Dogfish Founder Talks Books & Beer in Reston

By Hope Nelson Dogfish founder Sam Calagione’s new book focuses on diverse leadership.

Of all the likely places to spy Dogfish Head Brewery’s Founder and President, Sam Calagione, seeing him perched at a table on stage interviewing intern candidates at the Reston World of Beer may not be No. 1 on the list. But last Wednesday, as Dogfish fans from around the region gathered to welcome Calagione and buy copies of his new book, “Off-Centered Leadership,” that’s just where they found him: Listening intently to hopeful “Drink It Intern” candidates, asking questions, taking notes, until every applicant had had a chance to be seen. Sam Calagione understands starting small, he worked behind the bar in NYC and got interested in microbrewed beer. According to his corporate bio, he "put his English degree to the test while writing the brewpub business plan." And the rest is history for this Delaware-brewed beer that is available across the country and has a national following.

The book – one of several Calagione has penned over the years – is less about beer and more about leadership.

Founder Sam Calagione shares a laugh with two guests.

“It’s really the story of our company’s journey from a little startup entrepreneurial company to a company rich with diverse leaders,” Calagione said. “And that evolution that you need to make to be collaborative, not just externally when we collaborate with other breweries or bands, but collaborative internally, to trust that your own co-workers can contribute toward the creative and strategic part of a company’s trajectory.”

But while many attendees carried Calagione’s new book under their arm, they were also eager to talk about the latest brew news. And he didn’t disappoint.

A plethora of Dogfish beers were on tap at World of Beer for the occasion.

“We’re coming out with a new beer called Seaquench-ale. … It’s a beer made of three threads – we put three different styles of beer into a fermenter in sequence,” he said. “… The first one’s a Kolsch, then the yeast eats the sugars and grows, and the second one we put on top is a Gose made with salt evaporated from Chesapeake Bay saltwater and a little coriander. And then the third thread is a Berliner Weisse – 25% of the fermentables from lime. So envision, like, a margarita of beers with lime and salt, from the pedigree of three great German beer styles.”

Seaquench-ale is now on tap at Dogfish’s new Rehoboth restaurant and will come out in bottles at the end of July – perfect for a backyard barbecue!

HopeNelsonPicHope Nelson is a tofu-loving food writer who's happiest in the kitchen (or watching college football). She lives in Alexandria, Va., with her husband, Mike, and their cat, Lucky Abigail. Check out her food blog at or email her any time at