Bravura Brewer | Sam Calagione

FoodandWine Recipe

When a team of Archaeologists at the University of Pennsylvania wanted to try out an ancient Mesopotamian beer recipe unearthed from King Midas' tomb, they called Sam Calagione. They found the right man for the job; fermenting barley, thyme honey, Muscat grapes and Indian saffron might pose a hellish challenge to any other brewer, but Calagione turned the stuff into pure gold. Since 1995, when he established his Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Calagione, 31, has earned a reputation as one of the country's most adventuresome brewers, largely due to his innovative use of ingredients. His Raison D'Etre, a dark ale, is sweetened with Belgian beet sugars and yellow raisins; his Shelter Pale Ale contains Delaware-grown two-row barley malted on the premises in converted pizza ovens; for his seasonal Pumpkin Ale, he roasts exotic pink banana gourds dusted with coriander and nutmeg. Calagione's unconventional brewing methods have raised eyebrows, but Dogfish Head's success in a crowded field (he has already won a few awards) can be explained by the rich and nuanced flavors of his beers. In fact, Calagione may have created a new school of brewing, an intuitive, modern style that flouts the orthodoxies of traditional beer making (888-8-DOGFISH).

PUBLISHED November 2000