The New Look of Dogfish Head
There’s a saying that goes “it’s what’s on the inside that matters,” and while that’s definitely true for beer, it never hurts to look good, too. It may hurt to admit, but a beer’s packaging has to look as good as the beer inside tastes for it to be truly successful. With hundreds of craft breweries making thousands of different beers, it’s that first impression that helps make a beer love at first sip.
Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head Craft Brewery with the need to make beers that were different from the rest of the crowd. His goal was to brew beers that used culinary ingredients in a way that made as much sense as hops and malt all the while making beers that were off-centered while staying true to the roots of brewing history.
Not one to go with the flow, the design of Dogfish Head’s lineup of beers hasn’t changed much since the brewery’s inception and for good reason. Calagione and crew loved simple, descriptive designs that let the beer speak for itself. Years later, the “shark and shield” that marks every bottle, case, keg, and glass from Dogfish Head and has become one of the most notable examples of design in the craft beer world.
It’s hard to change a design that everyone knows while assuring your loyal fans that the beer inside is the same amazing ale that they’ve come to love. Sticking with the tried and true design is fine when you’re producing a handful of beers, but when you’re talking about a brewery like Dogfish Head that has more than 30 beers available in 2016 alone, having a design that signifies it as a Dogfish Head beer while showing the difference between those beers can be quite complex, especially with the constant addition of new beers.
The designs that worked for Dogfish Head early on weren’t so easy to adapt to their growing lineup of beers in a meaningful and recognizable manner. It was time for a change.
This change comes in the way of a complete redesign of the core beers that Dogfish Head offers, with more redesigns to come soon.
The New Design
The key to any product redesign is to make it a big enough change that it’s useful while keeping it familiar enough as to not confuse the people that love your beer. With this in mind the shark and shield are hanging around for the redesign as well as that unique Dogfish Head font that’s adorned every bottle of their beer for the majority of the brewery’s existence.
Beyond this, the new design showcases the ingredients that make the beer special while showing you everything you’d want to know about the beer you’re drinking including ingredients, size, ABV, and of course the beer name and style. No hunting for facts or spinning a bottle to read everything. It’s all right there for you to read.
The six-pack carriers even put the key ingredients for the beer illustrated over the carrier handle so you literally have a handful of hops or other ingredients as you take your beer home. In short, it’s a perfect mix of new and old that gives Dogfish Head’s beer lineup a look that’s similar to each other while being just different enough to stand out.
Dogfish Head is kicking the new design off with seven of their current beers, with more to follow. The beers getting the first crack at a redesign are:
• 60 Minute IPA
• 90 Minute IPA
• Flesh & Blood IPA
• Indian Brown Dark IPA
• Midas Touch Ancient Ale
• Namaste White Belgian-Style Witbier
• SeaQuench Ale Session Sour
60 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head’s flagship beer is by and far their 60 Minute IPA. This well-balanced IPA is continually hopped IPA features citrusy hop character while keeping the bitterness in check with a malt bill that helps to round this beer out to make it the complete package.
60 Minute is named for the length of the boil and the length of the corresponding continuous hop addition. 60 Minute is golden amber in color with a piney, citrus hop-forward aroma, a hoppy, malty balanced taste, and a crisp medium mouthfeel that leaves a slight bitterness behind. 60 Minute comes in at 6% ABV and 60 IBU.
90 Minute IPA
The first beer to be continually hopped by Dogfish Head’s founder Sam Calagione, 90 Minute IPA is the big kind on the block when it comes to year-round IPA’s from Dogfish Head, and rightfully so.
90 Minute sits at 9% ABV and 90 IBUs, and while this may seem a little imposing, this beer has a strong malt backbone that helps to even things out in the way of flavor and aroma. Instead of being overpowering, 90 Minute features the pine and citrus aroma and flavor that’s found in its little brother, just with a little more prominence. 90 Minute is fuller bodied with a slightly more robust mouthfeel than 60 Minute, but in a way that keeps the drinkability of this beer high while making sure you respect the 9% ABV.
Flesh & Blood IPA
While 60 and 90 Minute may be the seniors of this lineup, Flesh & Blood IPA is the freshman on campus. Originally released in 2016, this IPA features a hearty dose of real citrus including lemon flesh and orange juice as well as orange and lemon peel.
Flesh & Blood balances the American IPA style with zesty fruitiness to give it the bitterness that hopheads love and the drinkability that those less hop-inclined need. Coming in at 7.6% ABV and 45 IBUs, Flesh & Blood IPA is just about perfect, even if it’s only available in the summer months.
Indian Brown Dark IPA
What do you get when you cross an IPA with a brown ale? Well, if you’re Dogfish Head you get Indian Brown Dark IPA. Somehow Indian Brown balances the two seemingly opposing styles of beer into one amazing beer. The malty toastiness of the brown ale balances out the mild hop bitterness, leaving you with caramel and brown sugar notes that finishes dry.
Indian Brown Ale comes in at 7.2% ABV and 50 IBUs, and is available year-round. While you can get this beer throughout the year, fall seems to be the perfect time of the year to either revisit this beer, or to discover it for the first time.
Midas Touch Ancient Ale
Beer has been around for literally thousands of years, making it one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. That means there’s a vast history of beer spread throughout the ages. In an attempt to explore this rich history while respecting the brewers that have come before them, Dogfish Head worked with the University of Pennsylvania to determine the ingredients used to brew a beer that was brewed 2,700 years ago via traces found in a drinking vessel in none other than King Midas’ tomb.
Midas Touch is sweet yet somehow dry and is brewed using barley, honey, white muscat grapes, and saffron to give this beer a unique mead-like character while still remaining a beer through and through. Midas Touch is 9% ABV and a meager 12 IBUs, meaning it’s big, slightly boozy, and sweet up front with a crisp, clean finish.
Namaste White Belgian-Style Witbier
When it comes to Belgian-style witbiers, finding one that’s truly unique can be hard to do. Borrowing a word commonly used by our yoga-practicing friends, Namaste means “the spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you,” which is Dogfish Head’s way of thanking all their fans that’ve turned their fellow beer-loving souls onto the off-centered brewery.
Namaste White is 4.8% ABV and comes in at 20 IBUs. This straw-yellow ale features aromas of citrus and cloves with just a hint of coriander in the background. This is carried through to the taste, with sweet malt notes added in as well as a slightly spicy finish. Exceedingly refreshing, Namaste White is crisp and perfect for chilly days as much as for hot ones, and thankfully it is available year round.
SeaQuench Ale Session Sour
Finishing up our list of newly designed beers is another member of the freshman class, and it’s one of the more unique beers on the list, too. SeaQuench Ale is a session sour beer that’s brewed with lime peel, black limes, and sea salt to give you a tart, citrusy merger of three different German styles of beer.
SeaQuench Ale starts its life as a straightforward Kölsch with lots of wheat and Munich malt. From here a salty Gose (pronounced go-sa) is brewed with the black limes, coriander, and sea salt. Finally, the last beer is a tart Berliner weisse brewed with lime juice and lime peel. These three beers are combined, and just like Voltron, they become more than the sum of their parts once combined. SeaQuench Ale kicks off a partnership between Dogfish head and the National Aquarium located in Baltimore, Maryland, and their logo can be found on the SeaQuench Ale label.
SeaQuench Ale is 4.9% ABV and 10 IBUs. Expect a tart, slightly sour character that’s light, refreshing, and all-around great. SeaQuench Ale is available in August and September each year.
Look out for the new labels for your favorite Dogfish Head beers and enjoy the beer you love with a fresh, new design.