SeaQuench Ale — a session sour beer and collaboration between Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery and the National Aquarium — began shipping nationwide on Monday.
The new brew highlights the flavors of lime and sea salt. It also signifies a partnership between the craft beer brewery and Baltimore's aquarium that is not "a traditional cause-marketing campaign," said Stephanie Chall, the aquarium's director of corporate membership and sponsorship.
Rather than contributing a percentage of sales, Dogfish Head already donated $70,000 cash and $30,000 worth of gifts in kind to the aquarium, according to Alan Weeth, the brewery's marketing manager.
The initiatives benefiting from the donation focus on researching populations of sand tiger and sandbar sharks in the Chesapeake Bay and promoting sustainability within the seafood industry.
"It's really a bigger-picture partnership than just the novelty of having a beer together," Chall said. "It's not about slapping a logo on a beer."
But in a city and state where the craft-beer industry is quickly growing, a question arises for the National Aquarium: Why choose a partner in Milton, Del., and not one of the many Baltimore or Maryland breweries?
"It came down to the values Dogfish had," Chall said, noting the aquarium works with companies "all over." "They care deeply about the ocean. They care deeply about conservation and sustainability."
Chall said Dogfish Head has also been a corporate supporter through the aquarium's membership program for about 10 years. The partnership also solidifies Dogfish Head as the aquarium's official craft beer, with its beers showcased in its café year-round and at events.
SeaQuench Ale comes at a time when sour beers are rising in popularity. The brew features a brewing process that blends together three styles of German beer: traditional Kolsch, gose using black limes and sea salts, and a Berliner Weisse.
The beer is not yet available for purchase at the aquarium, but Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point will host a launch party for the beer on Friday at 4 p.m., according to Weeth. Select stores where Dogfish Head is sold — including Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits — will have it in stock this week.