Women in Craft Beer: Mariah Calagione

by: Chelsie

Chelsie Markel with Mariah CalagioneIt’s not every day that you get to rub shoulders with a craft beer icon, but, during my beercation to the beaches of Delaware, I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with none other than Mariah Calagione, Owner & Vice President of Dogfish Head Brewery. A fun and hard-working woman who does everything from overall company management to focusing on the marketing efforts of not only the brewery but also Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats (aka Brew Pub & Microbrewery at Rehoboth Beach, DE).

Her experience and community involvement is quite impressive (just look at the More About Mariah section at the bottom of the post). This is a woman that is kicking some serious ass in the craft beer industry starting way back in 1995- and for that, I give her a major High 5! What’s even better? She’s the most down-to-earth, genuine and fun-loving spirit. It was if I had known her for years as the meeting room filled with our laughter and conversation. It felt less like an interview and more like two girlfriends chatting it up about our common passion: craft beer.

How do you balance it all? Career. Volunteering. Family. Friends. Time to Yourself. Etc.

MC: I don’t see it as work vs. personal life, because everything is so interrelated. That’s the awesome part about having your own business. You get to choose what you do. You get to pick those 80 hours a week that you’re going to work. [laughter] I love that! You have the ability to structure it. Our kids sometimes go on beer trips when we travel for work. We see our friends at beer fests. It’s all kind of intermingled. Every day there’s probably something out of balance yet somehow it all seems to work. Like sometimes if it’s 3am and I can’t sleep, I look at our Twitter page to respond to people’s posts. They may not get the response until in the morning but I’m responding now while I have time!

What inspires you?

MC: I’m inspired by people that have such a focused passion. When you see someone who has that, their energy, drive and commitment is infectious.

I don’t often have deadlines. When I do, because I’m a procrastinator, I get to that moment of panic and I just come up with something. Procrastination inspires me!

What were your most favorite career experiences/projects so far?

MC: Early on, I would work with Sam to make our ads for all the local papers. You know…out of paper and glue. You had to paste it all up. Then, we would have to drive the ad over to the paper. That was fun! But now we’re getting to do other fun stuff, like getting to work with the Firefly Music Festival. Also, we started going to Italy every other year with the brewer’s association export committee to a huge food and beer festival: Salone del Gusto – a part of Slow Food International. It was really cool traveling and getting to meet the Italian brewers.

I also think getting to know people virtually online through what I do. I spend a lot of time online. You see them online and you kind of get to know them a little bit, you know? And, you get to meet new people. That’s really kind of cool!

What are you most proud of in your career?

MC: The way that we’ve been able to be successful with growing our social media side of our business. Not just the numbers. Engagement. Being there to answer people’s questions. We adopted social media pretty early on and stayed open to it. I’m pretty proud of that. It’s totally worthwhile.

Also, our Beer & Benevolence Program that we started several years ago. The program is all of the philanthropy, donations, and community support initiatives that we do. For instance, the Dogfish Dash: it’s a 5k and 10k road race held the last Sunday in September. We’ve raised over $250,000 for the Nature Conservancy here in Delaware that has two preserves here in Milton, DE. Habitat for Humanity is another one. We shut down all of our businesses one day a year and build houses for them with all of our coworkers.

Has social media worked well for Dogfish Head?

MC: Yes. On Twitter, we have more conversation with people as opposed to say Facebook or YouTube. It’s quick, fast and free-flowing. Instagram is great, too. For example, the day the punkin’ ale growlers went on sale, we posted an announcement. Within two hours all of the growlers were sold. Amazing! You can see that kind of instant effect.

I don’t schedule our social media posts. All of the responses are live so that our conversations are relevant to what’s going on in the world. For instance, I don’t want to post that ‘Punkin’ Ale Is Coming Out!’ if something tragic has just happened. Like if someone has passed away and the trending online conversations are focused on that.

Dogfish Head is an icon in craft beer today. Did you ever expect the brand to get this popular?

