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Dogfish Head Inn

I jumped head first into the enticing, endless world of craft beers over a decade ago, and I have Dogfish Head brews to thank for it. I’ll never forget the moment when I tasted the bitter, robust flavor of their infamous 60 Minute IPA. It had me spellbound, completely smitten. Beer can taste like this? There are more beers like this?! Yep. I was a goner; hook, line and sinker. There was no turning back after that. And it turns out that my curiosity only grew the further I looked into this hop-forward world of fermented beverages…

For the past couple of years, we have been vacationing in Bethany Beach, DE. Which also happens to be tremendously close to the Dogfish Head Brewery and Brewpub. In 2013, Dogfish Head announced that they were developing a brewery-themed boutique hotel, to accommodate its traveling hop-heads. And since that announcement, we’ve been antsy to check the place out.

day dogfish head

Dogfish Head purchased the old Vesuvio Motel, located in the quaint town of Lewes. It’s within walking distance of the beach, the hiking and biking trails of Cape Henlopen State Park, and a slew of charming Lewes’ restaurants. Lewes was the perfect location for The Inn because it’s halfway between Dogfish brewpub/distillery in Rehoboth Beach and their production brewery in Milton.

The motel’s nostalgic seaside facade was preserved, but the 16-room interior was completely transformed by the designers at Studio Tack from Brooklyn, NY.

DFH_INN_Web_Ext Picture Credit: Dogfish Head Inn

Our first stop was the lobby to grab our room keys. The lobby rests inside a beautifully refurbished single family home, which lays catty corner from The Inn. We were completed blown away by the lobby’s design. It felt like a beachy, ski lodge. Beautifully simple and still ornate, dotted with little quirky treasures everywhere we looked.

dfhbiglounge dfhlounge

The lobby vibe was comfortable and inviting. I didn’t want to leave this amazing space. But once we got our room assignment, I knew great things were in our future. Lucky number 21, let the good times roll.

Our room was absolutely fantastic. It had a clean-lined, midcentury feel to it. And it was a lot more spacious than I was expecting. The bright white room was complemented by a palette of earthy tones, and Dogfish Head’s signature green hue was highlighted in spots around the room.

dfh beds 3

The room was loaded with beer-centric design elements. There was a bar with stools next to the window, a wall-mounted bottle opener, screenprints of beer labels from their music collaborations, and even beer hand-soap. Each room is equipped with a mini-fridge, which was stocked with locally made snacks. We tried the Duke’s smoked meat, I seriously couldn’t stop eating it. Plus, there was barware readily available in our room for the beers that we were going to bring back from brewpub. But here’s a little tip- you gotta BYOB because you won’t find any beer for sale from The Inn.

dfh beds 2

Brewery owner, Sam Calagione, made the thoughtful decision NOT to sell beer at the hotel or serve food because he didn’t want to take business away from the town’s shop owners and restaurateurs. Mr. Rogers would definitely approve of this neighborly gesture…

With all these boozy amenities, we were half tempted to just stay in and enjoy our new digs for the night, but the outdoor community space was too awesome to pass up.

dfh outdoor space

There’s a large gathering spot with a bonfire—the Cowboy Cauldron—surrounded by picnic benches and tables with metal trays in the middle to hold ice and beer. There’s also an open outdoor shower if you need to wash off after an outdoor activity, or if you’re into being an exhibitionist- here’s your stage. But not in front of the kids, okay?

dfh fire

We played several rounds of corn hole and ladder toss with our friendly Inn neighbors from Cape May while waiting for our chariot (errrr I mean taxi van) to take us to the Dogfish Head brewpub.

dfh brew pub

When we arrived to the brewpub, the line was about an hour and a half deep. Yikes. But we strolled right in and were seated immediately because when you’re staying at The Inn, you’re guaranteed seating at the pub. That’s one serious perk.

dfh fish tacos

I ordered the blackened and woodgrilled shredded mahi mahi with homemade pico de gallo, queso fresco, margarita cream, and micro cilantro. The fish was cooked perfectly and the freshness of the pico and herbs really came through. It was the perfect summer dish to have alongside a couple of brews.

dfh pizza

Tim ordered the Alpine Idyll Pizza with 60 Minute IPA braised mushrooms, fresh chevre, prosciutto, truffle oil, arugula, and balsamic drizzle . He added the house Heirloom Italian sausage for good measure. Because he’s certain that sausage makes everything better. And I think he’s on to something here.

