Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Firefly Music Festival: Dogfish Head Beer Pairings and the Foods of Firefly

Photo Credit: Dogfish Head's Twitter Page
It's Firefly week, and we couldn't be more excited! To spend 3 1/2 days listening to amazing live music on the grounds of The Woodlands while sipping on brews from Dogfish and munching on local foods from around the state (and beyond), this is one of our favorite weekends of the year.

If you're like us, you'll head straight to The Brewery immediately upon walking onto Firefly grounds to start the festival off right - with a Dogfish in hand - especially since The Brewery will be open on Thursday this year! Dogfish will be pouring Firefly Ale (of course!), 60 Minutes, 90 Minute, Namaste, Midas Touch, Aprihop, Festina Peche, and for those gluten intolerant Festival goers, Tweason'Ale.

Photo Credit: www.fireflyfestival.com 
As we're packing up and getting ready for the weekend ahead of us, we got thinking, wouldn't it be fun to play with beer pairings while we eat our way around The Woodlands? We can create mini beer lunches and beer dinners throughout the three and a half days of Firefly. Thanks to the Dogfish website we found plenty of suggestions of how to pair their beers. We came up with so many fun ideas of what to eat and drink through Firefly weekend!

The Pairings
You can't have Firefly Music Festival without Dogfish Firefly Ale! The fruity and citrusy aroma combined with the subtle and spicy finish of Firefly Ale make for great pairings with the Cheese Pizza at Grotto Pizza and All Gourmet Catering. Dogfish suggests that Chardonnay is the wine comparable to Firefly Ale, and we're thinking give the Crabcake Sandwiches from Sherri's Crabcakes or the Chicken Kabobs from Doc Magrogan's, the Chicken Pita from Hamilton Gyro or Hamilton Wrap's Chicken Caesar Wrap.

When pairing Dogfish 60 Minute we took at look at foods that would bring out the citrus and the Northwest hops used in this East Coast IPA. Think spicy foods, soy-based foods, and pizza. With your 60 Minute in hand, head over to Grotto Pizza and grab a slice of their simple Cheese Pizza. The aged white cheddar they use is perfect for 60 Minute. Feeling a little pepperoni pizza? Try the Spicy Pepperoni Pizza from All Gourmet Catering. Wash down the spiciness of the Jambalaya from Phat Daddy's Creole Eats with a little 60 Minute too. Working on the soy-based side of things, pair the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl from RC Thai or the Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Teriyaki Glaze from Wok on the Wild Side with a 60 Minute.

Though not a food pairing, the grassy notes of 60 Minute are perfect to pair with the bands playing on The Lawn stage. Grassy? Lawn? Seems like a good fit to us!

Dogfish is bringing another continuously hopped treat to Firefly, 90 Minute. For this beer we're looking at the the malt background and the flavors of the raisins and citrus to shine through. The Pepperoni Pizza from Grotto Pizza or the Meat Lovers Pizza offered by All Gourmet Catering would fit the bill. The Fish and Chips from Doc Magrogan's would work mighty fine too and the Jambalaya at Phat Daddy's Creole Easts would too.

For the lighter foods of Firefly, Namaste is a great choice. The dried organic orange slices and lemongrass make this Witbier a great pairing with the Turkey Pita from the Pita Station or the Chicken Caesar Wrap from Hamilton Wrap. Dogfish suggests that Namaste is a beer comparable to Gewurztraminer. Taking a cue from that, we like the idea of pairing Namaste with the Crabcake Sandwich or Cream of Crap Soup from Sherri's Crabcakes or a Chicken BLT Wrap from Hamilton Wrap.

It's really interesting to see that one of the most pair-able beers at Firefly is one of the brewery's first Ancient Ales, Midas Touch. The rich and colorful background flavors of the brew will pair well with the Cold Noodle Salad with Veggies, Chicken or Shrimp from Doc's Magrogan's, the Hawaiian-style Wok Fried Soba Noodles from Festival Island Noodles, the Asian Lettuce Wrap from Hamilton Wrap and the Stir Fried Soba Noodles with Vegetables form Wok on the Wild Side. Grad a Midas Touch and go on a little culinary adventure!