MC: No. It’s crazy! When I go downstairs to the food truck for lunch (outside our tasting room) and I meet someone who came in from Ohio or Kentucky I ask “Do you have family in the area?” and their response is “No.” It kind of boggles my mind sometimes. Or, when people have driven all night to get to your beer dinner at the Pub to drink a specific Dogfish Head beer. Their passion really inspires me to go, “Oh my God! I better do a good job at what I’m doing. People care.”

Have you ever encountered opposition being a female in the craft beer industry? And if so, how did you handle it?

MC: I haven’t felt it in a negative way ever. Early on, I have had the ‘outnumbered” feeling when I would go to a craft brewers’ conference and there would be like 25 men and only 2 women. But, I’m also more marketing slanted and a larger number of women in craft beer back then were in that role. Now, there are more women working in the industry. Here at Dogfish Head Brewery, a lot of our accounting, marketing, and management teams are women. And, we do have a number of women brewers here as well.

Are you seeing an increase in female fans for Dogfish Head? If so, have you noted any difference in how they interact with the brand than your male fans do?

MC: Yes. We now do get bachelorette parties to the tasting room which is kind of cool. And, we have women who come in as beer geeks themselves, which is great! They know what they want and they know what they like. They’re not just there because their boyfriends or husbands who like beer dragged them in to the tasting room.

We also get excited for the opportunity to educate women who do come in and say, “I don’t drink beer.” We then respond, “Well try this Noble Rot, Tweason’ale, or Festina Peche,” because it doesn’t taste like a typical beer. Or, we may say, “You don’t like dark beer? Ok. Try this Bitches Brew with this truffle chocolate taste.” We have this broad palette of beer styles to sort of try to defy people’s expectations of what they think beer is. That gives us the opportunity to encourage them to try something different.

From a social media perspective, I’m seeing an equal percentage of men and women visiting our Brew Pub Facebook page (55% men; 45% women) and Inn Facebook page (52% men; 48% women). The biggest difference is visitors to our Brewery Facebook page which mostly consists of men (70% men; 30% women). We have also seen an increase over the years of women’s clothing that we have for sale.

More About Mariah Calagione:

  • Hometown: Born and raised in Milford, Delaware
  • College: BA Public Policy from Brown University
  • Job Title: Owner & Vice President of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
  • Role at Dogfish Head: Overall Company Management, Marketing Focus with direct experience in Advertising, PR, Website, Social Media, Branding as well as oversight of Merchandising, Philanthropy/Community Outreach, Events, Graphic Design and Storytelling.
  • Husband: Met Sam in high school & married in 1996
  • 2 Children: Sammy and Grier
  • Currently Resides: Lewes, Delaware
  • Untappd: Mariah Calagione
  • Community Involvement (Past & Present):
    • University of Delaware: Trustee
    • Sussex Academy: School Board Member President
    • Northfield Mount Hermon School Trustee Vice Chair
    • The Greater Lewes Foundation: Board of Directors Member
    • The Nature Conservancy Delaware Chapter: Trustee
    • Friends of the Canalfront Park Lewes Delaware: Board Member & Secretary
    • Rehoboth Beach Film Society: Founding Member, Board Member, Board President, Advisory Board Member
    • Rehoboth Beach Main Street: Board of Directors Member
    • ‘Campaign for the Park': Lewes Canalfront Park Fundraising Campaign Committee Member
    • Bethel United Methodist Church: Staff/Parish Relations Committee Member
    • Bethel Christian Preschool: Board of Directors Member
    • Lewes Chamber of Commerce: Board of Directors Member
    • Dogfish Head Beer & Benevolence Program (View Program Info)

Follow Chelsie On:
Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14

Style. Undefined.

by: Tierney

pizza boy brews

Lately I’ve been musing on the parameters of craft beer styles, and whether or not they are necessary. For some craft beer drinkers and brewers, it’s incredibly imperative and comparable to calling an apple and orange. For others, it’s just an unnecessary and sometimes inaccurate descriptor and can set improper expectations.

