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Dogfish Head's Flagship beer is brewed with a combination of two-row Pale and Caramalt malts as well as with torrified wheat. Sam hops it up pretty well with Cascade for aroma and flavor and Columbus and Willamette for bittering and balance. Immediately note a pleasant floral hop nose with some caramel maltiness evident. We found Shelter Pale Ale to be a well balanced complex brew. Note a strong malty backbone and a slightly nutty taste. Overall, a great interpretation of a style with many interpretations! Big nose. Packed with flavor and well balanced. We loved it. This is an absolutely delicious pale ale!
Dogfish Head began in June of 1995 when Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the first state's first brewpub, opened in the resort community of Rehoboth Beach. Not only was Dogfish Head Delaware's first brewpub, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America. The first batch of Dogfish Head beer (Shelter Pale Ale) was brewed on a system that was essentially three kegs with propane burners underneath!Brewing 12-gallon batches of beer for a 150-seat restaurant proved to be more that a full time job. That would have been fine, except owner Sam Calagione was both brewer, CFO, CEO, President and Chief Custodial Engineer! When the doors to the pub first opened, Sam brewed three times a day, five days a week for the first nine months of the business. The one benefit to brewing on such a small system was the ability to try out a myriad of different recipes. Within the burgeoning Mid-Atlantic brewing community, Dogfish Head was recognized for brewing great beers. Barley Corn Magazine wrote, "Dogfish Head presents the most interesting and unique beers we've seen on this coast." For the local population, as well as the thousands of tourists that flock to Rehoboth Beach each summer, Dogfish Head Ales were a big hit.With things moving forward quickly, it was apparent that the 12-gallon brewery would not keep up with demand. It was time to get help and install a new brewing system. Jason Kennedy, formerly of Wild Goose Brewery in Cambridge, Maryland came on board as a partner and head brewer. All that was needed now was a bigger system. While virtually all breweries that open today install turnkey brewing systems that are fabricated and installed by one of the six national manufacturers, Dogfish Head opted for a different approach. Sam and Jason scoured dairy and cannery auctions for generic, food-grade stainless steel vats that could be built into a brewery. This mission was accomplished and ten months after opening, Dogfish Head installed a piecemeal 300-gallon brewery and underwent a thirty-fold expansion of their brew house (financed solely from the cash flow of the extremely successful restaurant!). Because of the system upgrade, Sam and Jason were able to begin bottling and distributing Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale.Sam realized that in order to successfully grow the distribution end of his business, it was necessary to separate the bottling operation from the restaurant. It was time to look for a second location. Sam and Jason found the site in nearby Lewes, Delaware: an empty warehouse just itching to be converted into a brewery. The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery opened at the Lewes location in the summer of 1997. Dogfish Head, now a brewpub and a microbrewery, continues to grow and please patrons by the hundreds in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
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