Bellefonte Brewing Company will be opening on Monday, June 1st for “phase 1”. Although the brewery will be reopening to the public, there are still several health precautions that they will be asking their patrons to be observing, including masks under certain circumstances, no seating at the bar, and reduced capacity.
Here is everything you need to know about next week at Bellefonte:
Greetings fellow beer lovers! It’s 2020, so it’s time to wind up the new year and get ready for all the new beers that are sure to be coming. To get the ball rolling (and your anticipation growing) let’s look at the beer release calendar for Dogfish Head and see what is staying, what’s been added and (sadly) what you will possibly be doing without in 2020.
As usual, the calendar (which was released back in December, but I’m behind as always) is split into three categories: Year round, art series, and occasional. And, as has been the case in past years – the list is prone to some shuffling.
First, let’s look at the year round. SeaQuench, 60 minute, 90 minute, Liquid Truth Serum, Midas Touch and Palo Santo Marron remain on the list which should be no surprise to anyone. This year they’re joined by relative new comer Slighty Might and the rebranded (and reformulated?) American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA; as well as SuperEIGHT which graduates from last year’s occasional ranks.
Sadly, that means if you were fans of the beers Flesh and Blood IPA, Lupa-Luau IPA, Burton Baton, and Wood-Aged Bitches Brew you’re out of luck as these beers did not make this year’s list. Don’t give up hope though, DFH often drops beers throughout the year that aren’t on their release calendar (the calendar tends to be more for national distribution) so there’s still hope that if one of these beers is a favorite of yours, you still have a chance to come across it on a store shelf or beer bar in 2020.
So now let’s jump over the Art Series temporarily and go to the Occasional list which not not only sees some changes, but also some loses. Try just about everything. The only beer to survive this grand culling (other than SuperEIGHT mentioned above) is 120 Minute which will be released from Sept to Nov. Everything else that appeared on this list last year: Regular American Beauty, Raison D’Extra and World Wide Stout are gone. Not even the summer and winter variety packs are listed. So what’s taking up all that space?
Well, shockingly not a lot. Two beers make the list, Vibrant P’Ocean which I wrote about here, being release from Feb through May. The second is Costumes and Karaoke which the brewery describes as ” A complex oat cream ale brewed with turmeric, ginger, yellow cardamom, cinnamon and smoked star anise, and aged on Madagascar vanilla beans.” which will be released Nov through Dec.
OK, so now we back track to the Art Series which, as normal, includes four beers and this year includes two changes. Perfect Disguise keeps the “spring” slot again (remember, I use these seasonal descriptions loosely) and perennial favorite Punkin Ale stays firmly planted in the fall. Dragons and Yum-Yums gets replaced by Sun-Day-Feels in the summer slot and (sadly for me because I love this beer) 75 Minute loses its winter slot to Campfire Amplifier. So who are these new additions to the Art Series that will feature Dan Stile’s art work on their labels?
Well Sun-Day-Feels is described by the brewery as “a brunch-inspired, beermosa sour brewed with puréed peaches, wine grapes and a medley of citrus fruit.”, and Campfire Amplifier is given the description, “a s’mores-centric milk stout brewed with marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate and a touch of smoked malt. ” I will definitely be looking forward to trying this one.
And that’s the list as it stands for now. But as I’ve said, you never know with DFH what might pop up on the shelves at any given time. Either way, there is plenty to look forward to from DFH in the coming year.
You can read all about the 2020 planned beers from DFH here.
You can see DFH’s version of their 2020 beer release calendar here.
Dan had lent his artistic talents to DFH’s 75 Minute IPA, which will be available this coming November through January, the usual first beer label for the incoming art series artist.
This time we get to view Dan’s take on DFH’s double IPA, The Perfect Disguise. The beer was also part of the series last go around, being released February through April of this year. The brewery has yet to release their 2020 beer release calendar, but I would take the fact that the label is coming through the system now as a possible sign that you can expect to see it in the same slot next year.
