To celebrate its 20th birthday this year, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will be releasing six limited edition beers during the holiday season. The six beers selected to be released this winter represent the vast profile of flavors and ingredients that Dogfish is known to incorporate in its brews.
Kicking off the lineup of releases is Dogfish’s birthday beer, Higher Math, which will be available to the public on November 6. The culmination of 20 off-centered years, Higher Math is a tribute to the auspicious first beer that founder and president Sam Calagione created in his New York City apartment back in the early 1990s. Coming home from a homebrew store, Calagione picked up a bag of cherries at a local bodega, thinking the cherries would make his beer more flavorful. He and his friends enjoyed that first batch of beer, which ignited his interest to open what is now, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Clocking in at 17 percent ABV, Higher Math is a golden strong ale fermented with sour cherry juice and cocoa nibs. It has forward notes of cherries and fruit with late notes of cocoa, and a lingering sweetness and a notable warmth from the alcohol.
“Higher Math is like a big old cherry chocolate liquid birthday cake to celebrate our 20th anniversary,” Calagione says. “This beer was designed to be shared with a loved one and it ages with the best of them.”
Also releasing on November 6is the Pennsylvania Tuxedo. Brewed in collaboration with the legendary outdoor outfitter Woolrich, Pennsylvania Tuxedo is a spruce-infused pale ale that pays homage to the flannel-suited hunters and gatherers who dwell deep in the backcountry of Pennsylvania. Following Dogfish’s philosophy of using unusual ingredients, this ale is dosed with tons of fresh spruce tips that were hand-harvested from forests near the Woolrich mill in central Pennsylvania. The result is an 8.5 percent ABV ale with a grassy citrus kick and resinous conifer notes balanced by dry yet doughy malt backbone. Pennsylvania Tuxedo represents Dogfish’s commitment to work alongside artists of various industries. With its blankets already prominently featured at The Dogfish Inn and a clothing collaboration already on shelves, Pennsylvania Tuxedo represents the latest chapter in an ongoing relationship between two family-run, American companies.
“Brewing Penn Tux has been an awesome opportunity for our family-controlled brewery to collaborate with one of America’s oldest family companies. I got to pick dozens of bags of fresh spruce tips for this beer with Rich family members in the forest behind their Pennsylvania mill,” Calagione says. “This beer smells like Paul Bunyan’s cologne and tastes like making out with Mother Nature.”
Rounding out the winter releases are 75 Minute IPA [November 6], Fort [November 16], Piercing Pils (November 30) and Bitches Brew [December 7].
The 75 Minute IPA is a blend of two Dogfish Head favorites [60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs], maple syrup, and carbonate. The carbon dioxide trapped during bottle conditioning gives 75 Minute IPA a soft and velvety mouthfeel. Dry-hopped with whole-leaf Cascades, this complex IPA has been known to inspire pilgrimages to the Dogfish brewery and brewpub.
Fort, an ale brewed with a large amount of raspberry juice, is a Belgian-style base followed by a similar fermentation process to the one Dogfish uses on beers like Higher Math and 120 Minute IPA. In other words, this beer isn’t for the faint of heart or palate.
Inspired by traditional English perry and Czech-style pilsner recipes, Piercing Pils is Dogfish’s off-centered take on a winter seasonal. The complexity of the pear notes pierce right through the spicy Czech Saaz hops and add a gentle acidity to this crisp, refreshing lager. A late addition of white pear tea amplifies the fruity aromas and helps the pears sing. It’s quite a chorus.
Lastly, the beginning of December will mark the return of Bitches Brew, a gustatory tribute to Miles Davis' 1970 paradigm-shifting, landmark fusion breakthrough of the same name. In keeping with the alchemical spirit of the album, Bitches Brew a dark beer that is a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root.