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OFF CENTERED ALES FOR OFF CENTERED PEOPLE! Chances are you’ve heard of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, you’ve likely had a few of their beers too. What you probably don’t know is how important in the craft beer industry Dogfish Head is. They’ve inspired many homebrewers to start their own ventures. In fact, During a Dogfish Head event in Sarasota, Jen Hawkins and Peter Szunyogh, after trying a variety of Dogfish beers, decided to open their own brewery which became Volusia’s own Tomoka Brewing Co. In similar fashion, Columbia University Student Sam Calagione (founder of Dogfish Head) started learning about beer. He was waiting tables in a Manhattan bar and was introduced to beers he had never tried. Sam was inspired to pick up a homebrew kit and immediately changed things up by adding overly ripe cherries to the brew. About a week later, he sanitized bottles via boiling water and put them on his carpeted floor, allowing them to cool. Upon filling them he realized the bottles were now stuck to the carpet. Undeterred (and unwilling to go out for another box of bottles,) Sam filled each bottle and then cut the bottles out of the carpet, effectively giving them their own coasters. At a party with his friends, Sam unveiled his creation to rave reviews and knew he found his passion. At that moment he decided to start his own brewery. Breaking the news to his father that he would leave Columbia University to follow his dream was not going to be easy. So on a walk with his dad, Sam told him his plans expecting the worst. To his shock and amazement, gazing up at an upcoming street sign, his father responded, “you know, Dogfish Head would be a great name for a brewery.” Named after a small inlet in New Hampshire, Dogfish Head would become synonymous with the craft beer movement. In 1995, Sam and his future wife Mariah moved to Delaware, and found a place in Rehoboth Beach that would house the brewpub. But there was one problem, post prohibition laws had not been updated and breweries were not legally allowed to operate in Delaware. Upon learning this, Sam wrote a bill and presented it to the state senate. With the vote of 11 to 1, the laws were changed and Dogfish Head was allowed to open its doors. It was there were in 1999, Sam would create their Famous IPA series starting with 90 minute IPA. Inspiration came while watching a cooking TV show in which the chef was making a soup and mentioned he liked to add crushed peppercorn at different increments throughout the entire cooking process to bring out more flavor. The resulting idea was to create an IPA without overwhelming bitterness but an intense hop flavor using a similar method. Sam devised a method for adding hops throughout a 90-minute boiling process using an old vibrating football to continuously shake hops into the boil kettle nicknamed Sir Hops A Lot. The result was an intensely hoppy IPA with a great malt backbone. Coming in at 9% 90 Minute IPA would win tons of praise including being known as, “perhaps the best IPA in America” by Esquire Magazine. in 1995 they were known as the smallest Brewery in the entire country, today having moved production into a what is now a 200 barrel system in Milton, Delaware, they are now one of the top-selling craft breweries in the entire country and the world. To learn more visit

Cheers, Ed Irvin BACKSTAGE PASS MAGAZINE • APRIL 5 - MAY 4, 2017


0417 BackStagePass Magazine  
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