The label continues Dan’s more industrial style that was prevalent on his 75 minute label, and plays off the name with a hop cone trying to pass itself off as the bird in a Cuckoo clock – complete with a tied on, fake beak.
The second beer label to recently come through is this nice little piece of art for an upcoming beer called Vibrant P’Ocean (get it? Potion? These guys!) which is a collaboration with the Belgian Rodenbach brewery.
The beer is billed as a meld between a 2-year foeder sour and an elderberry, elderflower, fleur de-sel kettle sour. Ok, that’s a lot to unpack, let’s have a stab at it.
A foeder is, basically speaking, a large wooden barrel and is used not only in wine making but also for aging beers like sours, lambics, and gueuzes at European breweries like Brouwerij Boon and Rodenbach; and American breweries like New Belgian and Crooked Stave. The main difference in the use of these barrels seems to be that unlike wine making where barrels are usually store on their sides, foeders are normally used standing on end like the ones you’ve seen being used as tables at breweries and Cracker Barrel.
The elderberries and flowers are pretty straight forward but what about fleur de-sel? The name translates as “flower of salt” and is a salt that forms as a crust on seawater as it evaporates. The traditional use for it is as a “finishing salt”, in other words it is not normally used during the cooking process but sprinkled on the food just before serving.
And, as you might guess a kettle sour is a sour beer that is soured and fermented in a stainless steel tank.
Yeah, I think that covers it. I’ve linked some of the info that I pulled together from my research should you want some more in-depth information. Also, here is a recent article on an American company who is manufacturing Foeders.
No word on when we can expect to see Vibrant P’Ocean on the shelves.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I have made no apologies that Oyster Stout is one of my favorite styles, and that Fordham and Dominion’s Rosie Parks is not only a very fine representation of the style, but one of my favorite beers brewed in Delaware.
Back a bit in time, I was asked by local Newspaper guy Ryan Cormier to list my 15 favorite beers in Delaware, and Rosie Parks was at the top of that list.
Sadly at that time, I found out that the brewer had no plans to brew it in the near future. But, after divorcing themselves from ABInv and regaining total control over their brewery(s) (or maybe not having to do with any of that at all) apparently the brewery(s) has decided that it was time to bring this beer back under its new package branding (it was on this year’s release calendar, I just wasn’t paying attention when I posted it several months ago).
Of course, that means, new logo and – cans. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the old big bottle format and I thought its label really captured the essence of the beer. But F&D are going through a well deserved rebranding and to be honest, I’m just happy to learn that one of my favorite beers is returning to the shelves and as I have stated in the past, I love the convenience of cans.
If F&D hold to their calendar it looks like we can expect to see Rosie around the September time frame with proceeds benefiting the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Can’t wait.
Recently the label for this winter’s release of Dogfish Head’s 75 Minute IPA came through the system, and as I stated in an earlier post, it would probably be the first label for next year’s selected artist for the brewery’s popular Off-Centered Art Series.
Well, once I saw the label I had no doubt this was the case as gone was Michael Hacker‘s whimsical mad scientist art work, replaced by a more industrial style of art featuring what appears to be a stylistic man’s face wearing a hat and a monocle who is holding a hop and a maple leaf (a nod that 75 Minute is brewed with maple syrup). The label keeps its overall blue on gray color palette, with the label artwork continuing to echoing it as in previous years.
So who is responsible for this new and interesting label? Say hello to Dan Stiles, an artist currently working out of Portland, Oregon where he has lent his artistic style and talents to everything from indy bands to major corporations. From his Website:
Over the past twenty years, Dan has collaborated with everyone from indie bands to major corporations in creating posters, identities, advertising, custom packaging, and limited edition collectable art and merchandise. His clients range from Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, and Wilco to the X Games, IBM, and Nickelodeon. He draws from a broad swath of influences including skateboard graphics, album covers, modern art, children’s books, comics, psychedelia, and vintage advertising. Dan has published several children’s books as well as a monograph of his work entitled One Thing Leads to Another. He lives with his wife and daughters in Portland, Oregon.
