American Beauty, the counterculture collaboration between Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the Grateful Dead, will be hitting taps and shelves over the next few weeks.
The band took the lead on deciding the style of beer, and they opted for a bold pale ale made with 100 percent U.S.-grown ingredients. The brewery and the band, who both built followings by connecting directly with their fans, asked their supporters to help decide on one righteous, off-centered ingredient to add to the recipe that would complement the pale ale base.
More than 1,500 loyal fans suggested an ingredient idea and the Dead-inspired story behind it. There was no shortage of great suggestions – the red grenadine from “Brown-Eyed Women,” rose hips reminiscent of the motif painted on the Rosemont water tower – but there was one that stood out.
Thomas Butler, a chemist by day and homebrewer by night, suggested granola. It was the main course in millions of parking lot meals, and both Dogfish and the Dead agreed it would be a sweet and toasty complement to the pale ale’s hops and barley.
We searched high and low for the right granola, and Grizzlies in Eugene, Ore., made the connection. Their organic mix lends American Beauty light almond notes and touches of orange-blossom honey.
“The components of granola – honey, toasted grains, oats – offer a lot from a beer perspective,” says Thomas, who visited Dogfish Head in coastal Delaware to brew a test batch. “It was fun brewing with these guys. The Dead built their own institution, their own identity. It’s a family. And Dogfish culture is big, too. They’re the pioneers of playing with beer.”
American Beauty will be available on draft and in 750-ml bottles throughout Dogfish Head’s 27-state distribution network, in accordance with local laws. To find retailers who have received shipments in the past 60 days, try Dogfish Head’s “Fish Finder” app at www.dogfish.com.