BONUS! Dogfish Brewery Tour!

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As we left Delaware, I did a double-check of “things we should see” before we headed to Virginia, and I realized we would be very close to the Dogfish Brewery and being the beer aficionado that I am, (let me know when you are done laughing), this became a BONUS stop on our itinerary. (When you travel with me, a BONUS stop is something that was not on the planned itinerary and when you get there, you have to say the word BONUS in your loudest, most annoying voice.)

This is what you see when you pull in the parking lot.

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I was so excited to be doing this, especially since I knew that a Dogfish shirt and some samples would make someone I know very happy!

When we entered the brewery, the nice receptionist told us:

1. The brewery was closed (they are closed on Mondays).
2. We needed a reservation to take a tour even if they were open.
3. She could not sell me a tshirt and deposit the money the next day for me.

But she did let me take her picture, and pictures of the lobby area. So here is your abbreviated glimpse of the inner-workings of the Dogfish Brewery:

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The treehouse has it’s own story. When you pull up to Dogfish Head in Milton, DE you just might notice our off-centered, retro-futuristic sculpture The Steampunk Tree House. This piece of functional art had an illustrious history before creating a permanent home at Dogfish in June of 2010.

The Tree House was concieved and created by the Oakland, CA based artist Sean Orlando and the Five Ton Crane Arts Group in 2007 (more on the artists). The interactive large-scale project debuted at the Burning Man event in Black Rock City, NV in late August of that year. The Tree is 40′ tall, 40′ wide, weighs 8 tons, and was crafted in part from recycled and reclaimed materials.

According to lead artist Sean Orlando, “the Steampunk Tree House was made to explore the relationship between our rapidly changing natural world and the persistent human drive to connect with it and one another. It is our second nature.”

Dogfish stumbled across the Tree House online and began a dialogue with the artists. When they learned they were looking for a permanent home for their sculpture they knew it was meant to be! Two off-centered crews coming together.

Orlando and the 5-Ton crew arrived at the Milton brewery in June of 2010 for the installation. They had a great time getting to know them and watch their magic happen! On June 25th, they smashed a bottle of Life & Limb against the door and officially made Dogfish the new home of The Steampunk Tree House.

Here is a timelapse video of the 2-week installation….

The Steampunk Tree House can be viewed and enjoyed by all the folks visiting the brewery. Access to the interior of the Tree House is limited to our Dogfish co-workers as we use the space to share ideas in a creative environment; in essence it is our off-centered safety tree.

Wanna know more?
Dimensions:
– Total height 40′ tall
– Trunk height 20
– Trunk dia, 2 (5′ total trunk dia. with outer skin)
– Total spread of branches 40′ dia.
– Main structural support branches dia.: 15′
– Tree House component off of the ground: 20
– House dimensions: 15′ hexagonal / 12′ tall

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The story of Dogfish Head began in June of 1995 when they opened Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the first state’s first brewpub opened in the resort beach community of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

The plan was to bring original beer, original food, and original music to the area. Not only was Dogfish Head Delaware’s first brewpub, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America. Their very first batch, Shelter Pale Ale, was brewed on a system which essentially was three little kegs with propane burners underneath. Brewing 12–gallon batches of beer for a whole restaurant proved to be more than a full time job. When the doors to the pub first opened, they brewed three times a day, five days a week! The one benefit to brewing on such a small system was the ability to try out a myriad of different recipes. They quickly got bored brewing the same things over and over – that’s when they started adding all sorts of weird ingredients and getting kind of crazy with the beers!

The beer wasn’t the brewpub’s only draw. The pub’s menu centered on a wood-burning grill. They soon became known as the place to enjoy fresh grilled seafood, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. The wood–burning grill imparts a unique flavor to everything on the menu, whether it’s a hearty sandwich, a delicate piece of fish or our signature pizza dough.

With the popularity of the pub growing, it was quickly apparent that the 12–gallon brewery would not keep up with demand. They built a new brewery and underwent a thirty-fold expansion of the brew house!

The reputation of Dogfish Head ales quickly grew beyond Delaware’s borders. Calls from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and beyond poured in, as thirsty restaurant patrons demanded their favorite beach beer at home. They began bottling our Shelter Pale Ale in 1996 and just 1 year later they expanded again – this time they separated the packaging operation from the restaurant, and kept on brewing! By 1999, they were up to five year–round bottled brands in about a dozen states.

They outgrew their distributing brewery in a couple years and in the summer of 2002, they moved their entire production brewery up the road to Milton, Del., into a 100,000-square-foot converted cannery. Around the same time (just to keep thing interesting), they built a distillery on the second floor of their Rehoboth Beach brewpub, so they could make vodka, rum and gin.

Thanks to all their employees and every one of their customers, Dogfish Head continues to grow today! They are now up to nearly 20 styles of beer that are sold in more than 25 states, and a half-dozen kinds of hand-crafted spirits … and they still have some ideas in the back of their collective heads.

If you haven’t had the chance to taste Dogfish Head, find a beer, track down one of their spirits or visit one of their restaurants! You will see why international beer writer Michael Jackson called Dogfish Head “America’s most interesting and adventurous small brewery.” Dogfish

The address of The Dogfish Brewery is 6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, Delaware. So, who wants to meet me in Milton some Saturday for a real tour of Dogfish?

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