I am by no means a beer snob. However some microbreweries in America can put out a array of superlative beers. Here is a brief history of one of those breweries.
Dogfish Head is a microbrewery based in Milton, Delaware. Dogfish Head had humble beginnings, starting off as a brewpub called Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth, Deleware in 1995.
It seems Dogfish Head liked extremes, it was the first brewpub in Delaware, and when it opened, it was also the smallest commercial brewery in America. They started off making 12 gallon batches (the first ever batch was Shelter Pale Ale) 3 times a day, which even for one restaurant, was not nearly enough, there was another obvious reason they were always short of beer, the beer was great!
Due to many factors, (good beer, good food, live music and a good location), Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats became (and still is) very popular, and demand for their beer was insatiable. So they hired a full time brewer, and using vats found in dairy and cannery auctions cobbled together a 300 gallon brewing system. They still were a mom and pop outfit, they still put the bottlecaps on by hand!
The expansion helped a bit with demand, but since Rehoboth is apparently a tourist stop, people from all over the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, wanted their Dogfish Head. Too bad for them, since Delaware law forbade a brewpub to distribute their products. Dogfish Head got a bill drafted and signed to allow them to distribute their products, and they were on their way.
This increased demand yet again, and it became obvious that, after nine months of using the expanded brewing system, that they have to seperate the brewing operation from the resturant, So they went and bought themselves some more used equipment, and built themselves a microbrewery in Lewes,Delaware, complete with several 3,000 gallon tanks and a bottling line. The owners had a taste-test at the pub to see which brands they should mass-produce, they chose the Chicory Stout, Shelter Pale Ale and Immort Ale brands. These were produced at the new location, called the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in 1997.
In 1999 they added two more brands, Indian Brown Ale, and Raison D'Etre. Since then several more brands were added which I have listed below. After a while they moved to their current Milton address, and even added a distillery on the second floor.
The Beers Of Dogfish Head
What inspiried me to write this node is how good these beers are. I have had 4 brands so far (Chicory Stout, Shelter Pale Ale, 90 minute IPA, and Rasion D'etre), and I plan on trying the rest. If I had to describe these beers in one word, I would use the word "rich", meaning that these beers (except for the Shelter Pale Ale) are very complex and almost sweet, but not in a bad way, and you can tell that they use quality ingredients. I also admire the "out of the box" thinking these brewers employ, putting such things such as coffee, raisins, maple syrup, grapes, and so forth, and having it taste good! Also many of these beers pack a serious punch, the 90 minute IPA is 9%APV and the Raison D'Etre is 8%!
The only downsides to the Dogfish Head brand of beers are that they are not availble everywhere, (most distributors are in the Mid Atlantic and New England regions) and they are expensive. But most worth it!