Festina Peche, the brewery's Neo-Berliner Weisse is delicately hopped with flavors of peaches, green apples and raspberry syrup. We're liking the idea of Doc Magrogan's Chicken Kabobs to compliment the flavors. Taking a note from Dogfish likening Festina to Pinot Grogio, check out Festina Peche with the Pita Station's Tuna Salad Pita or the Crabcake Sandwich from Sherri's Crabcakes.

Go a little heartier to keep you energized for the full days of music ahead with Aprihop and food pairings to bring out the apricot, fruit, citrus and cedar. These notes will work well with tacos and burritos from Tica's Tacos, the BBQ Pork, Beef or Chicken Sandwich from Outlaw BBQ, and the BBQ Chicken Pizza from All Gourmet Catering.

Though you may not have a gluten intolerance to encourage you to try Dogfish Tweason'Ale, these food pairing suggestions may! The Tuna Salad Pita (available on a gluten free pita) from Pita Station will be a nice compliment to the molasses, strawberry and buckwheat honey you'll find peaking through the flavors of this beer Another suggestion is the kettle corn or movie popcorn from Bunting's Popcorn Station. Not quite a food pairing, we're liking the idea of creating a beer cocktail with the Strawberry Lemonade from Hamilton Gyro and a Tweason'Ale!

If you're camping at Firefly, be sure to stop by The Hub and check out the food trucks hanging out there for the weekend. We saw that both I Don't Give a Fork and The Roaming Raven will be there representing Delaware love!

And now, 5:30pm on Thursday afternoon can't come soon enough. See you at Firefly!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

We Second This Open Letter of Support for the Expansion of Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats...

Earlier this week Richard Hartogs, also found as I Heart Beer and Better Beer Authority, wrote an open letter to the City of Rehoboth Beach Board of Adjustment. To say we second his thoughts throughout the letter is an understatement. Here are our sentiments and thoughts on everything Dogfish is going through...

One of my first introductions to craft beer was a beer from that oddly named brewery down at the beach. That oddly named brewery was Dogfish and it peaked my interest in what has become a passion, a hobby and something I simply enjoy. 

We regularly attend craft beer events, visit breweries and spend time with our friends enjoying craft beer. We've traveled from east coast to west coast and places in between, and when fellow craft beer drinkers find out we're from Delaware, it's an immediate conversation starter. Everyone knows Dogfish, their eclectic collection of brews, and that Sam Calagione has played a very large role in helping make the craft beer industry what it is today. And those that haven't already visited Delaware and Dogfish, many tell us that trip is one they hope to make one day.  

From those conversations we learn that people make trips from cities as close as Wilmington and Philadelphia, but also from upstate New York, Canada and just about anywhere else you can imagine. The folks from New York? They made the 8+ hour drive to Coastal Delaware and stayed at the Hotel Rehoboth for 5 days. Midway through their stay they knew they needed to spend more time in Rehoboth and came back the following May and have been doing so every year since I first met them. How about receiving a tweet from a Dogfish fan in Canada. She was traveling to Delaware for her birthday, celebrating it at Dogfish. She wanted to know our thoughts on how she could spend her time at the Delaware beach. Her tweets from during the time she was visiting were full of excitement, giddy and pure happiness. 

Dogfish has made Delaware, and Rehoboth, a destination. 

What is even greater, on their way to Dogfish, craft beer adventurers find out that Delaware has so much to offer by way of cuisine, beautiful beaches, and something to keep them coming back to Delaware: a thriving craft beer scene. Dogfish is a tourism generator, and I'm sure no matter where they are located people will still visit, but the greater picture, and the first thing we immediately thought: What will that do to the local economy of Rehoboth? 

Like Richard mentioned, Rehoboth's off-season, like many coastal towns in this area of the country, have been quieter in years past. And like many people, we now visit Rehoboth more in the off-season then we do during the height of the summer season. Many of our first off-season trips were because of Dogfish. Assuming we would have little to do other than visit the brewpub and do some outlet shopping, we quickly realized that isn't the case. Through the years this has changed so tremendously, which has been amazing to see. It's also easy to note that the one constant through the years in the off-season has been the Dogfish brewpub. It's not a seasonal destination, it's year round. 

