Anyone remotely involved in or interested in craft beer has heard of Sam Calagione, co-founder and chairman of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Chances are, you might have even met him: Despite running one of the most successful craft breweries in the country, the charismatic brewer, author, and speaker attends festivals, conferences, and tap takeovers across the U.S.
When Calagione launched the first Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth, Del., in 1995, it was America’s smallest brewery. By 2015 it was in the top 20, and, today, after merging with Boston Beer in May 2019, it sits at No. 2.
VinePair caught up with Calagione to hear about his “long, strange journey” in craft beer, his love of boating, and what he drinks when he’s not popping SeaQuench.
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1. What’s your desert-island beer?
SeaQuench Ale. Soooo thirst-quenching and bursting with sustainable goodness from culinary ingredients like black limes and sea salt.
2. What’s the beer that made you fall in love with beer?
Tie between Chimay Red and Sierra Nevada Celebration.
3. FMK (f*ck, marry, kill) three beer types: IPA, pilsner, sour?
4. You’re on death row. What’s your last supper beer?
A bottle of our first-ever batch of World Wide Stout. Still tasting great from 1999. It will remind me what a long, strange trip it’s been.
5. You can only drink one beer for the rest of your life. What is it?
Same as my desert-island beer: SeaQuench Ale.
6. What’s the best and worst beer in your fridge right now?
Worst is a 10-month-old crowler of an experimental fresh hop IPA we brewed that I know isn’t so fresh anymore, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw it away yet. Best is a 12-pack of SeaQuench I am bringing on the water with a bunch of brewers tonight as we boat to and from our brewpub in Rehoboth tonight for dinner… I am a creature of habit, and in the warmer months I habitually drink SeaQuench.
7. If you could no longer drink beer, what would be your beverage of choice?
Cocktails. I favor the kind of bitters-induced Gin & Tonic that would make Fitzgerald punch Hemingway in the face.