Today is the 49th birthday of Mark Edelson, a co-founder and the managing partner of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, a small brewpub chain that operates ten brewpubs in the tri-state area of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mark’s been a vocal and active member of the brewing community, especially around his mid-Atlantic home but also through the BA, too. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.
Today is Sam Calagione’s 43rd birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his head brewer) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.
This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.
The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.
I know it’s a good thing when celebrities drink craft beer, because people tend to copy their behavior. So the more celeb’s drinking good beer, the more some people might pick it up, too. But I can’t help but find it a little sad, too. I just don’t find all the minutiae about famous people very interesting. It’s just not my thing, though I have friends and loved ones who feel otherwise, so I do tend to find out about these gossipy items anyway, sometimes whether I want to or not. Case in point, I just learned that actress Charlize Theron served Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA at her house in Los Angeles during the Super Bowl. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong. Charlize Theron was, at one time, on my list of five (married men will know what I’m talking about here) so I’m certainly glad to know she has good taste in beer.
The whole thing was captured in nauseating detail in the U.S. Showbiz section of the UK’s Daily Mail in an article titled — believe it or not — We’re in for a Super night: Charlize Theron hardly breaks a sweat as she carries a case of beer to a Super Bowl party. They have five, count ‘em five, photos of Theron carrying the beer from her car to the house. The running commentary is hilariously absurd, though I couldn’t help but hear it in my head as if being read by Robin Leach from Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.
To be fair, I’ve posted a photo of television celebrity Nathan Fillion drinking a Drake’s IPA through a curly straw, that my wife took during an L.A. Browncoats convention a few years ago, but somehow that seems different. Or maybe I’m just fooling myself. What I really wanted to know from the article is why she chose that beer, and how she and her guests enjoyed it. Now that I’d find far more interesting than how she managed to carry it a few feet without breaking a sweat.
Today is the 37th birthday of Bryan Selders, who until March of this year was lead brewer of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and one-half of the hip hop duo The Pain Relievaz. I first met Bryan at Hop School in Yakima, Washington several years ago and he’s a terrifically talented and fun person. These days he’s working as a web designer at Inclind. Join me in wishing Bryan a very happy birthday.
Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.
- Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
- Evolution Craft Brewing Company
- Fordham Brewing
- Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
- Old Dominion Brewing
- 16 Mile Brewing
- Stewart’s Brewing
- Twin Lakes Brewing
Delaware Brewery Guides
Guild: Delaware Craft Brewers Guild
State Agency: Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement
- Capital: Dover
- Largest Cities: Wilmington, Dover, Newark, Milford, Seaford
- Population: 783,600; 45th
- Area: 2489 sq.mi., 49th
- Nicknames: First State / Diamond State / Blue Hen State
- Statehood: 1st, December 7, 1787
- Alcohol Legalized: December 5, 1933
- Number of Breweries: 10
- Rank: 40th
- Beer Production: 723,426
- Production Rank: 44th
- Beer Per Capita: 25.7 Gallons
- Bottles: 35%
- Cans: 54.7%
- Kegs: 10%
- Per Gallon: $0.16
- Per Case: $0.35
- Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $4.85
- Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $4.85
Economic Impact (2010):
- From Brewing: $23,500,426
- Direct Impact: $189,852,007
- Supplier Impact: $71,835,338
- Induced Economic Impact: $124,430,536
- Total Impact: $386,117,881
- Control State: No
- Sale Hours: On Premises: 9 a.m.–1 a.m.
Off Premises: 9 a.m.–1 a.m. (Mon.–Sat.)
noon–8 p.m. (Sun.)Municipalities with a population over 50,000 persons may impose stricter hours of sale by local ordinance.
- Grocery Store Sales: No
- Notes: For off-premise consumption, alcohol may only be purchased in liquor stores, taprooms or brew pubs that have an off-premise license. No person under 21 may enter a liquor store or taproom for any reason even for the intent of purchasing only tobacco or lottery tickets. No sales of alcohol by liquor stores or taprooms are permitted during designated holidays.
Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.
For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.