The ripple effect of those potentially not visiting Rehoboth because Dogfish isn't there any more is apparent. The week your initial decision was made on the new plans for the brewpub, we were in town staying at a hotel in Rehoboth. We were very quick to question various businesses on their thoughts on how this might affect their business. Not surprised one bit, we heard over and over that these business owners and managers were very aware of the influx of visitors that Dogfish brings in to the town. They eat at the restaurants around town. They're filling up the rooms at the hotels. They're shopping in the boutiques and shops along Rehoboth Avenue and beyond. They're spending their hard earned dollars in your town, in your economy. Why take that way from the businesses that benefit from having these visitors in your beautiful beachside town? As supporters of the great town you live in, would you want to be the cause of something like this? 

One of the greatest takeaways we get from being a part of such an amazing industry is the family-like camaraderie of breweries, looking out and helping one another whenever they can. To see this translate to the community of Rehoboth and your decision and encouragement of keeping a business like Dogfish in your town, is one that I hope we all see happen. Rehoboth is an integral part of Dogfish's history. It would be heartbreaking to see a staple of your town, and a company that is so intertwined with the community it serves, leave and make their home elsewhere. 

Thank you, 

Lindsey Timberman
Eric Roberts
Delaware Hop Scene 

Help this petition to Approve Dogfish Head Expansion Plans reach 5,000 signatures: 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

off-centered off-season

When you think of a weekend at the beach, your mind probably wanders to the warmth and sunshine of the time coming up between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And we do too, most of the time. But as much as we love spending hours catching up on every book we didn't get to read over the winter, listening to the waves crashing on the sand, the 'off-season' months are some of our favorite around Coastal Delaware! 
The cooler months of the year is a time to do a few of the things we never seem to find the time to do during the summer months because, let's face it, we don't want to pull ourselves off the beach! Over the years of exploring the beach during the off season we continue to find more and more local business that are staying open year-round (if they weren’t already). So many beer dinners and special beer events happen at the beach during these quieter months, taking advantage of the smaller year-round population and visitors.  

After making it through the final workday of the week, on a chilly Friday night in January, Eric and I made our way down Route 1, and like any time we make this trek, the closer we got to the smell of salt in the air, the more excited – and relaxed – we both find ourselves. This trip down it also may have had a little something to do with spending the weekend at the Dogfish Inn in downtown LewesPulling into the Inn’s parking lot we quickly realized we weren’t the only ones who had the idea of a winter weekend visit to the beach. Which was pretty awesome to see (though not really surprising...this is one cool Inn!)  
We first visited the Inn for the ribbon cutting back in June and had a chance to check out the grounds and rooms of the Inn, but getting to stay for the weekend was going to be a whole new adventure. Upon checking into Room 7, relaxation really kicked in. After a long work week we fought off the urge to crash into the beyond comfortable looking bed (especially after our friend Heather told us it was of the most comfy bed she’s ever slept in), we quickly reminded ourselves we didn’t come to rest, we can to explore!

First on our agenda: dinner at the Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats (the Brewpub!) Since this was our first trip to the beach since the New Year, before we did anything, we had to renew our Dogfish Head Mug Club membership. Then it was food and drink time. Round one, and the Mug Club renewal beer, was Sixty-One for Eric, and a flight for me. With three Brewpub Exclusives immediately catching my eye, the flight was the way to go for me. Czechzum, Brewdolf and Black Lodge, Immort and Chicory Stout filled up the dance card of my flight. 

Needing a snack before dinner, we went with one of our menu go-tos, the Olives Pickles and Cheese with 60 Minute IPA marinated olives and Brooklyn Brine Hop Pickles

Eric's next round was Palo Santo, and I, like a kid, had to order my now-standard once-a-trip Beach Beer, which I got hooked on it during last year's Analog-A-Go-Go. 

