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.
Dogfish Head is gearing up to release another new beer, Super Eight which is listed by the brewery as a super-fruit gose style beer. Ok.
The 5.3%ABV beer boasts an impressive list of ingredients including Hawaiian Red sea salt, prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, and kiwi juices, and toasted quinoa. I’m not going to lie, it sounds like someone went wild at a Jamba Juice. Still, DFH has a habit of making this kind of thing work, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a hit.
But in doing a little reading on the web, the ingredient list wasn’t the most interesting thing I found out about this beer. Buried in a Brewbound article about DFH’s overall market plans for the future I found the following paragraph:
To help bring the brand to life, Dogfish is partnering with Kodak to produce a documentary film chronicling an East Coast boat journey (from Key West to Maine) that Calagione and his son will take next year. And the beer itself – which is acidic and has a high vitamin C count — is capable of developing Super 8 film, which Calagione said will give the company an opportunity to market the brand with an “off-centered approach to storytelling.”
Using beer to develop film? That struck me as odd but as it turns out it is not unheard of as i was able to dig up a couple of examples on the web. Here is an article from someone who tried several different homemade developers, one of which was beer, that he states he got good results with, and here is a Youtube video from 2013 of a guy from Australia using beer. The things you learn.
Dogfish Head brewing will be releasing their Grateful Dead collaboration American Beauty in special collector cans. The pale ale, brewed with granola and honey will be released in 1 pint, 3.25 oz cans, which are the taller, thin cans or what I like to call the energy drink cans. I would expect these to possible show up in 4-packs and individually. No word on the release date yet, but I suspect you will have to wait until 2019 for this one.
According to their social media, Dogfish Head will be adding a new bottling to their IPAs for the Holidays pack. Viniferous IPA is a 6%ABV beer/wine hybrid brewed with El Dorado, Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon hops and then fermented on Riesling and Viognier grape must. Viniferous IPA was offered as only a brewery exclusive earlier this year and was brewed with a different hop profile then the upcoming bottling.
The holiday pack will also include 60 and 90 minute IPA as well as another beer/wine hybrid Sixty-One, which if you don’t recall is their 60 minute IPA with syrah grape must added – all three of which were offered in last year’s holiday pack, with Viniferous replacing last year’s Indian Brown Dark IPA.
Dogfish Head’s IPAs for the Holidays 12-pack will start hitting the shelves sometime in November.
As I wrote back in the beginning of the month, Dogfish head is beginning to release a new series of beers captioned “Wooden…It Be Nice”, a salute to wood-aged, wild ales. Below is the label art for the third beer in the series Eastern Seaboard, an ale aged in both red and white wine barrels and infused with blackberries and beach plums.
Eastern Seaboard gets its wild side from inoculations of both Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, and will clock in at 8.2% alcohol.
As with all beers in the “Wooden…it be Nice” series, Eastern Seaboard will only be available at the Milford brewery for $10 a 375mL bottle, and only 2000 bottles will be made available. Look for Eastern Seaboard sometime around mid-December.
Wow, Dogfish Head has been busy lately. Back around September, the brewery announced a new series of beers coming out as special Milton brewery only releases.
The new series “Wooden…It Be Nice” is a salute to wood aged, wild ales, something that not only was of interest to the brewery, but that they also had some experience with:
“About fifteen years ago, we first started experimenting with sours, beginning with Festina Lente – a peach wild ale that won us a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup the first year it was produced – then went on to produce SeaQuench Ale which is currently the top selling sour in America,” says Dogfish founder & CEO Sam Calagione. “Now, we’re amplifying our wild beer program with ‘Wooden … it be nice!,’ as it’s another step forward in our journey and evolution of goodness incorporating everything from herbs and spices, to local fruits, and of course, bringing it all together in wood.” (From Dogfish Head’s blog)
The program started releasing back in September with KnottyBits, a wild ale (8.2%ABV) aged for a year with Brettanomyces and then racked onto several hundred pounds of sweet and sour cherries and locally sourced rhubarb from Fifer Orchards.
Now it’s time for the next in the series as November brings Wet Hop American Summer, a farmhouse ale (7.75%ABV) aged in Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces before being introduced to wet (freshly harvested) whole leaf Citra hops.
Look for the third release Eastern Seaboard, a wild ale (8%ABV) some time in December. The beer sat on blackberries and beach plums after ageing over a year in wine barrels.
Whether by design or by happenstance, Dogfish Head has been helping me out greatly as of late with a couple of beer releases that apparently have been made specifically to accompany certain everyday activities.
It started with Beer to Listen to Music To, a nice little Belgian Triple that as the name would seem to indicate should pair well with my music listening habits.
But recently DFH took a big leap in the enabling of a more questionable habit by offering up their latest libation in the manner of their stout styled Beer For Breakfast.
