Another Vacation, Another Brewery…
My wife is a truly a saint for participating in my beer obsession. Our latest trip was a few nights in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We’ve been there a number of times over the last few years – yet our kids had no recollection of ever being at either the hotel, the beach or on any of the rides. Hopefully, this trip burned some long term memories. One afternoon, my sister was gracious enough to watch our two boys on the beach so we could sneak off to the Dogfish Head Brew Pub for a bite to eat and a beer sampling . If you go, the brewery is located right on the main street a little over a quarter of a mile from the beach. It’s a nice walk with plenty of artsy shops, restaurants and souvenir opportunities.
I’ve had quite a few Dogfish Head brews and I wanted to pick a mix of pub exclusive items along with some that I thought my wife might enjoy. She likes Pale Ales and IPA — but not to the tastebud torturous levels that I enjoy. I tried to pick a couple that she might enjoy along with an order of fried calamari with hot peppers and a teriyaki dipping sauce – which was so good — we ordered a second.
First up was the Pumpkin Old Ale. It’s a brew pub exclusive and I read a little about it before our trip. It’s a collaborative brew between DFH and the winner of a Philadelphia home brewing contest – Tyler Flynn. It’s a British old ale that features pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and bourbon-soaked oak chips. It checked in at a solid 8.0% ABv. However, this one was a bit of a let down. Yes, it had subtle vanilla, oak and boozy character — perhaps all three from the bourbon-oak influence, but it lacked any pumpkin or cinnamon. My wife offered the same assessment — so, I wasn’t just me. I’ll put it at a pedestrian 77 points.
Next up – Shelter Pale Ale. This one is supposed to have a solid malt backbone with some solid northwestern hops. Here again — lacked interest. Coors Light markets cold and wet — not a craft beer. Sorry to say this one disappointed as well – 72 points
My wife has never had a 90 minute IPA. It’s one of my favorite beers from DFH and a safe bet that I couldn’t overlook adding to this sampler. I thought it might be a bit too much for her – but wanted to see what she thought. She called it interesting and full of flavor — but bitter beyond her comfort zone. I think she’d like 60 minute IPA. Read my thoughts on 90 Minute IPA HERE
DFH is known for unique brewing ingredients and the fourth sample – Theobroma — showcases an interesting combination. It’s supposedly taken from a 3,200 year old recipe deduced from analysis of old clay pots. It contains Aztec cocoa, chocolate nips, honey, chiles and annatto (seeds from the tropical fruit). Translating to “Food for the Gods”, this ale pours lighter than I expected. This one is very interesting as I get a nice combination of chili spice and nuttiness over the top of yeasty banana. No real sign of chocolate — but a nice sipper. 84 points.
Last up — the grandaddy of the 60/75/90/120 series. I’ve had this a few times and each experience has been totally different. Read my original review. HERE . This one is definitely beyond my wife’s wheelhouse as it was one sip and done. For me, this was really quite nice — far better than my original 86 score.
We finished our visit with another beer — my wife wanted to give 90 minute IPA another go and I ordered a Burton Baton. A couple of sips in, my wife gave up on the 90 and took over my Burton.