When we read one the dessert special for the night, we knew it would be the best way to round out the night - and to remind ourselves to save room for dessert! How intriguing does Ancho Chili Churro Bites served with three sauces - Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate, Nutmeg Crème Anglaise and Ancho Chili Honey - sound? To make it even better, Theobroma was on tap, which paired perfectly with the amazing flavors of the dessert. Talk about a perfect ending to night #1 of our Coastal Delaware #offcentered #offseason adventure! 

As much as we're beer people, we're coffee people too, and the Chicory Stout Coffee the Inn serves is out of this world. There was a chill in the air that rainy Saturday morning, making it the perfect type of morning to enjoy a cup of coffee by the fire. And that’s just what we did. That's another thing we love so much about the beach. Relaxing is okay. Taking it a bit slower in the morning is okay. The day can get started when you're good and ready for it to start. 

After refueling with coffee at the Inn, it was breakfast time...with with more coffee, of course. We stopped into a favorite spot in Lewes, the Lewes Bake Shoppe and Notting Hill Coffee Roastery. The Bake Shoppe offers so many yummy breakfast items and pastries, and one of the largest selections of coffee beans we've ever seen. On top of this being a great place to start your morning, the folks there are super sweet and just the right dose of perkiness for early morning trips!  

Without summer traffic to battle, getting in the car for a drive is a great Saturday afternoon plan during the off season. Our destination this Saturday was Burley Okay Brewing, located about an hour south of Lewes, in Berlin, Maryland, America's Coolest Small Town, according to Budget Travel. Burley Oak is, as you might expect from the names of several of their beers, a pretty chill place to visit. It's BYOF(ood) and a totally relaxed atmosphere. 

We originally visited Burley Oak not long after they opened. We've been looking to get back down to the brewery for another visit. This time around we went with Awesome Sauce, Secret Sauce, Rude Boy, Vlad, Bunker-C, and I had to try their Root Beer! The weekend prior to our visit was Burley Oak’s Bee’s Knees release party and we were pretty excited to see a few bottles still available when we visited, so obviously a bottle had to make its way home with us.
Needing some post brewery visit grub, we took a drive into downtown Berlin and found Rayne’s Reef Soda Fountain and Grill – where we ran into one of our bartenders from Burley Oak - and split one of the most delightful grilled cheese we’ve tasted.  

While popping in the shops around town we also purchased a fun beer sign from TaDa and a Birthday Cake cake pop and salted caramel cupcake from Cupcakes in Bloom, who you may have seen on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Despite the rainy day, we had a blast checking out such a cool town!
Having any sort of a schedule or super laid out plans goes against our mantra when we're at the beach, but this Saturday was a bit of an exception to the rule. Our goal of the afternoon was to get back to the Inn by 4pm so we could take part in the Fireside Chat with Sam. But before that, we had to make one final stop on the way back through town. We had to visit with the fantastic folks at R&L Liquors, located right in downtown Lewes, just a few blocks from the Inn. During this trip (as it was just a few days after the Elysian announcement) we were anxious to purchase Elysian Space Dust before the folks of InBev tinkered with it. We grabbed a six-pack of that, plus a little Dogfish Piercing Pils, Siren Craft Brew Lemon Cello IPA and Prairie Artisanal Ales Spaghetti West. We always come out of R&L with a nice haul of beers to take home with us, and this Saturday was no different. 

Since it wasn’t the prettiest of 4 p.m.’s, Sam’s Fireside Chat was still fireside, just slight change of location, to the lobby’s fireplace. Sam raided his fridge to share with the Inn's guests, and guests were encouraged to bring their own beer to sip on. Many fellow Inn guests opted for brews local to their home, while others brought their favorite Dogfish brews. We opened up Evil Twin Hop Flood and Lagunitas Sucks to sip on during the chat. 

