by AJ Dronkers
If you've visited the Dogfish BrewPub in Rehoboth Beach, you may have known that in addition to beer, that they have been making small batch spirits for the last fourteen years. Now those spirits, Analog Vodka, Compelling Gin and Whole Leaf Gin are coming to retail liquor stores and spirits sellers in DC and Maryland.
The same quality barley and grain sourced for Dogfish beers also serve as the key ingredients in distilling Dogfish's vodka and gin. In fact, the spirits get their start in the same brewhouse and undergo the same initial fermentation process with their "doggie" yeast.
"A couple years ago they decided to take their distilling operation to the next level" head distiller Graham Hamlet tells me over a four-course dinner in Gaithersburg, MD last week. The process that Dogfish uses starts to transform the barley and grains into liquor begins with the first stripping run -- their copper pot still allows them to separate out the alcohol from the beer turning it into 80 proof "low wine" (term used to describe low alcohol content usually 20-30%).
To create their Analog Vodka, the low wine goes through a 26' tall vodka column to separate any impurities aka "heads" and capture the "hearts"-- the cleanest part of the vodka.
To make their gin products, Whole Leaf Gin and Compelling Gin, there is one additional step -- they re-distill through a gin still adding in botanicals such as juniper and hops.
These three spirits are now readily available across DC and MD -- and soon VA. Graham also tells me that we can look forward to craft rum and whiskey in the future.
Learn more about Dogfish brewery, distillery, brewpubs, and inn at www.dogfish.com. Also, plan a trip to visit the brewery and distillery. EdibleDC readers can get 10% off stays at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, DE with code "EdibleDC".
The Dogfish Negroni
1 oz sweet vermouth, 1 oz Campari, 1 oz Dogfish Head Compelling Gin, splash Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
In a mixing glass, stir all ingredients until thoroughly chilled, and strain into a rocks glass. Top with a splash of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Garnish with an orange slice.