Stan is running a great discussion over at his place that I will not replicate but to trap my comment of this morning which I think has captured something of what I think about Dogfish Head. The first bit is what Stan wrote in a comment followed by my observations:
“…I tried to write the post in a way that was neither “Brew Masters” bashing (a popular sport these days) nor innovation bashing. Dogfish serves a lot of happy customers, don’t forget…”
I hear you but it is not bashing to say the same thing that would be true a year ago: Dogfish Head is an important brewery but it is not the leading brewery in the US craft scene by any respect, it is not the most interesting, it is not producing consistently top tier beer and it is playing with something of a compromising business model. It is, by its own definition, something of a “auslander” and has to live its decision in that regard. It is also caught up with mass marketing as equal to or before actual brewing skill and has to live with its decision in that regard as well.
This is not bashing. The response from the brewery might well be that they are entirely content with their achievements. But to suggest as seem to be the case in the quoted text, that their model is worth replicating or even that it makes sense or has logical integrity is another matter. They are to brewing what Spaceman Bill Lee was to baseball. Fun to watch, great to have in the bullpen. But hardly your starter most of the time.
Is that fair or even coherent? What I should have added is that I like how they produce affordable, reasonably interesting beer for the most part and have achieved that sort of niche along with brewers like Brooklyn, Langunitas and other super-craft, sub-nationals. Also, the Spaceman would not be your #1 starter. But you want him on your team.