In honor of the debut of Sam Calagione’s new Discovery Channel series, Brew Masters, Anat Baron (the director/writer/producer of Beer Wars) posted this short video of Sam and his Dogfish Head Craft Brewery that was originally shown at the “Alamo Draft House in April 2008 as part of the Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Festival.” In the post, A Star Is Born, Anat reminisces about her first meeting Sam and working with him on her movie. Thanks for sharing, Anat.
One really fun event I attended during GABF this year, was the Brewer’s Feud, a beer-twisted version of the game show, the Family Feud, created by the Brewing Network. Instead of blood relatives, each side was made up of families of breweries. The first contest was east vs. west: 21st Amendment Brewery of San Francisco against the Iron Hill Brewpubs of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It’s only about half an hour long, but great fun throughout. I won’t give away who wins, you’ll have to watch it to find out. Enjoy.
If you can’t see the video embedded here, try viewing it on Justin.TV.
Shaun O’Sullivan and Nico Freccia on stage for the Brewer’s Feud.
The new beer by Dogfish Head is described as “a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece.” It also features the “the album’s iconic artwork, created by the late Mati Klarwein, on its label, Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew will be unveiled at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience tonight at the National Building Museum, Washington DC. The beer will be bottled in 750ml bottles and released through Dogfish’s distribution network in late August.
From the press release:
The newly created ale is designed, according to Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione, “as the ultimate partner for chili or spicy curry chicken” and best enjoyed “sipped cool, not cold, from a snifter or red wine glass while listening to the Bitches Brew album.”
Calagione was drawn to the alchemical spirits in Bitches Brew right out of college, acquiring a copy of the album “within months of the first time I brewed a batch of homebrew in my apartment in New York City. I listened to it when I was writing my Dogfish business plan. I wanted Dogfish Head to be a maniacally inventive and creative brewery, analog beer for the digital age. You could say that my dream was to have Dogfish Head, in some small way, stand for the same thing in the beer world that Bitches Brew stands for in the jazz world. You can imagine how excited we are to be doing this project 17 years after I wrote that business plan.”
“There’s a spirit of innovation, of creativity and individuality, that’s at the core of Miles’ music,” said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. “Sam and Dogfish Head approach their art from the same place and consequently the marriage is an easy and cool one.”
Later this year, on August 31, an anniversary edition of the recording — two, actually: a Legacy Edition and a deluxe Collector’s Edition — will be released on CD.
You probably remember the big news back in August when Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada announced they’d be doing not one, but two collaboration beers. The main one is called Life & Limb, while the second is Limb & Life, a small beer made from the second runnings of Life & Limb.
To launch the new collaboration, a beer dinner was held last Sunday at Ana Mandara in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Both Sam Calagione, from Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman, from Sierra Nevada were on hand for the dinner.
Limb & Life, the draft-only “Imperial small beer,” was served with hors d’oeuvres while Ken and Sam talked about their collaboration together.
The five-course meal had two beers paired with each dish, one from each brewery. We started with Limb & Life and then Life & Limb was served as the last beer of the evening, with dessert. In addition, at the end of the night we finagled a bottle of Life & Limb to compare with the draft version. Personally, I preferred the bottle. Bottle-conditioning gave it a richer mouthfeel and added complexity.
I was fortunate to sit with Sam and Ken for the dinner, as they discussed the project. While Sam has done many collaborations with both domestic and foreign breweries over the years, this was Sierra Nevada’s first one. If you can find a copy of All About Beer magazine from around this time last year, you can read my feature story on collaboration beers. I love the growing trend of collaboration beers, especially when, like this one, some thought is put into it. This makes the results more meaningful, and not simply a marketing effort. Everything about it was well done, especially the artwork for the label, done by a children’s book illustrator.
Below is a slideshow of the Life & Limb beer dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.
