Beer & Wine

Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione: "Our SeaQuenching Machine Is the Coolest"

Dogfish Head Miami will be pouring its Star Pucker Florida-inspired sour IPA when it officially opens the doors to its taproom and kitchen on Friday, May 21.
Dogfish Head Miami will be pouring its Star Pucker Florida-inspired sour IPA when it officially opens the doors to its taproom and kitchen on Friday, May 21. Photo courtesy of Dogfish Head
On Friday, May 21, the long-awaited Dogfish Head Miami taproom and kitchen will open its doors to the public in Wynwood.

The new location joins several establishments that offer the work of founders Sam and Mariah Calagione, who opened Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in 1995.

Their raison d’etre of brewing "off-centered ales for off-centered people," quickly earned them the distinction of being one of the nation's first breweries to create innovative beers using high-quality culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot, the 1516 German purity order that mandated beer to use only water, hops, and barley as ingredients.

During those early days, it wasn’t uncommon for the chefs to catch Sam rummaging through the kitchen in search of unconventional ingredients to drop into his latest brew — everything from raisins and chocolate to peaches, even lobster.

Today, Sam Calagione tells New Times, he's especially thankful to be launching his latest endeavor with the opening of the Miami brewpub after more than a year since the globally recognized brand announced it would be taking over the Concrete Beach Brewing space in the heart of Wynwood.

"We began brainstorming our brewing and menu concepts and the area's potential for local partnerships back in 2020," Calagione says. "We did our best to roll with the punches through the pandemic and make lemonade — or beer — out of the lemons — or starfruit — thrown our way."

Calagione's lemons-to-starfruit comparison is a nod to one of his favorite new brews, the Star Pucker, a sour IPA infused with locally grown fruit sourced by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences. The beer, made especially for Miami, is a perfect example of the brewery's growing partnerships with a number of local businesses and other organizations throughout the Miami community.  For every pint of Star Pucker sold at the taproom, 25 cents will be donated back to the University of Florida Institute of Food & Agriculture Sciences (up to $5,000) to support their efforts.

"It's a deliciously hazy IPA with a mélange of fruity-juicy hop aromas and flavors," says Calagione, who references additional partners like Sweat Records, one of Miami’s greatest music hubs, in addition to a slew of local artists he commissioned to design the murals and can labels for his limited-edition "tArt Series" cans.

click to enlarge Dogfish Head Miami front entrance mural artist Jorge Rodriguez. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DOGFISH HEAD
Dogfish Head Miami front entrance mural artist Jorge Rodriguez.
Photo courtesy of Dogfish Head
Moving forward, there's plenty more sour beer to be shared. Calagione says one of the coolest things about Dogfish Head Miami is its proprietary brewing equipment, dubbed the "SeaQuenching Engine." Developed specifically for the Wynwood brewery, the apparatus allows a house-grown strain of Lactobacillus to continually produce sour beer wort.

"It’ll ensure we have a never-ending supply of acidic, tart, and flavorful liquid from which we can create some down-right delicious, Florida-centric sour beers," Calagione boasts.

When it opens, Dogfish Miami's tap selection will feature a rotating list of Dogfish Head’s nationally distributed beers and limited-edition ales brewed on-site by head brewer Paul Frederickson, formerly of Concrete Beach.

House-brewed exclusives will be infused with Florida’s native flavors — like the Madam Roselle (5.2 percent ABV), a rose-hued sour wheat ale made with Florida-grown passionfruit. Other opening-day beers include Robot Mutiny (7.1 percent), a multi-dry-hopped hazy IPA; and "Mas Hops" (10 percent), a double IPA made with Delaware malt and four hop varietals. And, as a tribute to the space's former occupant, the brewery will continue serving Concrete Beach's Havana Lager.

With a focus on fresh local ingredients incorporated into both the brewing and culinary programs, the newly designed taproom will also house a full-service kitchen that lets patrons pair their off-centered beer with equally quirky fare.

As with each Dogfish Head locale, the menu at Dogfish Miami is unique to the Wynwood brewpub. It features an array of scratch-made fare created with fresh ingredients, many of which are locally grown. Think seared tuna tacos, Florida shrimp gazpacho, and bao bun barbacoa ($5 to $18).

The taproom is also prioritizing live music programming, promising an eclectic mix of genres and a state-of-the-art sound system. (As part of its partnership with Dogfish, Sweat Records has also selected a special collection of vinyl records available for purchase at the brewery's merchandise shop.)

Calagione believes Dogfish Head's record of success in the hospitality industry gives the brewpub a leg up as a Miami newcomer.

"Dogfish Head is a James Beard Award-winning brewery, distillery, and hospitality brand recognized for pioneering culinary-inspired brews and beer-centric eats," he says. "Now we're giving the brewpub experience our own spin in a cool, Miami-centric way."

Dogfish Miami. Opens Friday, May 21. 325 NW 24th St., Miami; Open Monday through Friday from 3 to 10 p.m. (Opens Friday, May 21.)
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna