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wooden it be nice

Thu, 02/26/2009 - 3:46pm

I remember the first time we brewed Immort Ale in late 1995 - back then it was called Boothbay barleywine but it was basically the same recipe - juniper berries, peat smoked barley, vanilla beans, oak, and maple syrup from my family farm in western Mass.  We've been pretty obsessed with wood and the sap that runs through it since the day we opened Dogfish Head.  The first comment card we got back after tapping Boothbay Barleywine read; "It tastes like wood but it got me fuked up"....not exactly the impression we were going for, but dude had a point.  We have worked hard since those early days to prove that beer could have all of the complexity, diversity, and food-compatibility as the world's finest wines.  Back then there were a lot fewer off-centered beer enthusiasts and Dogfish Head was the smallest commercial brewery in the country.  Boothbay barleywine became Immort Ale in 1996 and we now sell thousands of cases of it each spring.  Then, like now, we were focused on full-flavored, bold and relatively exotic beers.  We're less small in size now but we are more experimental and creative in our brewing techniques, recipes, and projects than ever.  That's why I'm psyched to announce our latest/oldest project.  Johnny Cask has entered the building.  We have retrofitted a 15 barrel tank to perfectly produce a very special cask conditioned ale.  Dogfish Head 75 minute IPA will be a blend of 60 and 90 Minute IPAs that gets a special wholeleaf cascade dry-hopping session then gets transferred into firkins and dosed with fresh yeast and maple syrup from the ole family homestead. Well, actually the first batch will be re-fermented with maple syrup from the farm up the road from ours since ours won't be ready until late March.  We plan to ramp up our maple house activities to get a lot more syrup for Immort, 75 Minute and future beers in the coming months and years.  We will initially make these cask available at select accounts in Philly, NYC, Boston ("first we take Manhattan, etc", L. Cohen) and, of course, our original brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE. The next year we may roll them out into additional markets.  Stay tuned to dogfish.com find out about our Simulcask parties to find out which locations will be tapping the first cask of 75 Minute at the same exact time.