A Big Beer from the Small Wonder  white logo            

I would like to thank Sam Calagione, the Founder of Dogfish Head Brewery—for the absolutely superb beer, and his wife and Vice President of the company, Mariah—for the wonderfully sublime setting for raising a pint. As this particular bit of brewing lore goes, a young man’s fond attachment to his summer home on a small piece of coastline near Boothbay Harbor, Maine (known as Dogfish Head) would be challenged by his fancy for a gal from the coast of Delaware. As is so often the case, the love of a lady won out over the liking of the land. And in 1995, Sam launched his commercial brewing career at what is now their flagship pub in Rehoboth Beach. Demand for the beer quickly outstripped production capabilities at this location, so in 2002, the bulk of the brewing was moved to their facility in nearby Milton, Delaware.

Story and Photography by Chris Poh

Dogfish head Pub in Rehoboth Beach, DE as seen in American Public House Review
Dogfish Head Pub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth beach, Delaware as seen in American Public House Review
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Like Mr. Calagione, I also hold tight to many cherished memories of my summers along the Maine coast. In fact, one of my earliest exposures to the boundless possibilities of the brewer’s virtuosity occurred in 1988 at Gritty McDuff’s in the city of Portland. As I sipped their Best Bitter, my mind conjured up images of Colonial privateers stalking the British Fleet, brave merchantmen manning the convoys that were shadowed by prowling U-Boats, and those hardy lobstermen that still endure the harsh Atlantic blow. At last we were producing beer within our own shores that was a testament to the ingenuity and independence of the American spirit. And Sam Calagione would transport that same spirit and craft to another stretch of shoreline that has also played a vital role in the telling of the American story.

In the midst of what may prove to be one of the mildest winters on record, I chose the only bitterly cold day in January to venture out onto the beach at Rehoboth. So the welcoming warmth of the attentive staff at Dogfish Head Brewery and Eats followed by a perfectly poured pint of Shelter Pale Ale quickly cheered the soul and thawed my chilled disposition. I was further bolstered by the discovery of the fact that the state’s only legal distillery was housed on the second floor of the pub. And things only got better when I learned that Allison Schrader, the very talented woman responsible for the making of their distilled spirits, sharpened her skills as a result of some hands-on mentoring from Thomas Earl McKenzie—the “Wizard of Whiskey” at Finger Lakes Distilling in New York State.

Allison Scrader with Frankenstill at Dogfish head Brewey in Rehoboth beach DE as seen in American Public House Review
Allison Schrader with FRANKENSTILL!

After spending some time with Allison and her still, which she has affectionately named Frankenstill, I returned to the downstairs bar to top off my afternoon session with a couple of rounds of the always exceptional Burton Baton, and some very pleasant and informative conversation with the brewer, the bartender and the restaurant’s manager. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with good folks who care just as much about the people that they serve as the products that they produce.

Ben Potts, brewer at Dogfish head Pub in Rehoboth Beach, De
Ben Potts, the brewer

I would complete my Delaware sojourn with a visit to the brewery in Milton the following morning. Once again I was impressed by the level of expertise, enthusiasm and enjoyment displayed by all those associated with the Dogfish Head brand. The Calagiones have done much more than just create another line of great beers—they have built a blueprint for business—a guidepost for any American company looking to attain sustainability, and to be a responsible citizen in a global economy.  

Outside the main entrance to the brewery stands a rather unique and somewhat imposing structure called the Steampunk Tree House. Its primary creator, Sean Orlando, describes it as a representation of the mutually beneficial relationship between people and nature: human beings living in harmony with the planet and its natural elements. At Dogfish Head that relationship has been achieved in their craftwork—and exceeded in their community!

Bar at Dogfish Head Pub in Rehoboth, DE as seen in American Public House Review
The lovely copper-topped bar

Pat and managerJason at the bar at Dogfishhead Pub in Rehoboth, DE as seen in American Public House Review
Pat at the bar with Jason, the manager

Spirits at Dogfish Head in Rehoboth, DE as seen in American Public House Review
Dogfish Head has spirits!

Tanks at Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth, DE as seen in American Public House Review
Your 60 Minute IPA is brewing.

Tour at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE as seen in American Public House Review
Take the tour.

Dogfish Head Brewpub

320 Rehoboth Avenue

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 19971




Rehoboth Beach, DE as seen in American Public House Review


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