The Local Tap – Brew Dog’s Filming in Old New Castle, a Cautionary Tale

A few weeks ago the Delaware craft beer network (which technically doesn’t exist) was set abuzz by the news that the show Brew Dogs would be in for a week filming an episode for their second season.

For those who are unfamiliar with this show that resides on the channel guide deep, Esquire Channel, it revolves around James Watts and Martin Dickie, owners and brewers for the  renowned (and often thought infamous) BrewDog brewery out of Fraserburgh, Scotland.  The format of the show is fairly simple, James and Martin travel to a well known brewery and there, brew a beer that tries to capture the essence of the area around them.  The show has seen them collect fog for water to brew with Anchor Brewing, brew a beer on a tall ship in Boston harbor (after taking a beer bath with Boston Brewery owner Jim Koch), and brewing the most “American beer” during a 4th of July parade.

This segment of the show is usually  a touch on the wacky side, as both guys run around trying to construct impossible equipment and gather unusual ingredients for their collaboration beer with the chosen brewer.  But other segments are very interesting as they highlight local craft beer bars and interact with craft beer loving (and non-craft beer loving) locals.  One show had them walk into a local bar and ask people there to “borrow” their beers.  The guys then took the beers down the street where a local chief cooked a dish that would pair well with each beer that the guys then returned to the unsuspecting donors to get their thoughts on how well the chief had done.

It should be no surprise to anyone that in the case of Delaware, the Brew Dogs were teaming up with the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, Delaware.  This not only united the resources and creativity of two powerhouse breweries, but also marked a meeting of the guys with DFH owner Sam Calagione, himself not a stranger to TV beer shows.

The filming I went to watch was the guys visiting The Green in Historic New Castle to hang out and talk beer with the 1st Delaware Regiment.  The 1st Regiment is a living history group that educates people on the role Delaware played in the Revolutionary War.  The group pays tribute to the regiment that Delaware was requested to form for the Continental Army prior to the State’s independence from Pennsylvania.

Colonial reenactors might be an odd sight in some places, but in Historic New Castle the 1st Regiment is a common sight, participating in parades and other town events.  Heck, I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting some of them at beer events or just having a bite to eat at the local tavern.

I arrived about 15 minutes after the supposed start time to find the Regiment members set up and ready to go, but no Brew Dogs is sight.  Not surprising, having lived only blocks from The Green for many years and being a veteran of previous filmings such as Dead Poet’s Society and Oprah Winfrey’s Beloved, I’m well aware that filming is a matter of hurry up, get ready, and then sit around and wait.

But soon the producers and crew began to show up and lay out the shoot and co-ordinate with the Regiment about what was going to happen.  Several of the Regiment were chosen to participate in single shoots were they got to discuss craft beer (and its place in colonial times) with the guys as they tasted what appeared to be DFH’s Palo Santo, although I heard some discussion about aged vs non-aged.

Here’s a gallery of pictures I took during the shoot.  If you click on a picture it will put it in slide show mode and then you can use the arrows to view the rest.  Sorry if they load slow.

The cautionary tale?  Well this happened on a Friday, the following Tuesday I was working on my laptop when I decided to clean out my email.  When I was done I decided to take a quick minute to empty my spam folder and found the following that had been sent to me on April 10th…

Dear Ed,
Master brewers James Watt and Martin Dickie are bringing the craft beer revolution to Delaware to tape Season 2 of their popular show BREW DOGS next week.  Set to air this June on the Esquire Network, BREW DOGS follows these two Scottish rebels as they visit different American beer towns, taste distinctive craft beers, and enlist American brewers to help them create their own outrageous, locally-inspired drafts…
They’re filming in Delaware April 15-18, and I’d love to invite you to the tasting party — the grand finale of the episode — for a behind-the-scenes look at the show.


My reaction was less than subdued.  I just deleted several emails asking me for monetary help, telling me I’d won some UK lottery and (my favorite, from a supposed woman) asking me if I remember her and why haven’t I responded to her emails ; and THIS is the one Yahoo decides needs to go into my spam folder?  Thanks.

Anyway, the email went on to request that recipients release no details of the show (although they were included and I did let it slip on my Facebook page because, you know, at that point I hadn’t read the email yet), but I will say that I’m very interested to see how they navigated the interesting problems that surrounded how they decided to brew.

So let that be a lesson to you boys and girls.  Never trust your email provider, and always check your spam folder.

Time for another beer…

Brew Review – Flying Dog and Brew Dog, Internation Arms Race (Zero IBU IPA)

Flying Dog’s Zero IBU IPA

Angela at work stops in every now and then to talk music and beer.  Her and her husband enjoy good craft beer, so it’s always fun to chat for a few minutes when we can and compare notes notes on what we’ve had.  We were having such a conversation today when she stopped me in my tracks.

“Have you tried Flying Dog’s Zero IBU beer?”

“Wait?  What?  Zero IBU?”

“Yeah, I think that’s what it’s called.”

“So it has no bitterness?  How is it?”


