When I visited the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago, I was impressed with lots of things. The hoards of bearded beer bros. The wonder of Denver. The tartness of sours. The bitter hops that can be packed into imperial double ULTIMATE IPAs!! But something else struck me… The line for the Dogfish Head stand. It seemed to span a mile! WHAT WERE THEY ALL WAITING FOR?!
See, though I’m just mad for the brews produced by Dogfish Head, I was born in Delaware. I grew up there, and though I migrated to Pennsylvania when I was 10, it was “Delaware County”, a stone’s throw from Wilmington. It’s no surprise, then, that DFH was never perceived to me as “rare” or “special” merely…. present. Ubiquitous, even. That said, I get it. If you’re someone who doesn’t have access to the tasty beers from the First State, they become something to seek out. Rare gems. And where better to pan for gems than the source? (That was my best try at a segue. Don’t hate me.)
My dear buddy Claire came down right after the new year cracked so we could take a journey south to Milton to visit the brewery for the day. We were promptly greeted with tickets to the tour and four sample pours. I chose the four I hadn’t tried before, and we enjoyed a little pre-tour tasting
Before I’d even started my fourth pour, it was time to tour!
And I have a confession….
The tour was (at least the portion we were on) dreadfully dull. I have a feeling it isn’t always this way, but we got shafted by a tour guide who somehow managed to make my absolute favorite topic boring, while periodically making me feel weirded out… Claire put it best, saying that Lars (our tour guide) left us feeling like his entire spiel was a long joke that never got the punchline, and never really taught us anything about what makes Dogfish Head special.
It’s okay. Their website can tell you plenty. All we knew was that, after about 30 minutes of saying what felt like nothing, we had to get outta there.
We left the tour early for greener pastures (after one last beer…)
Lucky for us, Dogfish Head’s Brewpub is in Rehoboth Beach, a mere 25 minutes away. So we hit the road for some eats and dranks.
Pickles, cheese, olives, and beer: What else could two gals ask for?
The beers were brewpub exclusives, Pennsylvania Tuxedo and Analog, and they were world-rocking. Claire had the higher ABV since I was driving, but we both made sure we didn’t leave empty bellied….
We each got a porchetta sandwich with MORE PICKLES (quickly becoming something I seek out, don’t offer to dining partners! #growingup), arugula, roasted (or was it “blistered”) red peppers, and a rich aioli that I don’t even really remember beyond just stifled moans of enjoyment from both of us.
We both left proud members of the clean plate club, stoked that our DFH dreams came true, just a little distance away from where we thought they would.
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for those off-centered ales, and with a setting like this outside…. well, I still recommend a visit!
It was still a solid day trip, and if you’ve got the time (especially in the summer) worth the trek!
Best brewery tour you’ve ever taken?