Beer Birthday: Sam Calagione

Today is Sam Calagione’s 46th birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a (former?) rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his former head brewer Bryan Selders) 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.

Sam gives the thumbs up behind his booth at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
With Ken Grossman at a Life & Limb collaboration beer dinner.

Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch
Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch.

Sam Calagione @ Rare Beer Tasting
Sam at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF 2009.

Rapping at Pike Place in Seattle in 2006.

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.

Beer Birthday: Mark Edelson

Today is the 51st birthday of Mark Edelson, a co-founder and the managing partner of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, a small brewpub chain that operates eleven 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.

Toasting the Class of '96: Greg Koch, Mark Edelson, Bill Covaleski, Tom Kehoe, Gene Muller & Sam Calagione
Toasting the Class of ’96: Greg Koch, Mark, Bill Covaleski, Tom Kehoe, Gene Muller & Sam Calagione at the “Older Bud No Weiser” event during Philly Beer Week several years ago.

Carol and Ed Stoudt with Mark at the opening event for the first Philly Beer Week.

Mark on stage with Bob Barrar and Charlie Papazaian at the 2007 GABF.

A Good Night For Mark Edelson, from Iron Hill
A great night For Mark during GABF week in the basement of the Falling Rock near the end of a very good evening.

Celebrity Beer Gossip

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.

Delaware Beer

Today in 1787, Delaware became the 1st state.


Delaware Breweries

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


Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 35%
  • Cans: 54.7%
  • Kegs: 10%

Beer Taxes:

  • 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

Legal Restrictions:

  • 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.

The Many Sides of Sam Calagione

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.

The Many Sides of Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery from Beer Wars on Vimeo.

The Brewer’s Feud: 21A Vs. Iron Hill

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.


Dogfish Head Bitches Brew Honors Miles Davis

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced the release of Bitches Brew to commemorate the original release of the milestone jazz album, Bitches Brew, by jazz legend Miles Davis.

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.

Drinking Life & Limb

sierra-nevada dogfish
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.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione

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.

Life & Limb label artwork

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.