We ended up sampling almost every beer on tap. Each one was so different from the last, but they did have one thing in common; they weren’t shy on flavor. My favorite was the American Beauty (Imperial Pale Ale) and Tim’s was the Chateau Jiahu (Ancient Ale).

With our thirsts quenched and our bellies full, we cabbed it back to Lewes. While exploring the quiet water town, we ran into our Cape May Inn neighbors again and decided to join forces and grab some drinks at a local watering hole. After a some good brews, laughs, and jokes, we all walked back to The Inn and continued the festivities outside.

dfh inn night

We had an incredible stay at the Dogfish Head Inn. We were so blown away by all the attention to detail, it completely exceeded our expectations. We could tell that every aspect of The Inn was done mindfully, with extreme thoughtfulness and care. Ironically, all of this precision translated into a fun, laid back, community vibe, which is so rare to find these days. We can’t wait to come back for another visit. Hopefully, our new Cape May friends can make it back there, too.

Cheers N’at– Devon and Tim

Yes we CAN

East End Brewing Co. sure does have a can-do attitude. On June 3rd, East End contracted We Can Mobile Canning of Danville, Pa to facilitate the canning of 20 barrels of Big Hop, East End’s flagship IPA.

can1 Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

This is a giant step for East End, who predominantly relies on growlers to transport their beer. Environmentally conscious brewery owner, Scott Smith, still prefers growlers because the beer is freshly poured into a completely reusable container. But he realizes that individually packaged beer allows greater access to those who can’t make it out to the brewery for a quick growler fill. So packaged beer it is! Now the pressing question was, cans or bottles?

After careful consideration, canning was their best option and here’s why…

caulincan  Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

As far as packaged beers, the canned ones are better for the environment. Canned beer weighs less; therefore, more beer can be transported in fewer trips, which greatly reduces the brewery’s carbon footprint. Also, aluminum cans are fully recyclable. These were significant factors for the East End team, who’s committed to running an environmentally conscious brewery and a responsible Pittsburgh business.


Equally important, cans protect the beer from damaging elements like light and oxygen. Light is so extremely destructive to the delicate properties in beer, it can skunk a perfectly delicious brew in less than five minutes. Also, cans with their “double-crimped” seal are better than bottles at preventing oxygen from getting in — oxygen being the ultimate nemesis of a well-crafted brew.

Cans are the way to go if you like to get outdoorsy with your beer. Cans are much smaller and lighter. Plus, cans are far more durable than bottles. Tossing a can of beer to a buddy is far safer than throwing a glass bottle, which has the potential to turn into beer bomb complete with flying shrapnel. And once you’re done indulging, cans are super easy to crush into small, compact recyclables.

hold crush

tiny crush

Or you can get creative and break out your BB gun and use them for target practice. Or stack them into a pyramid. Better yet, recreate one of Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers. Now we’re talking some serious party time entertainment!

Oh, and did you know that beer in cans cools faster than bottles? That’s a deal sealer for us, who often have impromptu beer tastings with family and friends. But there are some skeptics out there who say that the beer takes on a metal taste from the can. In actuality, the cans are lined with the same coating as kegs, which prohibits the beer from directly coming in contact with the metal. But if the whole metal touching your lips still throws off your taste buds, just use a beer glass for cryin’ aht lahd! It’s the proper way to enjoy a brew anyway, bottled or canned.

Now that you understand all the benefits that canning CAN provide, let’s move on to the fun part- the canning process! Our good buddy, Caulin, a wildly talented Pittsburgh-based photographer, and I were unbelievably fortunate to witness this incredible event first hand. And Caulin graciously shared some his stunning photos with us for this post.

drip Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

In preparation for canning day, Scott ordered 94,000 topless cans, brilliantly designed by the artists at Commonwealth Press. The topless cans are first sanitized in a stainless steel bin with peracetic acid solution. Then three cans at a time travel along the conveyer belt.

millioncansPicture Credit Caulin Grant©

The first three smaller wands blast CO2 into the cans, forcing the oxygen out of the can. Then the cans travel to the next set of wands, which quickly fill the cans with the Big Hop. They are topped with a frothy foam head for an added layer of protection against oxygen.

