Skip to main content

Dogfish Head Releases First-Ever Whiskey Called Alternate Takes

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Dogfish Head Brewing‘s restaurant Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, any time between 2002 and now, you might not know, but the brewery famous for off-centered ales has been pumping out off-centered spirits since then too. Now, over a decade and a half later, DFH’s spirits arm, Dogfish Head Distilling Company, is releasing its first whiskey called Alternate Takes: Volume 1 Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks.

“We got our start in 2002 when Sam [Calagione] convinced some Dogfish Head World Wide Stout fans who were also engineers to help design a new 200-gallon still from reclaimed farm equipment,” says James Montero, Dogfish Head Distilling Company’s general manager. “Until 2015, Dogfish Head used this still, lovingly called ‘Frankenstill,’ to distill small-batch vodkas, gins, and rums primarily for folks visiting the Rehoboth area and Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats.”

Alternate Takes Volume 1 Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks
Dogfish Head Distilling Co./Facebook

These spirits helped them establish an audience, allowing them to keep growing the brand and increasing the quality of the spirits produced. Then, in 2015, the distilling operations moved to a new state-of-the-art distillery located in the heart of the Milton, Delaware, brewing campus, according to Montero. This allowed them to tap “all the same awesome malt suppliers, brewing expertise, equipment, and warehousing space that supports our off-centered ales.”

While this isn’t the first whiskey DFH has made, it is the first one that is being sold on its own. Previously, DFH has released Sonic Archaeology, a bottled cocktail containing a blend of DFH’s rum, brandy, and whiskey. The move to the larger facility, Montero says, has allowed the company to truly invest in a whiskey program.

Dogfish Head Distilling Co. Quick Sip Clip: Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks - Alternate Takes Volume 1

Alternate Takes Whiskey is first fermented using a blend of malted barleys and DFH’s proprietary ale yeast. It was aged for two years and spent the first two-thirds of the time in 53-gallon, charred, new American Oak barrels before it was transferred to casks that previously held another DFH spirit, Barrel Honey Rum, which helps imbue even more smooth caramel, vanilla, and (of course) honey notes. Further tasting reveals candied nuts, spicy cinnamon, and a cocoa and smoke finish.

While this is the first whiskey release, it certainly isn’t going to be the last from DFH.

“Under the Alternate Takes name, our fans should expect an experimental whiskey release once a year, usually around the holidays.”

“Because of our brewing heritage, we love malt and will continue to play with a variety of different style malted barleys to make new whiskies; we will also experiment with a variety of different barrel types and finishings,” Montero says. “Under the Alternate Takes name, our fans should expect an experimental whiskey release once a year, usually around the holidays. The type of finishing for this second volume of Alternate Takes will be announced at a later date.”

Currently, Alternate Takes (as well as DFH’s other spirits) are available in Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. The company will be expanding distribution in 2019 to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with hopes to continue expansion later in the year.

If you do make it toRehobothh, Montero suggests visiting DFH’s restaurants, Chesapeake & Maine or Brewings & Eats, because while there you can try some of the whiskeys in development and provide feedback, playing a part in future releases from the company.

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
Step back in time and learn how to make authentic Turkish coffee
You can have Turkish coffee any time, let us show you how
Making Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee is a concentrated, rich, and somewhat bitter drink made of unfiltered coffee. It's also one of the oldest methods of preparing coffee, dating back to 1555. Unlike a traditional cup of joe, Turkish coffee is made with super-fine grounds brewed in water versus drip style, where water is poured over coffee beans and filtered. Because of this variation, Turkish coffee is incredibly concentrated and perfect if you like your coffee or espresso strong. (Like we do.)

We went to Ciragan Palace Kempinski, a luxury hotel in Turkey that occupies a former Ottoman palace, to learn how to brew traditional Turkish coffee. Burak, the hotel's Gazebo Lounge barista, told us while coffee was discovered during the 11th century in Ethiopia, its brewing history dates back to 1555.

Read more
Lost Lantern’s summer releases show off the diversity of bourbon
Bourbons from across the U.S.
lost lantern summer bourbon full collection v2

With National Bourbon Day arriving today, bourbon makers are getting ready—including a new release of a "Summer of Bourbon" series from Lost Lantern. Lost Lantern isn't a distillery itself but rather a bottler, taking bourbons from across the U.S. and bottling or blending them to share in releases.

This will be the second year that Lost Lantern is running its summer of bourbon, and this year's collection includes nine whiskeys from twelve states, blending bourbons from different distilleries into new combinations.

Read more
The 5 best Jamaican rum brands for your favorite summer cocktails
Jamaica is a rum-lover's dream
Rum cocktail

While rum is made everywhere, from Louisiana to the Philippines, its heart is in the Caribbean. This is where places like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Cuba, and Jamaica have been crafting rum for centuries. And while we could spend a whole article explaining the intricacies of the various Caribbean rum hotbeds, today, we’re most interested in Jamaica.

When people talk about Jamaican rum, the first word that usually comes up is “funky”. Jamaican rums, while known for their bold, complex, rich profiles and notes of molasses, fruit, and gentle spices, they’re also known for fermented funky, lightly barnyard aromas and flavors.
The 5 best Jamaican rum brands

Read more