Now I don’t have any reprobation about sipping suds at sunrise, after all, I’ve participated in some recreational activities that almost demand you drink a beer regardless of what time it is. You all night BBQers and homebrewers know what I mean, right? That’s right. Get it up there!
But unfortunately there was once a time when my forenoon festivities were not the occasional hobby related indulgence, no sadly I’m talking some “8:30am is the new happy hour” level stuff here. Not to say that my experience is unusual. I’m sure many of you out their have similar stories.
Quickly put, I spent a lot of my early work years in north New Jersey working straight shifts that ran from 11pm to 8am, which meant that many of my (and my fellow employee’s) “Friday nights” often started at 8:20 in the morning at the nearest bar that would cash our paycheck and more often than not, ended when the 11am lunch crowd started to file in with a look of both loathing and disgust on their faces as they realized we’d already been drinking there all morning.
Nothing harshes your Long Island Ice Tea induced breakfast buzz like people who have been working all morning taking seats at the bar while loudly nattering about how Steve once again conveniently forgot that it was his turn to bring in the Friday doughnuts.
Nothing harshes your Long Island Ice Tea induced breakfast buzz like people who have been working all morning taking seats at the bar while loudly nattering about how Steve once again conveniently forgot that it was his turn to bring in the Friday doughnuts. So my morning would usually end with me yelling, “You’re an assistant manager, Steve! Spring for some freaking Krispy Kremes once in awhile you cheap bastard!” as the bar’s manager roughly tried to pry my hands off the door jam as I resisted being tossed out into the sunlight like a vampire in a John Carpenter horror movie.
But I’m older, wiser (don’t laugh) and my job is now a normal 9-5 gig that contains none of the benefits and almost all of the occupational and social stigma from starting to pop tops when you roll out of bed to the annoying buzz of a 7am alarm clock.
But now here comes DFH with Beer For Breakfast, a stout whose ingredients are so Mrs Butterworth meets Juan Valdez it’s as if the brewer is handing me a plate at the beginning of a Golden Corral breakfast buffet line while reassuring me that nothing bad has ever come from drinking 7.4%ABV beers first thing in the morning. I have experience that says otherwise.
This is a coffee stout. Through and through. From the aroma, to the flavor, to the intense blackness in the glass as if like you’re looking into Darth Vadar’s soul.
THEM: From the website, “A stout tricked out with all sorts of breakfast ingredients including Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, Maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts and for the quintessential Delaware breakfast touch – Rapa Scrapple and their secret blend of spices.
2-row Applewood smoked barley, Kiln Coffee malt, Flaked oats, Roasted barley, Caramel malt along with additions of Molasses, Milk Sugars (lactose), Brown Sugar, Roasted Chicory lay the foundation for this malty, breakfast-themed concoction. Enjoy huge notes of coffee in the nose and savory layers in the flavor.”
Beer for Breakfast clocks in at 7.4%ABV and 30IBU.
THE BUZZ: Beer Advocate 89%, Untappd 3.88, Rate Beer 97%
AVAILABILITY: Readily available in DE.
ME: Before we address the 800 pound post-processed porcine product in the room let’s get to the heart of this beer and the reason I underlined “coffee” and “chicory” in the above description.
This is a coffee stout. Through and through. From the aroma, to the flavor, to the intense blackness in the glass as if like you’re looking into Darth Vadar’s soul. The sugars play nicely together, with hints of maple syrup and brown sugar popping out in the aroma and flavor every now while supplying a velvety mouth feel and sweetness for all that roast flavor to play out on, but Beer For Breakfast never strays to far from its roots, from the the first sniff to the sticky iced coffee after taste.
But let’s prattle the pork….the scrapple! I’ve read a few reviews/comments that say they don’t taste any of the scrapple in the beer. On the one hand, that’s a relief because on the package a Rapa scrapple I opened the other day (by the way, all the women of the Kerper clan from my mom to my great-grandmother salute DFH’s use of Rapa – that’s the stuff right there) listed pork snouts as the third ingredient. Not sure I want to taste that in my beer.
But on the other hand it’s not just the meat that makes scrapple, it’s the blend of spices as well and after about half a glass I could almost convince myself that I was getting some woodsy spices out of the nose, plus a slight warmth like a pepper in the after taste.
If you’re a beer hunter and a DFH fan, you’ve probably already tried this. If you are and you haven’t – there’s nothing here to make me discourage you from giving it a shot, just as long as you remember that the key word here is coffee. As for the casual fan or everyday drinking? Well, at a $15 a six price point I don’t think I’ll be buying too much of it. Your dollars may vary. Having said that, I applaud DFH for at least not dropping it down to a 4-pack. Because in 2017 just like 2016, 4-packs are devil witchery.