I'm not a big beer drinker, but I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, which means I have the distinction of being one of the only people more interested in the congealed mush of pork scraps and cornmeal than the alcohol in Dogfish Head's new brew, Beer for Breakfast.
Among the founding beers when the brewery first opened in 1995 was a limited edition Chicory Stout (now available seasonally), which was brewed with Mexican coffee, along with chicory, licorice, and St. John's Wort. The coffee lends the brew a breakfasty flair, but it's subtle, meant to pair more with chocolate than eggs Benedict. When the brewery returned to the morning meal for inspiration recently, they decided to do so with more commitment, more fervor. This time, the team took their cues from the world of regional breakfast meats, specifically the Mid-Atlantic favorite, scrapple—a sort of fried patty made of cornmeal and seasoned with spices and pig offal, the scraps left over after butchering that may include the head, heart, and liver.
"It’s been wonderful to see dozens of breakfast-themed beers come to market since we first did ours," says Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione. "I thought it would be a great time to flex our creative muscles and try to brew a beer that has the most diverse group of ingredients referencing the meal and its name. It’s sort of an ‘everything-but-the-breakfast-nook’ stout."
Maybe not everything, but there is certainly a lot of breakfast packed into each pint: Maple syrup, barley smoked over applewood for a bacony aroma, lactose (milk sugar), a special coffee blend added cold press post-fermentation and last but certainly not least, scrapple from Rapa Scrapple.
"Sam’s vision of translating the distinctive taste of Rapa scrapple into a beer was a unique proposition," says Rapa representative Donna Seefriend. "Both Dogfish Head and Rapa’s production team brainstormed more than a few ideas, and it was decided that a super-lean version of our original recipe would balance nicely with the other ingredients. The end result is a remarkable beer that manages to bring together all the flavors of the quintessential American breakfast."
If you're interested in tasting the unique brew, it debuts December 5th at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. But if you've never had scrapple, I recommend trying it just on a plate with eggs, first.