Sam was off to the annual co-workers shindig in Dewey that night (which also meant the brewpub was closed  - eek!) but this gave us the perfect opportunity to finally stop in and meet the folks at Mr. P’s Pizza. It was great to chat with Rick and Meg about their 19 beers on tap, including a nitro and cask beer. While we were there we checked out Saucony Creek Schnickelfritz Chocolate Stout on cask, Troegs Blizzard of Hops and Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA while we snacked on homemade garlic bread. Make sure you get one of Mr. P's craft beer and pizza frequent cards when you stop in! 

After some downtime wandering through the shops in Rehoboth, dinner at 
Henlopen City Oyster House was on the docket for the evening. Eric and I were on the same lobster wavelength that night – I went with the Lobster Roll and Eric tried the Lobster Mac and Cheese. And both were crazy good. Dinner was paired with Mikkeller Spontanredcurrent and Lagunitas Brown Shugga. As we took our last sips of our beers, we knew it was time to call it a day. We could hear our bed back at the Inn calling our name...

We woke to sunshine and warmer weather on Sunday morning and decided, after our Chicory Stout coffee, it was time to borrow two bikes from the Inn and cruise down the Junction & Breakwater Trail and then down to Lewes Beach. It was a little breezy, but we couldn't pass up a chance to take a quick ride in January. And when the bikes are as cool as the Inn's bikes, you really can't pass up a ride!

The bike ride kicked off a much more low key Sunday at the beach, which is pretty much how we love our Sundays to be when we're down there. After chatting with Innkeeper Andrew during checkout, our afternoon included window shopping through Lewes and Rehoboth, then grabbed lunch at Fin's Ale House, where we spied the brewing equipment of Big Oyster Brewing

On the drive back North, one that we always put off as long as possible, I scrolled through pictures from the weekend. It was so easy to see why we love our trips down to Coastal Delaware. Having such a neat addition to the Dogfish Head family. And it's just darn awesome. Besides being super cool accommodations, every person we came in contact with throughout our stay made the stay even better than it already way. The attention to detail and amenities of the room were so unique and quirky - in the best way possible! When the designing mind behind the Ace Hotel working on the awesomeness of the Dogfish Inn, we knew it would be super impressive, and boy did they prove that notion right! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Craft Brewery Gifts From Around the State #shoplocal

Christmas may be in a few days, no worries, there’s still plenty of time to get that craft beer lover in your life (or yourself!) something pretty darn awesome, and local, from one of the craft breweries around the state! Here are some of our favorite picks again this year (seems this is becoming an annual thing!) 

16 Mile Brewing has a few new items in stock including this camo logo hat. The brewery has newly redesigned growlers that you can fill with your holiday pal's favorite 16 Mile Brew. The brewery also has their summer t-shirts for $5 and all other t-shirts for $15. Can’t go wrong with a cool beer t-shirt!

Photo credit: 3rd Wave Facebook
3rd Wave Brewing has a stainless steel growler available, plus tons of cool t-shirts, hats and signage for the craft beer lover you’re still shopping for. Not sure exactly what to get? There’s always a 3rd Wave gift certificate or a growler full of the brewery's tasty beers!

Argilla Brewing 
is offering a gift card special through the end of the year (that's next week already, can you believe it?!) Buy a $50 gift card and receive a free $15 gift certificate. It's always a nice bonus when you get a little something extra for yourself! 

Photo credit: www.dogfish.com
Dogfish Head partnered with Woolrich earlier this year.  We are loving the Woolrich + DFH Blanket. It’s a great  gift for those on your holiday list that aren’t into craft beer too. We love anything with dual functionality, like this Dogfish Head Belt – a belt and bottle opener in one.

Photo credit: FoDo's website
Looking to decorate your man (or woman) cave? How about picking up one of each of the Bomber Girls posters from Fordham and Dominion Brewing? Need something for the kiddies? Shoot the brewery an email to place your order for Dominion Handcrafted Soda.  

Photo credit: ironhillbrewery.com
Iron Hill Brewing put together a whole Holiday Gift Menu for you to check out (http://bit.ly/1wCjITV) with picks like a King of the Hill Membership, gift card or the Bedotter Belgian- Style Tripel, now available in cans!

