Aaron N. Tubbs bio photo

Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I’m in a temporary lull where my Internet is working, so I’m going to (try to) get this up before it drops out on me again. After going to Bombay Hook and getting a much-needed shower, we headed down the coast of Delaware again, this time to visit the Dogfish Head Brewery. Upon arrival, we entered the building, and found ourselves in what looked to be either a looming drug deal, shootout, or both.

Luckily, on the other side of the door was a room of cheery inebriation and out-of-control merchandising, to welcome us to the brewery.

Before sampling the beer, we went on a tour of the facilities, complete with company story, founding legends, and a bit of beer education. My favorite part was probably the Palo aging vessel (seen in the back of the following two images), though it was interesting to see the facilities in general.

Also entertaining were the pails of raisin extract.

After finishing the tour, we were allowed to redeem our little dogfish tokens (four of them, state mandated) for small pours of free as in beer free beer. Featured that day were Festina Peche (which we’d had the previous night; crisp, sour, nice summer beer, I bought a case), Midas Touch (never liked this before, don’t like it now), Theobroma (eww), and Palo Santo Marron (yummy).

After the tasting, we were informed that all of our merchandising needs would be attended (overpriced clothing, posters, low quality bar gear, glassware, and accessories). Beer was also available, though the selections were more limited than I expected — they only had Festina, 60, 90, 120-minute (a whole case for just $180), Theobroma, Jiahu, India Brown Ale, Sah’Tea, Palo Santo Marron, and Shelter Pale Ale.

I mean, that’s a lot of beer, don’t get me wrong. But I was sort of hoping for Burton, Immort, Squall, Fort, etc. Some more of the season and rare stuff that only the brewery would have a private stock of. Maybe some brewery pre-cave-aged novelties (I know, silly hopes at this point, but the brewpub did have a vintage collection). Turns out there were some liquor stores that still had stock of some of the more recent offerings in the area, but the brewery did not.

Honestly, the whole experience was a little disappointing. I liked the tour, but the merchandising area felt surprising artificial and forced; it’s obvious the company is trying to grow and expand very quickly. I have no doubt they will soon be one of, if not the, largest craft brewers in the country. That said, I hope it’s because they continue to make high quality product, and not just because they happen to make stronger beers than most other folks.