I really have to give the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery credit for inspiring me lately.
It’s not even his beer. To be honest, due to living in Canada, I haven’t tried any of Dogfish Head’s selection aside from Midas Touch, a beer based on a 2700 year-old recipe, when I visited NYC. The Raison D‘Etre? The Namaste? The 60 or 120 Minute IPA? Nope, nope, nope and nope. I want to try them in the worst possible way, but geography and lack of a car and money for travel is preventing that.
So what is it about Sam Calagione that is inspiring me? His passion. Say what you want about him, but he is a man who is EXCITED about beer and wants to share that excitement with the world. He’s also one of the first people I’ve come across that actively endorses going as wild as possible with ingredients and promotes experimentation. Sure a lot of the books I’ve read say that you can do it and it’s fun, but Sam Calagione is the first person I’ve read about who shows that it can be done and be rather tasty to boot. And if it’s not tasty then so what? Just keep getting out there.
But this endorsement of experimentation of beer styles isn’t just a call to other brewers. It’s also a call to beer drinkers to try something new. And while that’s been said many times by many people, I have to give credit to Calagione for being one of the louder voices.
As some of my readers know, the tail end of 2010 was when I started getting more interested in beer and was kind of looking at home brewing. So it was luck, I guess, that introduced me to the existence of Calagione through the (sadly) short-lived Discovery Channel show he starred in called Brew Masters, which came out in November. And in the few episodes it ran (still waiting on that final sixth one, Discovery Channel) I found that I got excited to try new things in both brewing and tasting beer.
Doesn’t that show look great? It was.
“While recipes are included for classic ales and lagers, Extreme Brewing emphasizes the hybrid styles that have helped put Dogfish Head’s beers on the map. Using fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, readers can create their own unique flavor combinations for truly world-class beers.”
It sounds like an amazing template book to get one started. He makes the recipes as simple as possible so you can focus on making something unique and original. I like that.
And that’s why I admire the man. He loves going wild and weird with ingredients and is incredibly vocal in encouraging others to do the same.