Winter 2020 Exclusive

Rodenbach and Dogfish Head Brew a Trans-Atlantic P’Ocean

By Nora Bryson

To celebrate 25 years of off-centered brewing, Dogfish Head partnered with an iconic old-world brewery to create a modern lifestyle beer that’s high in flavor, but low in alcohol.

Though separated by an ocean and centuries of tradition, Delaware’s Dogfish Head and Belgium’s Brouwerij Rodenbach are united by a history of excellence, innovation and dedication to craft. So it came as no surprise when Rodenbach announced earlier this year that as they embarked on the first-ever collaboration in their 200-year history, they would be partnering with Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione to bring a unique, modern, sour beer to America.

Sam Calagione with Rudi Ghequire and DFH Brewmaster Mark Safarik

Rodenbach’s Master Brewer Rudi Ghequire and Bill Marchi, head of Wooden… It Be Nice!, Dogfish Head’s wild beer and barrel-aged program, met at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in March 2018, and talk of a partnership began. By the end of that year, Ghequire visited the Dogfish Head facilities to meet with Calagione to plan their historic collaboration.

“We spoke a lot about how Rodenbach’s traditional methods of brewing and blending, dating back centuries, would heavily influence the direction of the beer, and that began the foundation for our brainstorming,” said David van Wees, President of Swinkels Family Brewers Imports, North American importer for Rodenbach. “It was amazing to watch these two icons work so closely together and see the magic happen as wheels started spinning about what the final beer would taste like.”

Now, after several trips across the Atlantic, Dogfish Head is poised to release their collaboration with Rodenbach. The beer, cleverly named Vibrant P’Ocean (get it? Potion!), is a blended sour that is part classic, part unconventional. The beer began as a two-year, foeder-aged sour brewed by Rodenbach, which was then blended with Dogfish Head’s offering, a kettle sour brewed with pilsner malt, malted wheat, elderberry, elderflower, lemon and fleur-de-sel. Though not typical additions to a traditional Belgian ale, elderberry and elderflower are European favorites, and fleur-de-sel, the more complex cousin of the sea salt used in SeaQuench Ale, adds a nod to tradition, while remaining firmly modern. The resulting ruby-aubergine-colored brew offers tart, dry flavors of jammy berries and floral lemon, the perfect combination of “old-world charm and funky irreverence.”

With their shared commitment to craft beer excellence, a collaboration between these two great breweries was sure to bear exceptional fruit, and now, we’re able to reap the rewards. Vibrant P’Ocean is available for a limited time on draught and in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans.

This love “P’Ocean” (as in labor of love) boasts big, jammy berry and floral lemon flavors, with low alcohol… only 4.7% ABV.

Rodenbach has been producing some of the world’s finest beers since 1821. Their Flanders red ales are classics of the style, with Rodenbach Classic winning gold medals as far back as 1894, and Rodenbach Vintage earning the title of World’s Best Sour Beer at the 2018 World Beer Awards.

Dogfish Head Brewery has been producing offbeat takes on classic styles since their founding 25 years ago. One of America’s most iconic craft breweries, Dogfish Head has produced many beloved brews, including mainstays like 60 Minute IPA, and one of the best beers in the fast-growing lifestyle beer category, SeaQuench Ale, a low-cal session sour.

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Draught Lines is a seasonal magazine dedicated to the craft beer experience.