If you’re ever visiting the state of Delaware and you like beer, you need to visit Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, near Rehoboth Beach. Delaware is such a small state that it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re not that far away from anything else in Delaware. Ben’s been a fan of Dogfish Head for years. (He loves telling people that he drank it before anyone knew about it. What a hipster! That last statement is even funnier when you know that Ben is about as square as they come.) If you’re interested in the history of craft beer (and Dogfish), I recommend seeing the documentary, Beer Wars, which catapulted Dogfish into public consciousness.
The Sunday after the Rehoboth Seashore Half, we had an easy morning. I made us a fancy breakfast of omelets, home fries, arugula salad with balsamic reduction and olive oil, and garlic toast. Then we drove to Junction and Breakwater Trail, a 6.4 mile rail trail, to go on a leisurely walk with Bandit. We met a few other walkers and cyclists. It was a little windy and cold, so we didn’t stay out long.
Then we drove to Milton to visit Ben’s Mecca – Dogfish Head Brewery. As I said before, I’m not a beer drinker (I like Lindemann’s lambic, Kasteel Rouge, and wheat beer that’s been mixed with lemonade or some kind of juice), but even I had a a lot of fun.
The brewery is actually not their first location. Dogfish Head first started out at where Dogfish Brewings & Eats, the bar/restaurant in Rehoboth Beach is. The original location got to be too small, so they moved to Milton, but they still have the bar/restaurant, where they create and test experimental batches of new beer. In fact, they serve beer that you can’t get anywhere else, not even at the brewery. Sometimes those experimental beers make it to the market, and sometimes they don’t.
Outside the brewery, they have a supercool steampunk treehouse. The artist is from Oakland, CA, which is next to a little “town” by the bay, where I spent so many formative years of my life, Berkeley (aka Berzerkeley). Off-centered people gravitate toward each other.
They offer a free hour-long tour every day during the summer (check for hours during the off season). We arrived at 12:15 pm and got a pair of tickets for the 1 pm tour. Fifteen minutes later, the tour was full. We were glad that we got there early. In the meanwhile, they gave us coupon that was good for a flight of beer tastings. You got to pick two and Dogfish gave you two. I don’t remember what Ben drank, but I sampled Festina Peche (peach-flavored beer) as one of my picks and I thought it was okay, which is high praise from me. My other tastings I gave to Ben.
The main tasting room was dog-friendly, so Bandit got to hang out with us. Unfortunately she had to wait in the car while we were on the tour (don’t worry, the temperature in the car was comfortable and she had water). The tour was very interesting as our guide told us about the history of Sam and Dogfish Head, and how Dogfish Head beer is different from all the other beers. We loved how we could take as many pictures as we wanted.
After the official tour, if you’re interested, the guide can take you to visit the bottling and packaging facility. Sadly because we were there on a weekend, the machines weren’t running, but it was still impressive to see. She also told us about Dogfish Head’s new venture into distillery. After the whole tour, we got to sample their liquor as well. I really liked their peanut vodka (I totally envision an upscale PB & J cocktail or martini coming in the future) and their honey rum (totally delicious!).
I chowed down on an artisanal chili cheese dog from their food truck before we drove back home. It was a fun afternoon and 100% recommend visiting this brewery.