Washington, D.C. Area – Dogfish Head Alehouse

Today’s post is a guest post from David Ackley over at Local Beer Blog. His blog features reviews of breweries, brewpubs, and beers, all with an eye to supporting local breweries, ingredient sourcing, and with a dedication to craft brewing.  He’s got stuff from all over the world on his blog, and I highly recommend you check it out!

In this post, David visited a Dogfish Head Alehouse in the Washington, D.C. area. Dogfish Head, as many of you already know, is a fantastic brewery based in Milton, Delaware, and headed by Sam Calagione. The brewery is known for their “experimental” or “extreme” beers. Class them however you want, Sam Calagione is a brewing genius who is not afraid to try something crazy in order to craft a beer that HE would like to drink.  Their alehouses carry their fine craft beers, which David discusses here. Someday, I’ll make it to either the brewery in Delaware or any of the alehouses in the D.C. area. Many thanks to David for contributing this post from his fantastic blog!

OK.  Now I know what all the hype is about — and why the line for Dogfish Head at the American Craft Beer Fest was out of control the whole time.  Out of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Dogfish Head also has three restaurants in the DC area: two in northern Virginia, one in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  I walked in, went straight for the bar, and ordered up a glass of their 90-Minute IPA.  The Dogfish IPAs are pretty well known among IPA fans, aka ‘hopheads’.  Dogfish does a 60-Minute, a 90-Minute, and a 120-Minute IPA, the ‘minutes’ referring to how long the beer spends boiling with hops.  But rather than listen to me tell you about it, why don’t you let the Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calagione, tell you himself?

And it was extremely delicious.  I followed the IPA with a tasty Alehouse BBQ Burger – two beef patties cooked over a wood fire, bacon, onion rings, and cheese – and spent the next hour or so deliberating which beer to get next.  This is where I was just about knocked off my barstool.  The beer selection at Dogfish Head was truly mind-blowing.  ‘Standard’ simply isn’t part of their vocabulary.  Nearly every single beer was made with ingredients that don’t typically find their way into commercial beer.  I sampled one called Theobroma, derived from a 3,200-year-old Aztec recipe and made with cocoa powder, honey, chili peppers, and annatto (a seed from a tree found in Latin America).  I was surprised how light it was – none of those ingredients was overwhelming at all.  I tried another beer called Black & Red, which was a strong, dark, fruity beer made with mint – lots of mint.  After several samples, I finally decided on the Raison d’Etre, a Belgian Ale made with raisins and beet sugar.  As you might expect, it smelled and tasted somewhat sweet and somewhat fruity — definitely a unique combination.  At 8% ABV, it also packed a pretty good punch on the alcohol scale.

I would have loved to hang out and try all the beers on the menu, but I figured I’d save some for when I visit DC again next week.  So — stay tuned…
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