canpour Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

Then, one last CO2 blast seals the deal as the lid is applied. The foamy top is forced out, leaving no room for oxygen to wreck havoc. Then the lid is expertly sealed, using a two step process- the machine bends the lid down, then polishes the sides using a quick, spinning motion, which makes it lay flesh with the can. Oxygen never stands a chance…Finally, the cans are washed and then adorned with 6-pack toppers.

fullon Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

The entire process took a mere eight and a half hours, quite an impressive run to say the least, considering they cranked out over 6,500 cans. East End’s current plan is to can once a month. But with Pittsburgh’s insatiable thirst for Big Hop, they may have to can more often than that. You can find the cans at East End’s two locations, by the six pack and by the case. Once East End is confident that the quality, consistency, and shelf life are all where they need to be, they will start distribution around tahn.

canhand Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

Nothing sounds more like summer fun than popping a beer tab and hearing that glorious crisp, cracking sound. So grab some fresh cans of Big Hop and let the good times roll.

Cheers N’at– Devon and Tim

A big thank you to Scott for letting us participate in this historic event. Another huge thank you to Caulin. Your pictures are absolutely stunning- thank you for sharing them with us. I ‘m looking forward to my next beer adventure with the both of you! Cheers

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Cake

When life gives you lemons……combine them with beer and bake into a cake that resembles a giant doughnut, or something like that. I can never keep those old-school sayings straight. But these bright pink Rogue bottles have been intriguing me for the last couple of months. They stick out like a sore thumb next to the endless array of brown bottles. My curiosity finally got the best of me; and there I was in line at the grocery store, buying a bright pink bomber bottle of beer. Well, I guess I’ve had stranger days…

A Taste of Tuscany at Sarafino’s Restaurant

When it comes to Italians, food is love. Perfect, delicious, palatable love. And it’s the kind of love that usually comes in the form of hearty, multi-course meals spanning over several hours. With plenty of wine to go around, of course. Dining is at the heart of Italian culture. They take their time to eat; enjoying their company and fostering the endless conversations that pop up along the way. These Scotch-Irishers right here had the amazing opportunity to savor this old-world dining style last week at Sarafino’s Restaurant.

Brew-tiful Cheesecake

During the dizzying weeks of March Madness, For The Win attempted to determine which of the over 4,500 craft breweries in America is the greatest. So they put together a craft brewery bracket and left the victor’s fate up to ‘Merica’s craft beer super fans. They started with 32 breweries, based on popularity, expert ratings, and personal experience. After 5 grueling matches against hefty opponents such as The Alchemist, Dogfish Head, Victory, Terrapin, and Founders; Southern Tier Brewing Co. reined supreme and claimed the number one spot in the 2015 Ultimate Craft Beer Bracket Championship.

The Finest of Dining at Nemacolin

2015 has been a year of many firsts, including our first Pittsburgh Blog Swap. And we are the lucky bloggers to guest write for the awesome blog Beezus KiddoAs I was perusing the site, I noticed that one of her 40 before 40 bucket list activities included a weekend stay at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Well, it just so happens that my husband and I loooove Nemacolin, and we’ll take any excuse to get back there.

Beer Peeps

It’s Easter, for Peeps® sake! A very Hoppy Easter to you and your family! This year, we remixed an Easter staple to include our favorite drink: BEER! These boozed up homemade marshmallow treats are made with Penn Brewery’s Ginger Beer. The ginger beer was our obvious go-to because we love the flavor profile of ginger, especially when it’s in candied form. So make these for some-bunny verrry special. Or keep them for yourself when you’re having a bad hare day… We hope you enjoy this peeps offering…Okay, I’ll stop it.

Creamy Curried Carrot Soup

One fateful night, while Tim and I sipped on some seriously delicious Girl Scouts themed cocktails from Wigle Whiskey, an intriguing challenge was presented to us. Jen Mrzlack, our awesome friend and cofounder of Naturi Organic Greek Yogurt Company, asked us to team up with Naturi and the Sewickley Confectionary and be the cooks for a fierce soup competition. The competition was Explore Sewickley’s Annual Soup Crawl, where 500 hungry soup crawlers trek around town to visit several local businesses and sample the restaurants’ best soup offerings. The crawlers are provided a score sheet, which prompts them to rank the tastiest soup, most unique soup, and “best hosts” of the soup crawl.