Last night was Dogfish Head’s Greenville release party at Barley’s Tap Room. It was a day I was eagerly awaiting for a long time. Dogfish Head is one of the most revered breweries by beer geeks in the world.
More accurately, they are probably the most polarizing brewery in the world. Long ago, in 1994 when Sam Calagione founded the brewery with the tag line “Off-centered ales for off-centered people,” he wanted to push the boundaries of what had been done. They have created some of the biggest, craziest, weirdest and tastiest beers around.
However, when you step out like that, people are either going to love you or hate you. Or at least love a beer or hate a beer. There is no middle ground.
Last night at Barley’s was a perfect illustration. It’s rare to be at a table full of fairly sophisticated beer drinkers and see the range of strong reactions on people’s faces as they tried beer. It went from pure bliss to all-out disgust. There was no, “Oh, it’s alright.”
I’m guessing Sam would be happy with that.
The lineup we were treated to last night was amazing. On draft we had 90 Minute IPA, Palo Santo Marron, Punkin and Black & Blue. In bottles were Olde School Barleywine, 120 Minute IPA, Fort and World Wide Stout.
It was my first time having the Olde School, Palo Santo and World Wide. Olde School and World Wide were big, strong beers bursting with malt and alcohol. Obviously, at 15% and 18% ABV, respectively, these are sipping beers. More than a sampler glass would be too much. I really enjoyed their flavor, but I think they could use 3 to 5 years of aging to mellow and achieve their peak.
I found the Palo Santo to be the most intriguing of the night. It’s a 12% ABV brown ale aged in Paraguayan Palo Santo wood. The wood aging gave the beer a very unique smokey character. It was more subtle than a truly smoked beer, but it was balanced and tasty. Then again, I am on a smoked beer kick, so take that as you will.
Welcome to Greenville, Dogfish Head. I hope you enjoy your stay.