Dogfish Head bottles its breakfast scrapple beer

Two years ago, Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione made what some craft beer drinkers might consider one of his best, or worst, ideas ever for a brew: Breakfast Scrapple.

Even he seemed somewhat surprised by the popularity of Beer for Breakfast, the dark, robust beer blended with Delaware’s own RAPA Scrapple, the morning mystery meat made with pig parts such as snouts and hearts. It has been occasionally available as a seasonal draft at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach.

“People better get here fast,” said Calagione at a December 2014 release party at the Rehoboth brewpub. “We didn’t make enough of it.”

At that time, Calagione said he couldn’t imagine bottling the beer that he said had a “smoky meatiness.”

“It’s too labor-intensive. Our brew master at the production brewery would punch me in the kidneys if I tried to do 200 barrel batches of Beer for Breakfast at the Milton brewery,” he said.

Never say never.

Times have obviously changed and bottles of Beer for Breakfast, a winter seasonal stout, will be available at some restaurants and local stores by Nov. 7.

There have been a few slight tweaks to the beer since its 2014 debut. While the draft beer initially clocked in at tipsy-inducing 10 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), it’s been dialed back in bottles to 7.4 percent.

Can you taste the scrapple in the beer? Not really, at least not when we sampled it in 2014.

To me, the overwhelming aroma and taste, in an appealing and earnest, get-out-of-bed-now! command, was coffee. And, indeed, Beer for Breakfast is a riff on Dogfish Head’s popular Chicory Stout, which turns 21 this year.

The scrapple beer seems to go well with savory dishes, especially, and most obviously, eggs. Still, the liquid version of scrapple is an acquired taste, and it is perhaps best consumed and savored during cold weather months.

Calagione said in 2014 that the scrapple flavor is very subtle. RAPA produced a special scrapple just for Dogfish Head that’s a leaner version of its original recipe. The dark beer does not have any oily residue from the meat

“The scrapple really comes through as an umami earthy roastiness towards the end of the taste,” Calagione said in 2014.

So why scrapple? Delaware, in case you didn’t know it, is the Scrapple Capital of the World. RAPA Scrapple, based in Bridgeville since 1926, and a few miles away from Dogfish Head’s Milton brewery, is its largest producer. The company also makes Habbersett and Greensboro scrapple brands.

RAPA Original Scrapple is made with pork stock, snouts, hearts, flour, cornmeal and spices. But its strongest components are pig’s liver and sage, said RAPA general manager Donna Seefried.

Drive through the tiny Sussex County town most weekdays beginning around 4 a.m. and take a deep whiff. That distinctive aroma means the factory has started cooking scrapple in its cast iron kettles.

The name of Beer for Breakfast is a shout-out to Calagione’s favorite band, The Replacements. It comes from a lyric from one of his favorite songs – “all I want to do is drink beer for breakfast.”

The beer also is made with Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, brown sugars, maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts, applewood smoked barley, Kiln coffee and caramel malt, flaked oats, roasted barley, molasses, milk sugars and roasted chicory.

Visit dogfish.com for more information.

Contact Patricia Talorico at (302) 324-2861 or ptalorico@delawareonline.com and on Twitter @pattytalorico

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