Dogfish Head Reveals Final Ingredient for Grateful Dead Brew (and it sounds tasty)


Last October, Dogfish Head announced they were taking suggestions for the final ingredient of American Beauty, an Imperial Pale Ale they are brewing as a tribute to the Grateful Dead.

They were looking to add something to the brew that reflected the connection between Deadheads and the band.  I made several suggestions over at, some of which were most likely illegal.

Well, Dogfish Head just announced what the final ingredient will be, and while not as magical as mushrooms or hip as hemp, it’s actually a very solid choice. 

ab-grainsSo what’s the final piece of the puzzle?  Granola, the ultimate hippie fuel.

Dogfish Head credits the idea to 39 year-old chemist Thomas Butler, who attended his first Dead show when he was nine (Dogfish Head’s website has a great recounting of Thomas’ first encounter with Deadheads, from mostly-naked women, to wondering why they were all passing around “cigarettes”).

He suggested granola because as a kid he saw it as a staple food in the Deadhead diet, and, as an avid homebrewer, he sees great ingredient potential from the mix of oats, grains and dried fruits.

Thomas will join Sam Calagione to brew a pilot batch in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in the coming weeks, so he’ll get the chance to see how well his idea works first hand.

The rest of us will find out in October, when American Beauty will be released across the Dogfish Head distribution network.

In the meantime we should all be glad that they didn’t go with patchouli oil.



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Categories: Beer, News


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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8 Comments on “Dogfish Head Reveals Final Ingredient for Grateful Dead Brew (and it sounds tasty)”

  1. May 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    What’s wrong with patchouli oil? Then again, Perhaps that ‘s better used dabbed on the labels.

    Given Prof. Calgione’s penchant for far less mundane brewing ingredients, the choice of granola seem a bit tame. Doesn’t necessarily fit with the free-form improvisational style of the Dead either. That said (and I’m not a Dead Head, nor do I play one on TV), I can see a few pallets of the stuff being devoured by traditionally fueled concert goers (though after those “cigarettes” Pepperidge Farms S’Mores Goldfish would be in far higher demand).

    As far as a beer ingredient is concerned, I’m not so sure your standars issue granola would a whole lot more to an American Pale in terms of flavor, complexity, or mouthfeel but, then again, Sam’s the Professor and I’m merely one of his oft-bewildered students.


    • May 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      I agree it’s a bit tame, but it’s a good fit for the deadhead culture and makes me wonder why I haven’t seen a granola beer before.

  2. May 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    I love that Dogfish pushes the norm when it comes to their brews and will have to keep my eyes out for this one to try. At least I could get my granola another way – ha! Patchouli oil is okay in moderation – too much and it flares up my asthma. Cheers!!!

    • May 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      “Liquid granola” sounds healthier than “beer.” I think you’re on to something!

  3. May 14, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Interestingly, hops is a cousin of cannabis, so that “special” ingredient is already in there… well, almost… ‘splains a lot though, doesn’t it?

    California – the birthplace of the Dead – is the granola state, the land of assorted fruits, flakes, and nuts…

    So Professor Sam is bringing it all full circle… from Delaware…

    Truckin’…. up to Buffalo……………

  4. Diss Content
    May 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone.

    Well it looks like the Swedish Bikini Team, Spuds MacKenzie, and Billy Dee Williams are being joined by another non-sequitur association with beer…… any beer apparently. Where on the list of ‘free associations’ would the Grateful Dead invoke thoughts of beer? Be honest here.

    The fact that there hasn’t been a ‘PETA inspired’ hamburger isn’t what I would call a perch on high ground on this type of subject either. What is the problem being solved here precisely? Dogfish Head beer is in need of The Dead bump? Or will this help The Dead establish a rabid fan base so divorced from the music, that the first order of business is establishing: how old you were when you attended your first concert, AND how many total appearances you have subsequently made. Don’t get me wrong, I like them both; just the same way I like bacon and ice cream. It’s the crafting of bacon flavored ice cream, which has me flummoxed.

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
    If your cup is full may it be again,
    Let it be known there is a fountain,
    That was not made by the hands of men.

    Oh well, since the song ‘Ripple’ is featured on the ‘American Beauty’ album, I would have suggested the secret ingredient as being….. Ripple. It’s a mix of wine and beer…. which could be called ‘weir’ and have the front man be the person with the same name, from The Dead, as something hip and ironic.

  5. May 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm #


    We have recently launched a new magazine called Craft Beer Magazine:

    Any way I could reach you?


  6. May 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    It sounds delicious. I would love to try a bottle.

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