Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione & His Brewery’s One-two Punch Approach to Brewing

July 12, 2017

By definition, a one-two punch is an especially forceful or effective combination of things. It’s a boxing metaphor. But damn, it really applies to Sam and his brewery.

While many craft breweries lose their creative edge, Dogfish Head (DFH) leads with a left jab followed by a right cross that always lands their beers squarely on the mark.“It’s about being a creative brewery first [jab] and a commercial brewery second [cross],” Calagione says when asked why after 22 years in the business Dogfish Head remains an influential, ground-breaking brewery. Then in rapid fire succession he continues. “It’s passion first [jab] and profit second [cross], then hiring people who get that.” 

This spring, Calagione was named a James Beard award winner, an honor which recognizes individuals whose innovative work pushes the culinary envelope, effectively changing the food & beverage landscape.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, on the very day Heady Times asked this brewer-distiller-restaurateur to list 10 things we might not know about him and his brewery, the newspaper USA Today published an article about DFH SeaQuench Ale – because it’s innovative.

Here are 10 things Sam Calagione wants you to know about him and his brewery…

1. DFH SeaQuench Ale, a delicious lime and sea salt-infused beer with an ABV of 4.9%, is a hybrid of three German beer styles – kölsch, Berliner weiss and gose. It is the only beer that can legitimately claim to be hydrating like a sports drink, a fact verified by the folks at Sports Science Insights, the National Aquarium and chemists like Matt Hartly, who teaches at American University.

2. SeaQuench Ale is Men’s Health magazine editor’s choice for the best-tasting, low calorie beer. The lime and salt make it a great companion to Mexican food.

3. The continuous hopping of DFH 60/90/120 Minute IPAs is an adaptation of a soup-making technique.All of Sam’s beers are culinary inspired.That’s why DFH beers are extra good with food.

4. Lots of his beers are “firsts”: Aprihop, the first fruited IPA; Festina Peche, the first nationally distributed fruited sour and Raison d’Etre, the first time he was “vilified” for putting ingredients like raisins and maple syrup into a Belgian-style ale.

5. For Sam and company, original music and original beer go hand-in-hand, so when he opened his brewpub/restaurant in Rehoboth, DE, he only hired bands that played their own songs.

6. His most recent musically-inspired beer series is called Alternate Takes.

7. The only pumpkin beer older that DFH Punkin (still brewed according to the recipe that Sam created

8. Sam never really retires any beers. “They are all our children. We don’t kill them, but we may send them away to military school for a while.” Look for 61 Minute, Indian Brown Ale and 90 Minute in a mixed winter pack called IPAs for the Holidays.

9. Flesh & Blood and SeaQuench are the fastest growing brands in DFH’s history.

10. Sam just spent millions to renovate their original place, the brewpub in Rehoboth. More money was spent on their new stage than on their first brewing system!

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