My “Uncorked” interview with Sam Calagione, from the Dogfish Head Brewery, is in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. If you’re unfamiliar with the Uncorked series in the San Francisco Chronicle, they’ve been doing them for some time now, and it’s an interview that begins with some expository background information. They’re meant to be fun and a little thought provoking, with at least a few quirky, off-the-wall questions thrown in for good measure. I read a number of them in preparing my own questions, so I could get the tone right. So when I came up with my questions for Sam, I figured ask far more than I needed so that I could pick and choose the best ones. Sam, of course, is no stranger to public speaking and so made the process much easier. The hard part was choosing what to include and what to leave out. So here are a few more questions and answers from the original interview that I didn’t have the room to include in the Chronicle article.
What’s your favorite style of beer for spring?
I would have to say, just IPA. In general, whether it’s a big imperial IPA or a regular one. Those grassy, fruity, estery characters of an IPA remind me of the greening of the trees and the greening of the grass and just nature coming back to life.
Why should everybody in America be drinking craft beer?
Because Americans are starting to trade up and appreciate the finer things and recognizing that instead of a soul-killing SUV or vacation house, that they can spend $10 and get the world’s best beer. The craft beer renaissance is truly an affordable connoisseurship and compared to wine, where the world’s best bottles are going to cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, anybody in America can buy the world’s best beers. And because every American lives within ten miles of their local brewery, it’s not only an affordable connoisseurship but it’s an accessible world, too.
As an Italian-American, what do you think of the recent Italian beer renaissance?
It’s beautiful. It’s just indicative of a culture that embraces the finer things, whether it’s wine, beer or culinary. They got their priorities right over there. It’s about living well and spending time with loved ones and friends around a table full of great food and drink. I think it’s a wonderful sign of the craft brewing renaissance to watch it landing in other cultures that had traditionally been more associated with wine.
Why Did You Choose Delaware?
To be perfectly honest, by the time I got my shit together and raised the money I needed to start it, there were only eight states left in America that didn’t have a brewery. And I thought it would be great marketing cache to be the first brewery in a state and the first brewery in the first state sounded good. My wife, Mariah, who runs the company with me was born and raised in Delaware. So I’d go down and visit her in the summer, and living right on the Atlantic beach seemed pretty cool. I love it, we’re two hours from D.C., Baltimore and Philly, and it’s a great place to live and have a brewery.
What is a Randall?
A Randall is an organicalyptic hop-inducing module. Basically it was an invention we came up with for an east coast vs. west coast beer event, where Russian River Brewing, and some others, brought their beers and at the end of the day the east coast brewers beat the west coast brewers for the best hoppy beers in the country. We’ve now made 300 Randalls, and they’re being used in breweries all around the world. Basically, it’s a glorified, customized pool filter that we load with whole leaf hops and the beer acts as a solvent and strips the oils off the hop leaves and pour them in your glass. It’s just a great tool to educate the consumer on what hops does to beer. Not many consumers see hops changing their beer at the point where they’re actually drinking it, so it’s been a neat educational tool for us.
Do you take a certain pride when brewer’s say about their own beers, “No Randall Required?”
I actually do. Basically, to me, it sounds like insecurity, like maybe they should start thinking about using a Randall.
You’ve done a couple of Rap CDs, the Pain Relievez, with your head brewer Bryan Selders, and on a few songs you taunt West Coast brewers. Are you worried about any reprisals while you’re in town, on their turf, so to speak?
I hope they don’t Tupac my Biggie. It’s all done in good fun and we love those guys. But boy, I hope they bring out a response album, but I don’t think they have the guts or the rhythm.
What did you drink last night?
About 10-12 beers, to be perfectly honest. I was with my good friends that own breweries from around the country and we collectively brewed this gueuze-style beer called Isabelle Proximus. So we ended the night with that, but we enjoyed each others’ beers in all the courses that led up to that. That project is indicative of how altruistic and mutually supportive the craft brewing industry is. It’s an amazingly unique community where we teach each other what we know for the greater good and try and help each other, recognizing that collectively 1450 breweries in America have less than a 5 percent share and three giant ones have over an 80 percent share, but the craft beer [segment] is where the growth is at and it shows that the consumer now understands and appreciates what the small breweries in America are doing.
The rest of the interview can be read in today’s San Francisco Chronicle (page F-3) or online at SFGate.com.