Well I’m all about weird, so let’s taste.

THEM:  Zero IBU IPA is the result of a “collaboration” between Flying Dog Brewery and BrewDog from Scotland.  Collaboration is in quotes because the two breweries didn’t come together to brew this beer as in the normal sense of the word.  What they did was come together and agree on a list of ingredients that each brewer would then use to brew their own version of the beer.  Outside of only using the agreed upon ingredients, anything was game as far as recipe or process.  The list of ingredients that they picked were: spearmint, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and elderflower.  You’ll notice hops are not on the list.

Brewing beer without hops is not unheard of, in fact in the long standing history of fermented grain beverages, hops are a relative new comer to the party.  Fraoch, another beer from Scotland, is brewed with heather (and a favorite of mine).  In ancient Europe Gruit, a fermented drink flavored with Yarrow, Bog Myrtle, and Marsh Rosemary was common.

Today, many breweries use spices to give certain beers flavor and aroma outside of the more normal hops, but most of these at the very least still use hops to give the beer it’s now signature bitterness.


ME:  Zero pours a beautiful amber with a nice white head.  The carbination in this beer is very active and it keeps a nice layer of foam like bubbles on the top  as you drink.  The nose on this puppy is all spice.  Notes of mint, juniper and a spruce type scent (I’m assuming that’s the Rosemary peaking through and getting muddled with everything else in my nose) come up from the glass.  But it’s in the taste that this beer really takes a turn.  It starts with a surprising lack of malt in the front and then tickles your taste buds with the aforementioned spices.  Really, the spices are there, but not all that overwhelming.  And then….nothing.  And I mean really nothing.  Well, that is until you finish about half the glass, and then the nothingness is replaced by an odd after taste.  And then that odd taste turns into (for me) a juniper mouth coating, like the morning after sensory memory of an all night gin binge.

Yeah, probably shouldn’t have ordered those last two martinis “dirty”.

I think the thing that surprises me the most about Zero IBU IPA is how light in overall flavor it is considering that Flying Dog isn’t normally shy when it comes to putting flavor in their beers.  This one is interesting, but just not my type of thing.  I don’t normally rate beers, but if I were to do it just this once, I would rate this “ask for a free taste when you see it on draft” on a scale of “walk past it on the shelf” and “buy all you can get your hands on”.

Time for another beer.

Brew Review – Brew Dog’s Dogma

Some "Dogs" I have enjoyed!

A few days ago I got a tweet from the guys at TheBEERSgoneBAD asking if I’d had Brew Dog’s Dogma and if so, what did I think of it.  I’ve had the pleasure of having many of Brew Dog’s beers, both in Scotland and here in the States and they are one of my favorite breweries. If they hadn’t asked me, I’d have probably gotten around to several of their beers eventually, but under the belief that “there’s no time like the present”, let’s take a look.

Brew Dog created quite a stir in the brewing industry in 2009 when they released the interestingly named Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  Double barrel aged for 14 months and then frozen at a local ice cream factory for 21 days, the beer clocked in at 32% alcohol and was a monster.  Every beer geek I knew wanted a bottle, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one – and it is huge.  Most breweries would stop there, but not these guys!  Next came Sink the Bismark IPA at 41%, followed by End of History at 55% bottled inside a taxidermied squirrel.  Yeah, you read that right – some times when I read these guy’s webpage, I think they’re just playing on big joke on the brewing world.  But a squirrel?  Heck, that’s nothing.  Why don’t we have a beer that’s served from a taxidermied deer head?

Well compared to all that, Dogma is a pretty tame (but still remarkable) beer.  Let’s have a look:

THEM : The grain bill for Dogma consists of Marris Otter Extra Pale, Caramalt, roasted barley, Dark Crystal Malt, and Munich Malts.  Bramiling Cross and Amarillo hops are added as well as poppy, guarana, kola nut and Scottish heather honey.  Target OG is 1072, fermentation leaves it at 7.8% alcohol.  All that is balanced out by 65 IBUs.

ME : Dogma pours clean with a medium fine head.  The color in my glass goes from light to dark copper from bottom to top.  As I raise the glass to take a sip the subtle notes of malt and honey enter my nose.  On the tongue a slight sweetness echoing the malt and honey starts in the front which turns into nice (not overly bitter) hop spiciness in the back.  Bottom line, this is just an easy drinking beer.  The 7.8% alcohol is hidden well, and it goes down as easy as some 4.5% beers I’ve had.  And my 1pint, 6.4oz bottle only ran me about $6.50 so enjoy it more often I will!

The guys at TheBEERSgoneBAD described Dogma as “liquid honey”but I usually reserve that description for Dogfish Head’s 120 minute IPA.  You can see their excellent review here.   Thanks guys for giving me a reason to enjoy it one more time.  It won’t be the last (and hopefully not the last time at Bannerman’s in Edinburgh).  Time for another beer….

You can follow Brew Dog on Twitter HERE

You can follow the guys at TheBEERSgoneBAD on Twitter HERE

What’s your favorite Brew Dog beer?

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