If you’re a foodie, you know the James Beard Awards are a big deal. I know this because Padma announces any Top Chef guest judge who has won the award like it’s an important honor. It’s right up there with that Zagnut review and whatever prize the Michelin Man gives out.
There is a James Beard Award category for “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional,” and this year not one, but TWO craft brewers are in the field of five finalists.
Dogfish Head ringleader Sam Calagione is one of them, an honor he had last year as well. Calagione is quoted by delmarvanow.com as saying,
“I’m proud on behalf of the 140 of us at Dogfish, when the recognition we get in the culinary community is our beers and how unique they are and how well they pair with food,” he said. “Everyone — from the brewers, to the cellar people, to packaging and warehouse quality control — has critical roles and deserves recognition.”
This year Sam is joined by Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and author of the food-loves-beer book The Brewmaster’s Table (he’s also the snazziest dresser in the craft beer universe). Garrett has also been in the finals before, having been nominated in 2009 and 2010, back before “Beer” was added to the category of “Outstanding Wine or Spirits Professional.”
I couldn’t find a quote for Mr. Oliver, so just read Sam’s again, replacing “Dogfish” with “Brooklyn Brewery” and instead of seeing Sam in your head, picture a sophisticated gentleman in a suit with a brightly colored sweater vest that perfectly matches his immaculate shoes.
We’re excited to see two craft beer luminaries in the finals this year, because it shows that craft beer is serious culinary business, not just something to pound bottles of alone in your basement in the dark thinking about how fun your childhood was and wondering why it all had to change…uhh…nevermind…maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, congratulations to Sam and Garrett – Don and I are pulling for you to take the beard! That’s what they get, an awesome set of sea captain whiskers? Right?