Collaboration with a difference
Dogfish Head, Wells & Young's team up
Brewers on opposite sides of the Atlantic have come together to create a beer that offers an English twist on American hophead assertiveness. Finding its way into British pubs is DNA New World IPA, a collaborative brew between Dogfish Head Brewery of Delaware and Charles Wells of Bedfordshire.
It is perhaps a unique partnering – usually collaborative brewing means having a guest brewer in your midst. In this instance 60 Minute IPA brewed at Dogfish Head was reduced then shipped to England and added to an original beer created at Charles Wells.
According to Wells’ international brewmaster Jim Robertson, the collaboration had been anticipated for the better part of three years after he met Dogfish founder Sam Calagione at a beer festival in Philadelphia.
“We were just talking about stuff in general and said it would be great sometime if we did something together,” recalls Robertson. “We wanted to do something as a partnership both on a personal level and a company level.”
The British recipe, developed by Robertson and fellow Wells & Young’s brewer James Stephenson, begins with Maris Otter malt with just a hunt of crystal malt for colour. As for hop varieties, Galaxy provides the main bitterness with Simcoe used for late hopping which, as Robertson notes, is the “signature hop” variety for Dogfish Head.
Use of whole hops required a modification at the Wells & Young’s Eagle Brewery in Bedford, with a ‘hardback thimble’, installed in the bottom of a cold tank used to collect spent material.
The reduced 60 Minute IPA, which had had its alcohol and water stripped out and resembled a “super concentrated juice” was shipped to Wells & Young’s in kegs. It was added to the wort kettle to ensure a through mixing.
DNA New World IPA’s 32 IBUs were considerably less than that of 60 Minute IPA, at 60 IBU. (The beer does what it says on the label, with 60 additions of hops during a 60-minute boil, and an abv of 6.0% abv.)
Robertson explained, “It’s not designed to be quite the same because what Dogfish Head is interested in is making products that are slightly more sessionable. That’s part of the learning that Dogfish Head wants to take from Wells & Young’s, is to make sessionable beers.”
DNA New World IPA has been an instant commercial success in England, with the 4.5% abv beer available in cask during April to a limited number of stockists. It will be rolled out in keg and bottled variants later this year.
Up next is the American version of the collaboration when Dogfish Head will make use of Charles Wells brewing yeast. This will be for an IPA brewed in Old World style and is planned to be launched at Philadelphia Beer Week at the beginning of June.
For Robertson and Wells & Young’s, there is an increased appreciation for the fresh excitements of American craft brewing. As he notes, “I think there is a lot more mileage to go yet in our relationship with Dogfish Head and we have all found them such great people to work with.”