PPL Park has always been home to a great range of beer. If you've been following along this offseason, you know the Philadelphia Union are adding to the rich history of craft beer in the short lifespan of the franchise with the addition of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Andrew Wenger was sent down Route 1 to film a tour of the iconic brewery. It is well worth the watch, and might even be enough to inspire a trip to the First State.
Before watching the video, here are five extra fun facts about the brewery that I learned on my own tour of the brewery. The only way to describe the brewery is a beer lover's version of Disney World. And for the record, yes, I am drinking a Dogfish Head brew while writing this.
1. Why beer?
Founder, owner and President, Sam Calagione, was actually an English major and was working in New York City at a bar that featured microbrews. This was his first experience with beer that focused on taste and showed the possibilities of beverage. He has said it was a Sierra Nevada Celebration that was his first inspiration. Speaking of Sierra Nevada...you can even enjoy one at PPL Park!
2. Why Delaware?
While Sam is from Maine (ever hear of a small town called Dogfish Head, Maine...?) and his first intention was to open the brewery there. However, before embarking on the journey outside of his English major background, he asked his then girlfriend to marry him and join him on his adventure. She said yes, but with one exception. The brewery had to be in her home state of Delaware. Despite brewing being outlawed in Delaware, Sam set out on a mission and was able to help write the legislation that withdrew the prohibition era law and allowed for Dogfish Head to open it's doors.
3. Beer TV
One thing you will figure out about Dogfish Head is that everything has a story behind it. What better way to tell these stories, than with a tv series? That is exactly what Discovery Channel did and helped launch DFH to the national recognition it enjoys today. The series followed Calagione around the world as he traveled for further inspiration and in search of the highest quality ingredients. Discovery claimed the series ended because of poor viewership, but it has actually been leaked that the pressure was put on by a "Big Beer" sponsor of the network. Either can the series because of the recognition it was bringing to craft beer, or the company would pull their sponsorship dollars. The six episodes that did air can be seen on Netflix and comes highly recommended from this blogger and self-proclaimed beer connoisseur.
4. What inspired the continual hopped beers?
The story of how Sam first achieved the first continually hopped beers is fascinating, but is featured in Wenger's tour video, so I will spare you that story. However, Sam's inspiration is an interesting story in itself. While watching a chef continually season a soup in a commercial kitchen the idea dawned on him. Why are hops dumped in all at once? This was the inspiration that brought about the 60-, 90-, and 120- minute IPAs.
5. Nothing ordinary
From the video you'll see that nothing at the brewery is boring or plain looking. From the bocce ball courts out front to the decorations all around the brewery, everything goes along with the brewery's motto "Off-centered ales for off-centered people." Nothing visually embodies that better than the company's conference room. No, you won't find the conference room anywhere inside the brewery. You will have to go outside, past the bocce courts and up a spiral staircase to a 44-foot metal treehouse. The Steampunk Treehouse was sold to the brewery for $1 (yes a single dollar bill) after it was homeless following it's intended use at Burning Man. The only catch was the brewery had to pay for the transportation and installation of the work of art. It sure is a sight to behold standing outside the front of the brewery.
Now, without further Adu (pun intended, I had to tie the Union back in somehow), enjoy a quick tour of the Milton, Delaware home of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales.