“Lobstering” is one of America’s oldest industries, and in Maine, it is a beloved pastime. The state’s shores are full of lobster and fresh seafood—except for one Point in particular. While no red-tailed crustaceans can be found in the waters of Dogfish Head Point, a brewery inspired by the area has taken matters into their own hands, featuring a famous Maine “critter” in their brew.
The first recorded lobster catch dates back to 1605, even before the landing of the Mayflower. It was not until the 1800s, however, that the lobster industry in Maine took off thanks to the invention of traps. With a seawater ecosystem providing plenty of lobster, commercial fisheries became the backbone of the state’s coast until the turn of the century, when innovative technology changed everything.
With the ability to can lobster, an untameable love for the seafood dish was spurred in land-locked areas of the United States. Thanks to the expansion of railroads, live lobsters could even be shipped across the coast, and by World War II, the crustacean’s reputation had changed from a poor man’s meal to a fine-dining delicacy. One spot in Maine, however, was not able to contribute to this lobstering legacy.
Legend has it that Dogfish Head Point got its name courtesy of some unlucky lobstermen who ended up with traps full of Dogfish (small sharks) instead of the desired “lobstah”. While in actuality a small spot on the Maine coast, this unpropitious point is now known ’round the world as an award-winning brewery’s namesake.
In 1995, native New Englander Sam Calagione and his wife founded Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware as an homage to the many childhood summers he spent by that point. The name was unexpectedly chosen during a summer jog along Dogfish Head Road when Calagione told his father he was going to start the brewery, to which his father exclaimed, “Dogfish Head would make a good name.”
After more than 20 years of turning a “good name” into a great one, Calagione and his family purchased a home on the peninsula where the brewery’s journey all began. And thanks to this purchase, lobster would finally make an appearance at Dogfish Head Pont—in pint glasses. Experimenting with some home brews of his own at the new abode, Sam and his brewing team created “Chocolate Lobster,” a porter that may require a look at more than just the alcohol content. Using live lobsters in the brewing process, the sea-soaked brew is potent enough to have a warning for anyone with a shellfish allergy. Benadryl, anyone?
Whether consumed with a roll or sipped at the bar, lobster continues to be the Pine Tree State’s favorite obsession. And thanks to the efforts of an off-centered craft brewery, a once ‘luckless’ Point in the state can finally join the party.
Please note: No Lobsters were harmed in the brewing “Chocolate Lobster” or the writing of this story.
Written By: Seamus McMahon