Dogfish Head Miami, the first outpost of the James Beard Award-winning brewery outside its coastal Delaware home, will open May 21, intent on creating beer that tastes like South Florida.
Which means beer tangy with locally procured starfruit, lime, lychee and hibiscus — but don’t be surprised if they sneak in the youthful zest of Skittles and Sour Patch Kids. What now?
About 15 years ago a few mad scientists at Dogfish Head developed a contraption they called an organoleptic hop transducer module, which allows the brewery to steep small batches of its beer in different ingredients to achieve unique flavors.
“It’s almost limitless,” says head brewer Paul Frederickson with an uneasy laugh. “I’m all for the spirit of experimentation. It’s fun. Whether the end product is something I want to drink or not, we’ll just have to see.”
If the organoleptic hop transducer module sounds like something that screws into Doc Brown’s flux capacitor, there is an element of looking back in the future of Dogfish Head Miami.
The revered craft brewer is taking over the Wynwood space once occupied by Concrete Beach Brewery (both owned by Boston Beer Co.), where Frederickson also was lead brewer.
Concrete Beach was a local favorite both as a source of quality craft beer and as a creative scene. Frederickson says Dogfish Head will honor the history of Concrete Beach by continuing to brew and sell the brewery’s iconic Havana Lager.
For more than 25 years, Dogfish Head has made its name on flagship beers of national renown, including IPAs labeled 60 Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute, the latter a trailblazing brew that helped introduce the masses to high-alcohol beer.
Celebrating an “off-centered” approach to life, founder Sam Calagione has expanded the brand across the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) coast to include a distillery, restaurants and a boutique inn on Delaware Bay, a “basecamp for beer lovers and adventure seekers.”
Calagione also has an affinity for local art and music, and Dogfish Head is a regular sponsor of Record Store Day events. The Miami location, layered in murals by local artists, has a partnership with Sweat Records, the Little Haiti vinyl mecca that will help program music and provide records in the brewery’s onsite shop.
The Wynwod brewery also will have a menu of elevated bar food, including seared tuna tacos, Florida shrimp gazpacho, grilled street corn, bao bun barbacoa, fish and crab fritters, and sweet potato cheesecake.
Dogfish Head was seeking a new adventure and new flavors when it decided to expand to Miami, according to Calagione, drawn by “proximity to one of the most robust year-round agriculture communities in the country.”
Beers produced at Dogfish Head Miami will include Starpucker IPA, brewed with Florida starfruit, and Madam Roselle, a rosy sour wheat ale made with passion fruit, mango and lychee.
Another offering will be the MojitALE, a blend of fermented barley, wheat and cane sugar infused with lime juice. More of a beer cocktail, the drink is muddled with mint leaves and fresh lime and served over ice, like a mojito.
The fruit will be sourced from local growers through a partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food & Agriculture Sciences.
Frederickson says Dogfish Head has a well-earned reputation for working culinary ingredients into beer and expects Florida-grown fruit, spices and other elements to also find their way into the organoleptic hop transducer module.
Also known as Randall the Enamel Animal, the device is designed with a capsule that holds a coarse-ground flavor ingredient, with one tube feeding beer from a keg and a chilled outflow line allowing the flavored beer to be served on demand.
While variations of the system can be found around the country, Frederickson believes Dogfish Head Miami has the only Randall set-up in South Florida.
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He says brewery staff have been “Randalling” different hops and other ingredients, including mango, cardamom and wood chips (mesquite, apple, cherry).
“They’re like the flavored wood chips used for barbecuing. Those work really well,” Frederickson says.
Frederickson is a purist but sounds excited by the possibilities. He points out that flavored variations likely will be offered in small batches that rotate by the day, so mistakes will be short-lived.
“I’ve heard of people using various types of candy. I’ve even heard people putting a whole chocolate cake in there and running a porter through it,” he says, laughing. “[Experimentation] is the purpose. On a very small scale you can say ‘What would it be like if we threw a bunch of Skittles in the mash?’”
Dogfish Head Miami is at 325 NW 24th St., Miami. Visit Dogfish.com.