Dan’s art has a rock poster silk screen feel to it, and while that is echoed in the label for 75 Minute, the label has a very industrial, textured styling to it that’s different from some of his other works. It will be interesting to see what Dan comes up for the other beers in next year’s Off-Centered series. What are those beers? Well, we’ll just have to wait for the release calendar to find out.
New things are continuing to come from the newly restructured Fordham and Dominion brewery. A lot of the beers that used to be on the Fordham side of the catalog have recently gotten new package and label make overs that should be hitting the shelves soon, and now we get a look at the can label for a new seasonal offering from the brewery (breweries?, brewery? this new integration thing is going to take time for me to get used to).
Zombee Honey Ale is described as a brown ale with honey from the Pennsylvania Dutch region and brewed with roasted malts. The beer will be a seasonal offering being released from May to August in bottles, cans and kegs.
For those who have not seen Fordham&Dominion’s 2019 release calendar, I’ve included it below.
Dogfish Head Brewery continues its association with Vienna, Austria’s Michael Hacker for the next addition to this year’s Off Centered Art Series, the brewery’s fall favorite Punkin Ale.
Michael has been cranking out some great labels for the Delaware brewery having contributed to previous Art Series beers Perfect Disguise and 75 Minute IPA and as always, the Punkin Ale label captures his unique style.
Sadly, I believe this will be the last label for the brewery from Michael as I believe they’ll be announcing a new artist sometime in the fall who will take over the honor in 2020. I’m looking forward to seeing who Dogfish Head decides to work with next, but there’s plenty of beer drinking time between now and then.
Below is Michael’s new label plus below that, the excellent label by 2018’s Off Centered Artist, Marq Spusta, simply because I love it.
To me, it always felt like Fordham and Dominion were a bit like the Rodney Dangerfield of Delaware brewing – some people just refused to give them any respect.
Which was sad, because in every way one could measure a vibrant, community active brewery, F&D seemed to either fit the bill or go above and beyond. But unfortunately there was one blemish on their otherwise fine looking resume which some people simply could not get past. No, try to say or write anything nice about the myriad of things F&D do that can be presented in a positive light, and some people would quickly pull the shades closed and declare, “they’re owned by AB InBev!”
I have to be honest, I’d heard it or read it so many times, that chorus of disdain that was presented with so much damnation that one could literally hear the dismissive “whatever” snap at the end of the statement.
So many times I’d heard it in fact that I finally broke down and asked the brewery about their official standing with AB InBev that resulted in me having a nice chat with F&D President Jim Lutz, in which I admit, though I might not have found it as satisfying as I was hoping for with the percentage of stake that AB InBev held in the breweries, I did find comfort that the corporate giant was not involved with the day-to-day operations and decisions at the brewery.
But still people would cast stones and I feared the brewery, to some people’s eyes, would never step out of the shadow of being owned to an extent by a company that unfortunately caused the Brewer’s Association to label them as “non-craft”. But that was until recently.
Last week I posted some new labels from the brewery for Copperhead Ale and Gypsy Lager, pointing out changes in the designs and the branding. There was one other change as well, but one I did not want to comment on without first reaching out to the brewery to see if I could get some more clarification. This is the change that got me excited:
That’s the Brewer’s Association Independent Craft Brewer Seal, that can only be placed on the label of a beer made by a brewery that meets the BA’s definition of independent – a definition that until quite recently F&D did not meet.
So I reached out to F&D for some information concerning the seal and what that meant for the brewery and Vice President of Sales, Giuseppe Desilvio was nice enough to pass on some good news, “Yes, just [a] few months ago we signed our “divorce papers” from Anheuser-Busch InBev, so Fordham & Dominion is now 100% independently owned.”
