Scene Last Night: Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Gluten-Free Beer at Birreria
Tweason’ale was orangey-pink in color, light and sweet in taste.
The new, gluten-free beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc. contains buckwheat honey and a lot of strawberries grown in southern Delaware. It won’t be released until November, but it made an early appearance last night on Eataly’s rooftop restaurant Birreria.
Dogfish Head’s founder and owner, Sam Calagione, introduced the beer at a party for the new edition of his book, “Brewing Up a Business,” published by John Wiley.
Leave it to a master of event marketing (the chapter in his book on the subject is titled “Publicity Stunts (Poorly Named)” to host an overachieving marketing event. In addition to the book, the new brew, and the Dogfish Head polo shirt Calagione was wearing (a collaboration with Patagonia), the party promoted Birreria, Calagione’s new venture with Mario Batali and two Italian breweries, Baladin and Birra del Borgo.
The place, which opened last month, is already so popular that the party was scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. to avoid taking tables out of commission during prime time. At 6:15 p.m., 25 people were waiting to get into the restaurant.
The views included the Flatiron and Empire State buildings. The menu was designed, Calagione said, to pair well with beer. A chestnut beer brewed at Birreria came out with platters of fried shiitake mushrooms. The Tweason’ale was paired with a salad of Bibb lettuce, wax beans and new potatoes.
It felt very fancy. All the beers were served from carafes and poured into glasses that looked like the beakers in chemistry class, with a stem attached. They were designed by Teo Musso, the founder of Baladin.
Calagione gave guests a tour of the brewery at Birreria, which didn’t take long. It’s in a glass-enclosed room near the maitre d’s station and can fit just half a dozen people comfortably.
Over the sound of bubbling liquids, and standing next to a fermenter made by the Canby, Oregon, manufacturer JV Northwest Inc., Calagione talked about a few of the recipes he and his partners have developed for Birreria’s brewery.
“We were downstairs at Eataly, and Mario brought out a whole variety of peppercorns and these crazy pepper crushers,” Calagione said. The resulting beer, Lisa, will be available next week and features three different peppercorns including “a pine comb-shaped variety that has a minty taste,” he said.
Each time he finished a chapter of his book, he rewarded himself with a glass of beer. “Usually a vintage beer, say a stout with 18% alcohol,” Calagione said. He keeps about 150 bottles in his beer cellar.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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