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How An Electric Football Game Became The MVP In Brewing Dogfish Head’s Flagship IPA

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Beer and football. Two of the cornerstones of being a sports fan in America. Dogfish Head celebrates these American staples in a way that may surprise you. That’s because founder Sam Calagione figured out how to use a classic electric football game to create one of the brand’s signature beers. It’s a process so innovative that it ended up in the Smithsonian Museum. Sounds crazy, right? I thought so, too.

Before the dawn of modern football video game franchises, the best football game to play at home was the Tudor Electric Football game. The thrill of the little players moving down the field, the satisfying buzzing sound, the beautiful tactile feel. I’d rather play this than fork over money every year for a rehashed video game.

The original electric football game dates back to 1949 when Tudor Metal Products president Norman Sas was inspired by the company’s existing electric car game. Despite the advent of football video games in the 1990s, electric football maintained a devoted fan base thanks to loyal game enthusiasts.

“An ‘Aha!’ moment”

The classic game inspired Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione as he was figuring out how to continually add hops to a beer while brewing to create “extreme versions of super hoppy IPAs” that weren’t overly bitter tasting. “Before the invention of our proprietary brewing method of continual hopping, our additions of foolhardy amounts of hops to our beers created a really pronounced bitterness that seemed really out of place,” said Calagione.

Inspired by a cooking show chef describing how to evenly disperse ingredients in a recipe to create layered, nuanced flavors, Calagione rigged an electric football game board over his brew kettle and duct taped a bucket of pelletized hops to the top with holes in the bottom. When the game turned on and the field began to vibrate, it allowed for the hops to gradually stream into the boiling beer mixture, leaving “an IPA that is beautifully, pungently hoppy without being crushingly bitter.”

Honestly, he sounds like a wonderful mad scientist explaining the process:

Without this kind of off-centered thinking, we would not be graced with the 90 Minute Imperial IPA. It’s perfectly hoppy and set off by just the right amount of citrus taste that makes hopheads like me swoon.

But, it didn’t end there. The development of the continual hopping brewing technique and 90 Minute Imperial IPA led to an entire line of continuously hopped Dogfish Head beers: 60 Minute IPA and 120 Minute IPA.

In the spirit of this brewing innovation, Dogfish Head will be sponsoring the Tudor Games Electric Football World Championship on February 4-5 at their taproom in Milton, Delaware. Can’t make it to the brewery for the festivities? Don’t sweat it. You’ll be able to stream on the Dogfish Head Youtube channel. It’s the perfect fix for the off week before the Big Game.

Speaking of the Big Game, Dogfish Head will be airing its first-ever Big Game spot exclusively in coastal Delaware. The ad pokes a little fun at the game itself, featuring an epic beer matchup on a retro electric football game that pays homage to how Calagione created the 90 Minute Imperial IPA.

Watch it here:

If all this talk about electric football has inspired you to give it a try, the brewery is releasing a Dogfish Head-themed edition of the classic Tudor Electric Football game featuring Team 90 Minute IPA and Team 60 Minute IPA. Stay tuned for more details on how can you get your hands on one.

In the meantime, enjoy one of Dogfish Head’s many delicious IPAs and other beers as you enjoy the upcoming football playoffs. Cheers.


Tom Conroy Avatar BroBible
Tom Conroy is a journalist-turned-copywriter for BroBible. He is an NYC native, Marquette University alum, and current resident of Milwaukee, which means he spends a great deal of time screaming about the Yankees between bites of cheese curds and sips of Spotted Cow.