I was convinced for awhile that style wasn’t important. I’m clearly not talking about shoes, but rather the constrictions and restrictions of what a beer had to be to be called by a certain name. I still scoff at those who try to tell me Perpetual IPA isn’t a 2XIPA even though they’ve purposefully named it an Imperial Pale Ale, not an India Pale Ale, and the ABV supports it. Then, I get mad at myself and wonder why does it even matter and who even cares?

That was until I took a trip to a brewery and ordered their saison. I was just a few sips in and it became clear to me quickly that it was classified improperly. Nothing about it was saison-esque, despite how difficult it can be to define that particular beer style. Then I ordered their blonde. It was more like an IPA than a blonde ale in the end. I had been mislead by improper classifications twice in a row, and disappointed by the beer choices I had made. Clearly style was important.

Style. Undefined. Is this a saison? You decide.I recently asked a random sample of 4 people to describe to me in two sentences or less the way that their favorite IPA tastes.

  • “Well rounded. Lots of flavor without being punched in the face with bitterness”
  • “Probably crisp with an apricot tastes and of course the bitter after taste of an IPA”
  • “Citrusy and flowery. Grapefruit with low malt flavor”
  • “Crisp, refreshing, hoppy, and has a slight citrus taste. Most important, it tastes like America”

So, an IPA can taste like many things, we know this, but I think that this is why people struggle with style in general. If a beer can have so many different flavors how can they all be the same thing? However, going into a style one should have somewhat of an idea of what to expect right?

At this point you may be asking yourself, “okay so where do you stand on this?” The truth is I’m not sure. I’ve written and re-written my thoughts on style and have had this post sitting in the ‘draft’ folder for at least two months. I can only narrow it down to a thought that a brewer once told me – that he brews the beer to a desired flavor and then determines where it fits as far as ‘style’ goes. That about sums it up. That style isn’t the end-all be-all, but important in the grand-scheme, especially when educating others on craft beer. What are your thoughts on beer styles?

 

Get Brewing: Homebrew Harvest Fundraiser October 12

by: Tierney

homebrew harvest graphic

Are you a homebrewer? Do you like beer? How about helping charities? If you answered yes to any of these three questions then the Homebrew Harvest Fundraiser event is for you! Stouts & Stilettos is a proud sponsor of this first ever event hosted by our friends at The Brewery at Hershey in conjunction with Pierce Brewing Company.  A $20 entry fee gets you in the door to sample some fantastic local homebrews. There will also be food trucks present and Two Pints Shy rocking the stage.

Homebrewers: submit your entries for just $10 for the first, $5 for each additional by emailing piercebrewingco@gmail.com. Bring your best as there can be only one taster’s choice winner.

The best part of all? Proceeds from the entry fees and tickets will be donated to Penn State Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital and the Four Diamonds Fund. Eat awesome foods, drink awesome beers, and feel awesome knowing you’ve contributed to a great cause.

Here’s the rundown:

First Football Sunday 2014

by: Tierney

Happy first football Sunday of 2014! At Stouts and Stilettos we are all sports lovers but in our own way.

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Tierney is celebrating an epic Atlanta Falcons win right now and enjoyed both Southern Tier Pumking and Millbock Oaked Funky Toos for the game. Yes, there are 3 tvs, it’s serious at the S&S HQ. Rise up!

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Chelsie is watching…the Phillies. She’s on vacation in Rehoboth (expect a post soon) drinking Flying Dog Dead Rise. Football isn’t really their scene, but honestly who doesn’t love a good baseball game?

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Colleen, her husband Mike, and Leena enjoyed watching both the Eagles and the Steelers. Leena, while rocking her dad’s team in a Steelers jersey, also repped Colleen by being upset that no one would sing Fly Eagles Fly with her. Being 2 is hard. They’re at Springate Vineyard sampling their new Hop Cider. See also: baby bump!

Welcome back football season. What’s in your glass right now?

