On an endless exploration of goodness, craft brewery Dogfish Head has been producing and celebrating sour and wild ales for over two decades, and they have now announced the launch of a brand new, funky wild beer program, “Wooden…It Be Nice!”
With three wild ales primed for a 2018 Milton-only release, and more releases to come in future years, the brewers at Dogfish have already hand-bottled over two-thousand cork and caged 375ml bottles, each one hand painted with a special stripe signifying its uniquely crafted touch.
“About fifteen years ago, we first started experimenting with sours, beginning with Festina Lente – a peach wild ale that won us a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup in 2006 – then went on to produce SeaQuench Ale which is currently the top selling sour in America,” said Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “Now, we’re amplifying our wild beer program with Wooden…It Be Nice!, as it’s another step forward in our journey and evolution of goodness incorporating everything from herbs and spices, to local fruits, and of course, bringing it all together in wood.”
So what makes a beer wild? It’s different from traditional brewing in that it’s fermented with wild yeast variations, like Brettanomyces and often times with bacteria like Lactobacillus or Pediococcus. The yeast and bacteria are carefully introduced to the wood-aged beer, which can develop a wide array of flavors, including degrees of sourness, funkiness and fruitiness. Due to the untamable nature of the yeast, the beer can sit in barrels for months or even years till brewers deem it ready for consumption. This process can sometimes delay the release of the beer, but when it’s finally ready, it’s truly remarkable.
The “Wooden…It Be Nice!” program opens with the release of KnottyBits, a wild ale (8.2% ABV) aged on sweet and sour cherries and rhubarb, available beginning September 29 at 11 a.m. KnottyBits was wood-aged for a year with Brettanomyces and then racked onto several hundred pounds of sweet and sour cherries and locally sourced rhubarb from Fifer Orchards at a rate of more than 2 lbs. of fresh fruit per gallon. KnottyBits is bottle conditioned for an elevated carbonation resembling a ruby red colored sparkling wine of sorts. Priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 2000 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
Look for Wet Hop American Summer in early November – a Farmhouse Ale (7.75% ABV), this beer was aged in freshly emptied Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces for over a year, before being racked onto freshly harvested and hand-selected whole leaf Citra hops, still wet from the fields. The resulting beer has a great citrus aroma from the hops which is a perfect complement to the funky and rustic nature of the Farmhouse Ale base. Wet Hop American Summer is priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 1500 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
In mid-December, the brewery will release Eastern Seaboard, a wild ale (8% ABV) brewed with blackberries and beach plums. After spending almost a year and a half aging in wine barrels, the liquid was met with several hundred pounds of blackberry and Eastern Shore beach plums, handpicked and selected by the brewers. The jamminess of the blackberry and tartness of the plums perfectly pair with one another in this deceptively dry beer. Eastern Seaboard is bottle conditioned to achieve champagne-like carbonation and is violet in color. Priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 2000 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
Dogfish Head has proudly been focused on brewing beers with culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot since the day it opened as the smallest American craft brewery 23 years ago. Dogfish Head has grown into a top-20 craft brewery and has won numerous awards throughout the years including Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. It is a 350+ coworker company based in Delaware with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, an off-centered brewpub and distillery, Chesapeake & Maine, a geographically enamored seafood restaurant, Dogfish Inn, a beer-themed inn on the harbor and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a production brewery and distillery featuring a tasting room and food truck. Dogfish Head supports the Independent Craft Brewing Seal, the definitive icon for American craft breweries to identify themselves to be independently-owned and carries the torch of transparency, brewing innovation and the freedom of choice originally forged by brewing community pioneers. Dogfish Head currently sells beer in 43 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018.