That’s great news for the brewery and a win in general for Delaware beer scene. But, Giuseppe informed me that there will be a few other changes due to this new found independence.
“We just started a full package re-fresh, and all of our products moving forward will have the Independent Craft Seal on it and will come out under the “Fordham & Dominion” logo. We are merging our two portfolios and will no longer release beers under just “Fordham” or “Dominion””.
That was interesting as the two portfolios were kept quite separate and indeed were quite distinctive from each other – especially the Pin-up series. How will those labels change? We’ll just have to wait and see. As for now, I’m just glad that the old retort, “Yeah, but they’re partially owned by Budweiser” can be laid to rest once and for all.
As always, I’d like to thank Giuseppe Desilvio for taking some of his valuable time to talk to me.
When I saw these new labels from FoDo, my initial reaction was, “it’s kind of soon for a rebranding isn’t it?” But as I looked over the new artwork, I began to believe that there was possibly more here than initially meets the eye.
The repeating pattern of these labels really strike me as beer can labels and at 7 x 5.25 in dimension, puts them at around the right size for can art. Still, they could be bottle labels, I guess we’ll see, but being able to soon pick up some FoDo beers in cans would be a nice thing.
And yes, FoDo beers, because for years Fordham and Dominion have kept the two brands independent of each other when it comes to their respective beers, each brewery having its own distinct style. But, notice that on these labels both brands are predominantly displayed together, not just in one place, but in two, with one of them echoing the branding that the breweries use on their merchandise and marketing.
Tuesday I was surfing the interwebs looking for something to distract me from doing what I should have been doing when something from Dogfish Head popped up and reminded me that I should (once again) check to see if they had posted up their 2019 beer release calendar yet. Sadly, they had not, which caused me to wonder why considering we’re starting to chip away at the month of December.
But, about a hour later I was on Facebook (still not doing what I was supposed to be doing) when I saw that Sam was live going through next year’s releases with the calendar being posted on the website soon after. This could have been one of those great cosmic coincidences that occasionally happens (like when you think of a song you haven’t heard of for a long time and then it happens to be the next song to play on the radio) or it could be (as I like to think of it) a case of great minds thinking a like. Anyway, let’s see how it shapes up this year.
As with last year, the releases are broken up into three categories: Year Round, Art Series, and Occasionals. And, don’t be surprised if a few beers that aren’t listed pop up throughout the year, DFH can be sneaky that way.
Year round is pretty much the same as last year with only one notable change, Liquid Truth Serum graduates from last year’s Art Series. The beer is currently available out there in 16oz cans, but you can also expect to see it in 12oz cans soon.
Sadly, something had to apparently go, so Indian Brown has been dropped this year, so if you’re a fan get it while you can.
The Art Series still sees Dragons & Yums Yums and Punkin Ale anchor down the middle of the year while last year’s Romantic Chemistry has been replaced with The Perfect Disguise (Feb-Apr). Liquid Truth Serum, due to its promotion to year round will be replaced by 75 Minute IPA (Nov-2020J) which you can pick up in stores now even though it wasn’t on last year’s calendar (see, sneaky).
Occasionals? Well let’s just say if you’re a huge fan of any of the beers on last year’s list, you might be disappointed this year. Festina Peche, Mixed Media, Fruit-Full Fort, Pennsylvania Tuxedo, and Siracusa Nera all disappear. The only beer that survives the culling is 120 Minute IPA (Aug-Dec).
Replacing that troop is American Beauty (which in a total contradiction is “ocssionally” available from Jan to Dec next year), Raison D’Extra (Jan-Apr), World Wide Stout (May-Aug), and SuperEIGHT (Apr-Dec).
Also on the calendar are the Summer Variety pack (May-August), and the IPA for the Holidays pack (Nov-Dec).
Below is my annual, no thrills version of the calendar. You can find DFH’s snazzy version here.