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Dogfish Head and Trillium combine on Tru-Action IPA

Dogfish Head and Trillium combine on Tru-Action IPA.Handout

There’s some humility baked in when Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione describes Trillium’s JC and Esther Tetreault as “fellow mom-and-pop brewery owners.”

Dogfish Head and Trillium are, of course, tremendously successful, the former a pioneer of the entire craft beer movement and the latter at the forefront of the IPA renaissance, as well as the purveyors of several upscale taprooms.

“We had a lot in common,” Calagione says when describing his initial meeting with the Trillium founders in their original, cramped Seaport brewery nearly a decade ago. “We hit it off.”

While both breweries experiment with novel ingredients, they go about it a little differently. Dogfish Head is known for pushing the boundaries of hoppiness with its 60, 90, and 120-Minute IPAs, beers that are continually hopped for maximum citrusy and resinous aroma without crushing bitterness. Trillium has taken a different tack, using brewing techniques and ingredients that play up the fruity notes in an IPA and hide the bitterness almost entirely. Both have produced some of my all-time favorite brews, including Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, which is as bracing as I like my beers but not overly so, and Trillium’s Mettle, a double-IPA that drinks like an outrageous combination of mango, melon, and pineapple but contains none of those actual fruits.

“I like the fact that [the beers] are complex and nuanced, and they are not afraid to depart from traditional ingredient choices and techniques,” Calagione says of Trillium.


Beer fans wondering how a marriage of the two distinctive brands might work can taste for themselves with this week’s release of a collaborative beer called Tru-Action IPA. A single IPA of 6.5 percent alcohol by volume, Tru-Action is brewed with both malted wheat and rye, then dry-hopped with Pacific Northwest hops. Poured from a can into the glass the beer appears orange and a little hazy (less so than Trillium’s usual offerings). I get mostly grapefruit on the nose, but the first sip is ripe with mango and pineapple. There’s a dry, pine-like note to the finish that reminds of Dogfish Head 60-Minute. Overall, it’s a thoughtful union of the two brands that provides a little glimpse into both.


The breweries are celebrating the collaborative beer release with two events this weekend. On Friday, June 24, Trillium’s Fort Point taproom will host a four-course beer dinner (tickets are priced at $140 per person). On Saturday, June 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. Trillium Canton restaurant and taproom will host a chat and book signing with Calagione and Esther Tetreault (tickets are $41 and include a signed copy of Calagione’s “The Dogfish Head Book.” Both breweries’ founders will be available after the chat (no tickets are needed) as Tru-Action IPA is released and the tap room is open for regular service. Cans of Tru-Action IPA will be available throughout Dogfish Head’s distribution area in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Releases of a double dry-hopped version of the beer, as well as DDH Truer-Action double IPA, are planned for Trillium’s Greater Boston locations.

Gary Dzen can be reached at gary.dzen@globe.com.Follow him on Twitter @garydzen.