Photo credit: Mispillion's FB 

Mispillion River Brewing
has a cool sterling silver necklace for the craft beer loving lady in your life. (Check out the pur-ty lady modeling the necklace...hi, Lauren!) Stop by the brewery for t-shirts, growler fills or pick up a gift certificate for the hard to buy for folks on your list.  

Photo credit: PBE's Facebook

Visiting with a craft beer lover for the holidays? Stop by Pizza by Elizabeth's to pick up a growler of their Frozen Toes brews and a pizza to go for a great night in with your holiday pal. 

Stewart’s Brewing Co.
has growlers and gift cards that
Photo credit: Stewart's FB page
make the perfect Christmas gift for the craft beer lovers in your life. Suggest using the gift card for Stewart’s New Year’s Day celebration – when they will have $1 Stumblin’ Monk Abbey Tripel (for the 1st 150 servings) - and if you're lucky they'll take you along with them!

Photo credit: Twin Lakes' website

Growlers, bike jerseys, t-shirts and more, stop by the Twin Lakes Brewing Co. tasting room to pick up some goodies to check off a few more peeps off your list! 

Photo credit: Warlock's FB page
Warlock Brewing Company may not be open yet, how about giving someone an I.O.U. for an afternoon at the brewery with a tasting and a growler fill?

Want a little throwback Delaware beer gift? Take a look at the Blue Hen Beer t-shirts now available!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Now Open: Trolley Tap House!

Walking up to Trolley Tap House, it's hard to believe that just two months ago this spot was CR Hooligans. The yellow and blue exterior is gone, leading way to a toned down gray exterior (though you may notice the baseball bat door handles that once belonged to Hooligans are still there). 

As we stepped into the doors of the Tap House, we were welcomed into a warm and comfortable, super inviting area, filled with a collection of high and low top tables, a bar and the two signature garage doors leading to the outdoor seating. 
Deciding to take full advantage of such a gorgeous night last night, we opted to sit outside on the patio where our wonderful server, Joel, took care of us. Right off the bat it was tricky narrowing down what we wanted to try on our first visit to the Tap House. General Manager Patrick Jones did a fantastic job at creating a nice balance of options available on tap. It's not too heavy on one style, offering some nice options for the craft beer novice that might wander in off of Delaware Avenue. 

After mulling the menu over a few (dozen!) times, I landed on the Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Extra and Eric went with Evolution Lot #3. Our friends Sam and Jackie sipped on two local brews, 16 Mile Soulful Ginger and Twin Lakes Route 52 Pilsner
Once we settled in on the drinks, we needed to pick what was going to be our post-work day snack. The menu is extremely tempting, and it was pretty darn hard landing on what we went with! We ended up trying their Pub Fries, topped with Porter onions, grated sharp cheese, fresh herbs and a malt aioli. On Jackie's suggestion (who had already been to the Tap House on Tuesday night during their quiet soft opening) Sam went with the Fried Green Bean, which are served with a lemon herb aioli. Both were so, so tasty! 

For round two we opted to take advantage of the smaller, 6-ounce pours that Trolley Tap House offers. This time around I went with cask-conditioned Mispillion Double Chin and Eric went with Brooklyn Blast. By this time our friend Erika joined us for a drink. She picked a big one, Sierra Nevada Narwhal

To tell the bartenders what's on tap, the Tap House has hand written in what's pouring from each tap. We loved seeing that the glass type for each beer was written below each name as well. Such a great training tool! 

As Trolley Tap House is looking at day # 3 of service, we have a feeling this spot is going to make a great impact on the craft beer scene in the state. Before the doors even opened yesterday, there were a few people waiting for them to open for the evening. Patrick mentioned the crowds on Tuesday night were exciting and they were pretty full not long after opening the doors at 6:30pm. Last night they opened at 5:00pm for dinner and it's pretty easy to say that within the hour they had another full house. The enthusiasm and excitement behind the staff is easy to see. We're looking forward to another visit to Trolley Tap House - it's so great to have another strong craft beer location to throw into the mix in Delaware! 

Here are some more (beer!) shots from around Trolley Tap House!