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Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head

09-19-01I’ve been really interested in learning everything about Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head for the past few weeks. Part of it stems from wanting to brew a pumpkin ale and the other is that I’m reading Brewing Up a Business right now. I’m really enjoying both aspects of my interest right now if you cared to know.

I’ve been reading a lot of interviews, question and answer sessions,  and also watching Youtube items about Dogfish and Sam. The most interesting thing to me is their approach to beer and how I would love to do something similar. Maybe not make the types of beer they do, but more on how they approach the business and brewing. Dogfish Head started as a brewpub and then grew into a production brewery. They still use their brewpub to do test batches and brew something new every 2 weeks. I think it is great that a company that is as established as Dogfish Head is willing to keep innovating and testing out new things.

The brewpub to production brewery approach is something that I would love to do myself one day. Granted this is far off if it ever did happen but it is a blast to think about. I find myself researching brewpubs, financing, and all types of statistics to help fuel my dream. What does this all mean now, well, nothing. I’m going to keep homebrewing and coming up with beers that I enjoy but I want to gain as much knowledge as I can before I ever seriously flirt with the business.

Below are a few clips about Dogfish Head and Sam Calagione. The first two are from his rap group (yup a rap group) that raps about beer. The second on in particular is from their Boston Light Beer Party where they dump crapy light beers into Boston Harbor. The last clip is over an hour long and Sam is talking to Google staff about his business and their approach. It was very informative and a really fun watch. [Edit: The videos just took up too much space on the main page, just click the read more link to see them] (more…)

09-13-01

Pumpkin Ale

09-13-01It is getting around that time of year to start thinking about Pumpkin Ales. There are a ton commercially out there nowadays but a homebrewer is never satisfied. Last year I made a Pilgrim Porter that had four pounds of pumpkin put into the boil kettle. It was an extract batch with some specialty grains in there, but it was wonderful. To date it is my wife’s favorite beer that I have made. This year I think I’m going to take a different approach.

In the Pilgrim Porter I was more looking for a Thanksgiving beer that was rich in flavor and had some hints of pumpkin pie in there. This year I want to make a stronger beer that has more pumpkin flavor, nice mouthfeel, and most importantly a great aftertaste. Something along the lines of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, which happens to be my favorite pumpkin style beer. DFH had the following video on their site about their Pinkin Ale.

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Well what do I take away from this? First are the three ways they add flavor and sugar to this beer; pumpkin meat in the mash, brown sugar in the boil, and spices at the end of the boil. I had already planned on doing the same thing but it is nice to know I was on the right track. The second thing is the color, it is orange and looks like a pumpkin. Something to shoot for. Lastly is that they didn’t want it to be too much like pumpkin pie or spice, but has to have pumpkin flavor.

I’m still working on a recipe, and seeing that pumpkins are not going to be in the stores for a little longer it gives me time to plan out my beer. I’m not sure if I want to add brown sugar or not or something more along the lines of a honey or even no adjuncts at all. I know that I do not want to used canned pumpkin but fresh. I think my spice rack has everything I need in it already but I do need to get some fresh cinnamon. I will get a recipe up here as soon I complete it and I will keep you updated on the progress once it starts.