Iron Hill Pumpkin Beers to Arrive Sept 5

by: Tierney

iron hill logo

On Friday, September 5, beginning at 5 p.m., all 10 regional Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations will celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new season with the annual release of both The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Classic Pumpkin Ale. Iron Hill’s award-winning Pumpkin Ale will be available on draught at all 10 locations through Halloween (Friday, October 31), and pumpkin lovers will be able to take home The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale in cork-finished 750 mL bottles for a limited time.

iron hill pumpkinIron Hill’s Pumpkin Ale is a medium-bodied, copper-colored ale with malt-y sweetness and a balancing bitterness. It is spiced with traditional pumpkin pie spices and vanilla, in lieu of finishing hops, for intensely seasonal flavor. The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a hearty autumnal beer brewed each year with more than 200 pounds of pumpkins, as well as pumpkin pie spices, molasses and Belgian candi sugar, giving it a rich flavor and heady aroma, evocative of wool sweaters, crisp evenings by the fire and all things fall. Throughout the season, the beer will be sold as a Bottled Reserve, Iron Hill’s line of cork-finished 750 ml bottles, for $19.50. The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale’s collectible bottles feature a custom-designed label from local artist Jeff Schaller, inspired by the beloved comic strip Peanuts.

Be sure to grab your bottle at one of Iron Hill’s locations:

Black Gryphon: Not Your Average Beer Selection

by: Chelsie

It’s no secret that I’m always on the hunt for good craft beers. Especially unusual flavors, trendy new styles, hard-to-find rarities, aged, cellared, or limited editions. I search, find, and devour. I’m here today to let you in on a little secret spot where I score some of my best finds: The Black Gryphon in Elizabethtown, PA.

Anthony Morgan, Owner, Black Gryphon

Anthony Morgan, owner & chef, of the Black Gryphon pouring us a Smuttynose Zinneke Belgian Stout while we talk all things “brew.”

I stumbled across the place several years back and at the time, I had no idea the beer bounty that it held. It’s a place known for local, fresh ingredients in every dish and seasonal refreshes to their menu. But I had never heard of anyone talking about the amazing beer selection.

> View Black Gryphon’s Beer List

Boulevard Saison-BrettHOW DID YOU GET THAT?
I really like that there’s a dedicated tap for Dogfish Head beers – varieties that you’re NOT going to find at most craft beer taphouses in Central Pennsylvania. Stuff like Ancient Ales, 120 minute, Sony collaborations, etc. In fact, most of the craft beers I’ve found here are so unusual that I just had to ask Anthony how he selects and obtains these liquid treasures. This while conversing over a glass of Boulevard’s Saison-Brett (farmhouse ale – 8.5% ABV)… on draft. Crisp, hoppy and tart.

The majority of his beer selecting inspiration comes from his travels. When he’s not working at the Black Gryphon he’s out and about locally and long-distance to experience brews that he’s never had before. He’s constantly tasting and researching what should be added to the beer list. His patrons, friends and family also drop off bottles from their excursions and trips. Want proof? Check out the bottle collection that continues to grow when you walk inside the place. It’s awesome.

Eighteen different sources are used to obtain what gets sold at the pub whether it be kegs or bottles. These include self-distributing breweries like Millbock, Round Guys, Red Hook, St Boniface, to name a few. Also, distributors that are willing to help Anthony obtain rare selections and special requests. Those distributors that aren’t going to insist that the mainstream, flagship selections have to be represented. You’re not going to find Shock Top on these taps!

Black Gryphon Craft Beer Tap HandlesQUALITY VS QUANTITY
The goal is not only to find unusual stuff but to stock seasonal selections that are key for the serious craft beer drinkers. Limited, smaller batches.

Smaller quantities are obtained so the beer never has a chance to go bad or get stale. I appreciate this because I’ve been to many places that boast gobs of taps only to be disappointed in the lack of freshness. Believe me, you can tell when a beer sits too long, or when the tap lines aren’t cleaned from keg to keg. Blah! I call a place out every time when I encounter either of these taproom fouls. Thank goodness the Black Gryphon staff cleans their tap lines and samples each selection on a regular basis to ensure fresh taste. If it doesn’t taste fresh, it gets pulled from the bar and discarded.

