36 Intriguing Delawareans • Sam Calagione

Craft beer connoisseur

Sam Calagione’s new James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional has a place of honor at Dogfish Head’s Chesapeake & Maine restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. Calagione, who was nominated for the award seven times, says that’s because the award is really for his staff of 250. “Invention can be a solitary pursuit, but innovation is a collaborative effort,” he says. “All the awards are really for every Dogfish Head worker.”

Past winning chefs Mario Batali and Marc Vetri told him the award shows “how Dogfish Head has brought culinary-inspired creations into the craft-brewing renaissance.” Bill Addison, chair of the Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee for the James Beard Foundation, says the committee kept recommending Calagione for so many years because “we had continuing confidence that his extraordinary accomplishments in craft beer would give him a chance at taking home the award.”

The award came in May, just before the opening of the new Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth. Two new and adventurous brews show tremendous growth for the highly innovative company: Flesh & Blood IPA with lemon flesh and blood orange juice and SeaQuench Ale. Men’s Health named the latter the best low-calorie and low-carb beer. The family-controlled company today distributes beer in 37 states and D.C., and runs a production facility in Milton, the two Rehoboth establishments and a beer-themed inn in Lewes.

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