Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware, is legendary for many things, not least of which is his energy. He could probably tire out my six-year old, Porter. Sam is also a consummate marketer, showman and storyteller. Ask him about walking through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport with a brick of hops. I’ve known Sam for a lot of years. He’s a terrific person, makes great beers and is a wonderful asset to the beer industry. So I was pleased when the Chronicle asked me to do one of their “Uncorked” articles on Sam. Ironically, I got the call from my editor while driving to the Lost Abbey beer dinner near San Diego where I would see Sam and be able to ask him in person about scheduling.
So before an event Monday night at the Toronado introducing, or should I say re-introducing (there used to be some Dogfish Head beers available in Southern California), Dogfish Head beers to California, I sat down with Sam and asked him a series of questions. The article should most likely run in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, May 9.
Afterwards, the event was a rousing success with standing room only throughout the evening. Three Dogfish Head beers will be available throughout California: 90 Minute IPA, Midas Touch Golden Elixir and their new Palo Santo Marron, which means literally “Holy Tree Brown.” They were also serving three specialty beers that won’t normally be available: Chateau Jiahu, Immort Ale and the Olde School Barley Wine. These were well paired with three different artisanal cheese; stravecchio, gruyere and a cantal. There were also local distributor folks in the back room for a chance to learn about the beers they will start selling directly from Sam. But Sam was his usual ball of energy and bounced around the bar like a bottle uncorked, shaking hands, handing out cheese and sharing his beer with the crowd. In retrospect, I’m surprised I got him to sit down for as long as I did, but it sure was fun.