- Written by Devon
After 14 hours in the car we reached Aaron’s place at 6am on Thursday (Aaron is Jeff's friend from college). Just as he was getting up to go to work, we pulled in to fall asleep with a vengeance! We woke up 4 or 5 hours later, and it was time to begin again. We called up the owners of Terrapin Beer, first and foremost, to find out where we could grab a few pints of their tasty brew and pick up some to bring home. We were after their Monster Beer series, and we had traveled far for it! With this information in hand, we took off for the liquor store where we found Imperial Pilsner and Rye Squared, as well as their flagship offering, Rye Pale Ale.
Aaron had no idea what type of beer store was right around the corner! I saw things you just can’t get up in MA (so as not to offend our good friends who run beer departments up here, I’m going to add the note that it was for distribution reasons, not because you guys lack anything… We can get stuff up here that is unavailable down there as well).
We then headed off to Sweetwater Brewing. It turns out their tours are, well, more like parties really. I was basically walking into a bar where $8 gets you a pint glass (to keep) and 6 drink tickets to try their beer. Obviously a great deal!
After sampling a few, we took the tour. They have a great setup and the people working there were really into it.
Unfortunately for us, the 6 tickets proved too much as we still had to drive, (never drink craft beer and drive) we gave away the balance of our drink tickets to some guys we’d been talking about our trip and home brewing with. They were psyched!
We went straight to Taco Mac, which had been recommended to us by the guys from Terrapin. This place was amazing; it had the tap selection of Sunset Grill in Allston, but had beer that is unavailable on our home turf. Aaron met up and we grabbed some pints of Terrapin Imperial Pilsner, Gordon Double IPA from Oskar Blues and some other stuff with dinner. Then it was time to go out to the Atlanta bars…which is a story for a different time.
We woke around 10 on Friday morning to go to Pennsylvania and Field’s house (Field is one of Jeff’s college roommates). We showed up around 1 in the morning and went to bed.
- Written by Devon
Since we were on vacation from work, we figured we needed a day of rest. Wednesday we laid out on the beach and soaked up some rays. Anyway, we went back to Arena’s for lunch (when would we ever get the chance to go again?). After a little more wandering, it was off to DogFish Head’s main brewery a couple minutes away in Milton, DE.
We showed up about 45 minutes early as we misjudged the time to get to the brewery. Fred, one of the originals at DFH and the person who gives the tours, happened to walk by and we started chatting with him. He let us wait inside (again, it was about 100 degrees out) and we started talking about DrinkCraftBeer.com. He seemed genuinely interested and ran inside to his office to check it out for himself. After, he came back out and brought us into the new 100 barrel brew house they’re installing… It’ll double their capacity when complete. Check out the exclusive pictures only from DrinkCraftBeer.com!
He also gave us the inside scoop on Belle Proximus, the new collaboration between DogFish Head, Russian River, Allagash, Avery, and Pizza Port… Due out in late 2007, I know I can’t wait to see what goes on with this! It’s got a cool sign and logo as well, as we saw in the Rehoboth Beach Brewhouse. (On further researching this, I found out it’s going to be a sour ale with each brewer bringing their own yeast strain to Pizza Port, where it will be brewed. The inspiration was a trip that the 5 brewers took together to Belgium.)
The whole group finally amassed, Fred pointed out that DCB was in the house, and the tour began. We got the DFH history, tasted some DFH beer, saw the original tiny brew setup they used to use, saw Sir Hops a Lot (their continuous hopping apparatus), the brew house, the bottling setup, and their Quality Control Lab. It was then back to the tasting room for another drink, buy some merchandise, and the end of the tour… the end, that is, if you’re not staff for DrinkCraftBeer.com.
After networking with about half the crowd and getting the word out about our mission and the site, we bid adieu and Fred took us back into the facility. We saw the office, met some people, and finally ended up in the DFH warehouse… Where there was more beer than I have ever imagined in my life. Stacks of cases of beer 30 feet high! Kegs rising to the heavens!
Then, we saw what must have been Heaven… Sam Calagione’s private stash of vintage DFH beer! We’re talking cases and cases of World Wide Stout going back years, all the special releases. As Fred put it, “If ABC [broadcast television network] calls and wants to do a tasting, this is what they get.” After this special go-around in a beer lover’s paradise, it was time for our long-haul drive of the trip… An overnight jump to Atlanta…
- Written by Devon
Well, Tuesday found us at Rehoboth Beach, DE and our “vacation” part of the trip…kind of. We get to town and go straight for the DogFish Head Brewery, right on the main drag. This is where it all started kids! It’s also the home of their new distillery. We got lunch, and Devon ordered a Lawnmower Light and Afternoon Delight… the latter is only on tap of the brewpub and is a fairly light summer beer… it was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit out, so this was a good choice. Jeff, conversely, went with a 90 Minute Imperial IPA (hey it’s not going to get any fresher) I believe the next words out of Jeff’s mouth were straight from the movie Anchorman, “It’s so damn hot out! 90 Minute IPA was a bad choice!” Jeff moved on to a Shelter Pale Ale next… much better. Afterwards, we went to find a campground, set up camp, and then it was back to the strip.
We hit up an Irish pub next to DFH where we chatted up the bartender. After hearing of our journey, he directed us to Arena’s Deli down the street. I know, I know… “A deli?” you ask… This deli, though, had over 100 beers in the bottle and a good tap selection too… We had some great beer and dinner there at a low price, then went to have a last beer at DFH. Jeff snagged a Midas Touch while Devon had a 1 year old Burton Baton from the vintage fridge. Finally, it was back to the camp site where we built a fire and had the growler of Triumph Honey Wheat in our newly acquired Flying Fish glasses… Mmmm... Think the DFH brewpub was cool?
- Written by Devon
Our final stop for Monday was SlyFox in Royersford, on recommendation from a friend. We got there in time for happy hour and half-price pints… mmmm… We ordered and started chatting up the bartender. After telling her about our journey and how we had been unable to contact people at SlyFox but were there on specific recommendation, she got her manager, Jimmy, who gave us a great tour.
We saw the brewery in back, their huge warehouse, and enough Phoenix Pale Ale to make a grown man cry… This may be the greatest pale ale I have ever tasted! We also met Brian O’Reilly, the head brewer, who was a great guy. We also found out they have plans to soon distribute to Massachusetts… Folks, if you see any of their beer BUY IT! I kid you not, it’s that good. After you buy it, call me up and we can drink it together.
Anyway, after the tour we continued to speak with Jimmy and he bought us a pint at the bar… This is when I discovered the 113 IPA, a most delicious IPA! We then had a sampler of all the beers they had on tap. If I had to pick one place to go back to from this entire trip, SlyFox would be it. Everything was utterly stupendous! After leaving, we walked around for a while (to repeat NEVER drink craft beer and drive!). Then headed off to Devon’s cousin’s house for a good nights rest before our drive to Delaware the next day.