiast can appreciate. It is a shame the royal family does not see this, especially considering the history beer has had in Britain.

So, in honor of this, here are 6 beers that would be great at a wedding. While William and Kate have not shared their beer preferences, if any, these beers are wedding worthy.

Chimay Grand Reserve
This is a very smooth, amazing beer. It’s bottle conditioned, meaning that it is naturally carbonating and maturing inside the bottle. It is also brewed by monks in Belgium! How is this not classy?

Dogfish Head Midas Touch
This beer is fit for kings! The recipe for this was created by investigating the chemical compounds lining the inside of clay jars buried in Kind Midas’ tomb. It is brewed with honey and grapes, which gives it some white wine-like qualities. Dogfish Head states that this “will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike.”

Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu
Another beer from Dogfish’s ancient ales. Also brewed with honey, this is a very light, crisp and refreshing beer that could easily replace a white wine.

Dogfish Head Red & White
This is a witbier that is fermented with pinot noir juice. The added fermented fruit juice gives this beer a strong tart flavor making it a favorite amongst traditional wine drinkers.

Stone Old Guardian Belgo Barley Wine
This is similar to Stone’s normal Old Guardian Barley Wine, however this one is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain whereas the traditional Old Guardian uses and American yeast strain. The Belgian yeast brings out some floral and fruity characteristics in the beer which pairs perfectly with the strong, distinct taste from the barley and hops used in barley wines.

Coronado Brewing Idiot IPA
An unfiltered IPA from a small San Diego brewery. This beer is served on cask (aged and fermented naturally) giving this beer all the qualities of a good IPA with a smooth, soft texture.

Las Vegas Craft Beer

| April 23rd, 2011 | No comments

People travel all over world to come to Vegas. The city tries hard to make these visitors feel welcome by having a little bit of their home somewhere in town. There are “mini-cities” amongst the hotels, there’s a buffet for nearly every ethnicity of food, and various attractions featuring animals from all around the world.
But what about beer? I’ve found a few shops and bars in town with large selections of beers so I presumed that this town had the beer scene covered. However, as I started following different out of state breweries on Twitter, as I regularly read other beer sites and as I’ve gone to bars in other states, I’m hearing of so many breweries that I have never heard of before. After a while I begin to wonder why it is I hear so much about a particular brewery, but have never seen it on tap or even for sale anywhere.
Recently, the Brewers Association released a list of the top 50 breweries of 2010 (based on volume of beer sold). Of this list of 50, only ~20 of the highest selling breweries distribute in Nevada. Looking through my Untappd profile, the only beers I’ve had that were not of the 20ish breweries that I’m referring to were either:
A: purchased while I was in another state
B: shipped to me from another state
C: from one of Las Vegas’ local breweries or
D: not an American brewery.
That being said, Las Vegas is not a destination for craft beer. The beer that is distributed here, is definitely very good. My 3 top breweries distribute here (Stone, Dogfish Head and New Belgium), but there is still so much more that this city is missing out on.

Dogfish Head Aprihop Review

| March 11th, 2011 | No comments


Color: Reddish Auburn

Smell: Very hoppy aroma

Feel: Medium body/average carbonation and mouthfeel

Taste:  Strong hop taste. Light citrus finish.

Overall: This is a very good beer. It tastes very similar to Dogfish’s 60 Minute IPA. There’s not a strong apricot taste. It’s present more so in the finish but not in aroma or body. Just lightly citrusy. Despite how good this beer is, I feel like there is little uniqueness compared to 60 Minute IPA to justify the price increase. A four pack of Aprihop costs the same as a six pack of 60 Minute. I might need another to get a definitive opinion. Either way, saying this tastes like 60 Minute is not a bad thing. 60 Minute IPA is the gold standard of IPAs.

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout Review

| January 14th, 2011 | No comments

ALC/VOL: 18%

My favorite part about the design of this bottle, is the bottle cap. Dogfish Head typically sticks to using gold bottle caps. For their beers that are above 9% alcohol, they use a red bottle cap:

For this beer, and I assume others of such high levels of alcohol, they use the below “caution” bottle cap:

Color: This is a very dark brown, almost black beer. It is beyond opaque. After pouring, look down into the glass. It looks like you are looking at pictures of outer space. Infinite darkness with the small moving bubbles making up star formations.

Smell: Strong malt smell with chocolate, coffee, hazelnut and some carmel.

Feel: There is practically no head and what little carbonation exists, disappears shortly after pouring. It is much thicker than most beers and has a slight syrupy consistency. Tilting the glass leaves a residue slowly dripping down the sides.

Taste: Sweet and creamy. It hides the alcohol well considering how much is in it. Tastes like very dark chocolate or unsweetened baking chocolate. The darkness gives the beer a black coffee like taste. The high alcohol content gives it an aftertaste very similar to red wine.

Overall: In case it wasn’t obvious, I love this beer. Definitely not an everyday beer, and definitely don’t drink more than one at a time. In, fact you’re probably not going to want to drink anything else for the night after this. The texture and consistency make this a very filling beer. This is something you would have after dinner with, or as, dessert.

The taste definitely isn’t for everyone. Highly recommended for those who enjoy dark chocolate or dark coffee. I would highly recommend any beer lover to try this if only for the uniqueness of it. Keep in mind that Dogfish Head does not brew this year round. Snag up whatever you find because what is out there, is all that will be available until December of 2011!