Smuttynose Zinneke Belgian StoutTHE BEER CELLAR
It’s at this point in the conversation that Anthony says “Have you ever had a Smuttynose Zinneke Belgian Stout?” Of course, I haven’t. This is why I come here… to indulge in the unusual. And, this selection did not disappoint. Rich, creamy and tart. The perfect follow-up to the saison-brett we had just finished. This guy really knows his beers!

You won’t find the cellared craft beers on the website beer list. Why? This is the rare of the rare. Super limited quantities. Dine-in only. Just ask “what’s in the beer cellar today?” the next time you stop in to see what’s available.

Also, the cellar is safe-keeping for beers that will be served during the many beer pairing dinners that the Black Gryphon puts on throughout the year.

Be sure to “like” the Black Gryphon on Facebook so you get the details on all of their events!
> View Facebook Page

Mixed Media by Chul Beom ParkBEER ISN’T THE ONLY FINE ART HERE
Being a designer by trade and an artist at heart, I like to peruse the walls of the place each time I visit. Anthony supports local artists by hanging their works in the dining room for his patrons to view and purchase, if they’d like.

He’s also an artist, himself. Ask him about his latest works when you stop in.

 

Dogfish Head Tweasonale Upcycled Beer SignYou can also find the Upcycled Beer Signs that my husband and I make from various beer packaging like six-pack holders, cans, etc. They’re located in the bar area on the back wall. We change them seasonally and try to reflect the great selections that the Black Gryphon has to offer.

These are the same signs we sell on our Ebay Store. Check them out when you stop in. Tell Anthony that Chelsie sent ya. Cheers!


Follow Me On:
Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14

 

Brewery at Hershey Anniversary Party 2014

by: Tierney

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This Saturday August 16 2014 our good friends at The Brewery at Hershey are celebrating their first anniversay.

It seems like only yesterday, but In August of 2013, the vineyard added well-decorated homebrewer, Ryan DeLutis, who was ready to go “big time,” and The Vineyard at Hershey became The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey. One year and 10,000 gallons of fresh, local, “PA Preferred” craft beer later, they are ready to celebrate the brewery’s first year’s successes which include sourcing ingredients from an on-site Brewer’s Garden, a portfolio of 13 unique craft beers and multiple small-batch “Special Ops” beers which benefit a local National Guard Unit, a 10 county wide distribution agreement with Westy’s Beer Distributors, and strong partnerships with many local businesses and charities. (more…)

Giveaway: Farm & Brew on the Strasburg Railroad August 22nd

by: Tierney

SRR_Engine475 in spring

In case you couldn’t tell, here at Stouts and Stilettos we are PA Proud and love partnering with local businesses. As a kid, I remember taking day trips with my family every summer to different spots around the state and Mid Atlantic region – everything from The Philadelphia/Washington/Baltimore Zoos to Crystal Cave and even the entomology department at Penn State (I was a pretty big dork). The Strasburg Railroad was definitely on that list as well, ripe with Pennsylvania’s heritage, who offer scenic tours across Lancaster County.

While they still offer the tours like I took as a child, they are expanding into dinner events, Oktoberfest in the fall, and now their Farm & Brew days. These events include summer foods like BBQ ribs, cole slaw, corn on the cob, etc. as well as 5 seasonal beer samples as you enjoy the scenic view of the Lancaster countryside. Sounds like a great date night if you ask us!

Tickets to this event are usually $52/each, but we’re giving away two for you to enjoy! Entering is simple, and we’ll pick a winner on Thursday August 21st. Enter daily and may the odds ever be in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s the quick rundown:

  • What: Farm and Brew on the Train with Strasburg Railroad
  • When: Aug 22 2014 @ 6:30pm
  • A celebration of the tastes of summer aboard Strasburg Rail Road’s vintage steam trains. Includes a menu of summer favorites such as BBQ ribs, local corn on the cob and house-made cole slaw, paired with 5 seasonal brews and scenic views of Lancaster County as you travel down the tracks from Strasburg to Paradise and back. 

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