Up until my visit to Dogfish Head in Delaware, my visits to breweries had been entirely observational. I got to see where the magic happened and the ingredients that would be turned into delicious beer, but that was where my involvement usually ended. When I found out I’d get to participate in a brew at Dogfish Head, I was pretty excited, and when I found out I’d be doing so alongside the brewery’s founder and president, Sam Calagione, I could hardly believe it.
We got up extra early and departed the Dogfish Inn to head on over to Dogfish’s pub, restaurant, and R&D brewery in Downtown Rehoboth Beach. Upon arriving we met Sam, a man of legendary status, but who couldn’t have been more friendly and personable. Then it was time to start brewing. I slipped on my loaner waterproof boots and rolled up my metaphorical sleeves to get started. After perusing the ingredients for the day’s brew – a chicory stout called Beer for Breakfast - it was time to mash in.
Applewood smoked barley, coffee malts, and specially produced Scrapple all went into the kettle, and I stirred and stirred as Sam cheered me on. Hard work, to be sure, but someone’s gotta do it.
Since the day’s brew wouldn’t be drinkable until the entire process was completed, at least two months later, we settled in at the bar to drink from a batch that was produced earlier. Stouts are one of my favorite styles of beer, and coffee stouts especially, so despite it being the heat of summer I was very pleased to sit down with a glass of the dark stuff. It’s rich and sweet and brimming with breakfasty goodness - Ron Swanson would be proud.