If you’ve ever attended the CBC you understand that the evening’s celebrations, thrown by brewers and industry organizations all over town, are as essential as the day’s many seminars – and a big part of what makes the Craft Brewers Conference so much fun.
And no one throws a better CBC party than Sam Calagione.
Dogfish Head is a brewery fueled on music, and the bands that Sam brings to these annual throwdowns are always the best. This year he presented alternative rock legends, Cracker, at World Café Live, a great Philadelphia music venue and an awesome place for a party.
Everyone was drinking Dogfish Head and primed for a good time so when the band hit the stage the place went crazy.
Sam kicked off things off, by fronting the band, and laying into his own trademark version of the Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun,” and it was ON!
Then Bell’s own, John Mallett, hit the stage, completely (and convincingly) in drag, and launched into Lou Reed’s classic “Walk on the Wild Side,” complete with industry backup singers. It was an envelope-pushing performance that further set the tone for an evening of music, drinking, and dancing, that felt more like a private “insider after-party”, than an industry event.
Industry fav, Ginger Johnson, worked he stage like a star with her “west-coast” rendition of REM’s “The one I Love.”
Sierra Nevada’s Brian Grossman hit “Come Together,” Philly pub Icon, Fergie, killed with his version of “Satisfaction” and Rick Steckler nailed it with “Low.”
But it was Jose Pistola’s Casey Parker, shirtless, rock-god performance of the AC/DC classic “You Shook Me All Night Long” that had fists in the air and readied the room for the night’s headliners.
Then Cracker took center stage, as only they could, and whole room went full-on electric. Even those in the back of the house stopped drinking and rushed the stage.
Lead singer David Lowery was as good as ever, as he tore through classic’s like Euro Trash Girl and, of course, Low. And Johnny Hickman absolutely killed on guitar.
John Mallet, still in drag, was dancing with industry icons while Cracker roared through hit, after hit, after hit.
Ladyface Ale’s Cyrena Nouzille was seen tearing up the floor with New Belgium’s Kim Jordan…A clearly ecstatic Sam Calagione, made his own moves as he worked his way through the crowds, filming the performers, hugging friends, and just being “the man.”
It was well after midnight when we staggered out of the venue, drunk from the music, the beer and the incredible evening. And left, ears still ringing, with the realization that we may have just had one of those “once-in-a-lifetime moments.”
This was the kind of night that defines the spirit of the craft beer industry and the people in it…Dogfish Head put on something special last week, that won’t be forgotten for years, and it was awesome to be there.