Brewing beer may be humankind’s first biotechnology, representing our earliest attempt to harness the power of living organisms. Dating back to 9000 BC, the craft galvanized the cultivation of barley and wheat, transforming hunter-gatherers into farmers. What did those ancient brews taste like? Find out when you join biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern and pioneering brewmaster Sam Calagione as they explore ancient ales from around the world and retrace their journey to reconstruct a 3,500 year old Nordic Grog. It’s a sensational evening of science, talk, and tasting inspired by the innovative practices of our prehistoric ancestors.
This program is part of The World Science Festival’s Night at the Bell House in association with NPR’s Ask Me Another.
When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America. Today Dogfish is among the country’s fastest-growing breweries. Dogfish Head is the first American craft brewery to focus on culinary-inspired beer recipes outside traditional beer styles and has done so since the day it opened, as the motto “Off-centered ales for off-centered people” attests. Dogfish has grown into a 200-person company with a restaurant, distillery, beer-themed hotel, and production brewery selling beer in 31 states. Calagione served as Chairman of the Board for the Brewers Association in 2012 and 2013 and is a five-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in the “Outstanding Wine, Beer, & Spirits Professional” category. He is the author of Brewing Up a Business and Extreme Brewing, and co-authored He Said Beer, She Said Wine. He lives with his family in Lewes, Delaware.
Patrick McGovern is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an adjunct professor of anthropology. His academic background combined the physical sciences, archaeology, and history. McGovern received an A.B. in chemistry from Cornell University, completed graduate work in neurochemistry at the University of Rochester, and earned a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Literature from the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the emerging field of biomolecular archaeology. In the popular imagination, Patrick McGovern is known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages.”