Memories of Dogfish Head

Delaware, Essay, travel

This travel essay was part of Charlotte magazine’s July issue about breweries worth a road-trip. I’m originally from Delaware so it was really special to write about the most prominent brewery from the state, Dogfish Head.

Courtesy of Dogfish Head Brewery

THE FIRST THING I NOTICE as I pull up to Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery isn’t the scent of malt or hops filling the air of small-town Milton, or the giant stainless steel fermentation silos outside. It’s the steampunk treehouse with wiry, rusty branches and a spiral staircase that leads to a hexagonal house planted on the lawn.

The treehouse was first built as an art installation for Burning Man, the massive desert alt-festival, then found its way to Coachella, the massive desert mainstream festival. With no permanent home, Dogfish Head took in the 40-foot-tall steel sculpture, and it’s remained on site since 2010. The eight-ton treehouse isn’t open for guests, but boy, is it fun to look at.

I’m from Delaware, so for me, Dogfish Head is as synonymous with beer as National Bohemian is in Maryland or Bud Light is everywhere. It’s what NoDa Brewing or Olde Mecklenburg Brewery are to Charlotte—but in Delaware, for a long time, we had only one choice. Now we have Mispillion River, Big Oyster, Fordham & Dominion, and about 20 others—remarkable for a state with a population of less than a million.

In my early 20s, I liked Dogfish’s Namaste White so much, I bought Namaste-flavored lip balm from the gift shop. Today, for every birthday and Christmas, my dad still gives me a six-pack of whatever Dogfish has in season. In Charlotte, I scour bottle shops to find the lime green cap with a shark-shaped exclamation point, which signals the ABV is more than 15 percent. The brewery calls it the “Dogfish danger cap.”

I was a year old in 1995, when Sam and Mariah Calagione opened Dogfish Head. As a young kid, I remember my dad drinking their flagship 90 Minute IPA as he cheered for the Redskins—a good beer helped curb the disappointment of Redskins fanhood ever since their 1992 Super Bowl win. Once I was old enough to drink, it was the first beer I tried (beat that, nameless-keg beer).


Adrenaline Rush: 18 Adventurous Outings Near Charlotte

Nature, travel

In Charlotte magazine’s April issue, I edited and contributed to our travel feature package about adventurous activities near Charlotte.


Photo by Logan Cyrus

12.  Camp (or glamp)

Adrenaline Meter: ★★

Camping ain’t for everyone. Don’t sneak that foam pad under your sleeping bag just yet—here are some other ideas for campers of all levels:

Modest: For new campers, or for people who like access to indoor plumbing, try Linville Falls Campground. There are 64 sites available for car camping all within hiking distance of Linville Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of North Carolina.

Industrious: Looking for a night under the stars? Consider hammock camping. Sleep peacefully in your nylon cocoon and wake up as the sun rises. We recommend South Mountain State Park in Connelly Springs.

Cushy: It’s a stretch to even call Treehouse Vineyards’ rentals camping, but it’s outside, so close enough. These adorable treehouses lofted above Monroe are available starting at $125 a night and come with easy access to wine tasting (301 Bay St., Monroe).


College Town Travel: Knoxville

Storytelling, travel


A travel piece about Knoxville, Tennessee, that I wrote for Charlotte magazine’s October issue about college towns.

ON GAME DAY at the University of Tennessee, there’s only orange. Orange checkered overalls, orange foam fingers, orange-painted bare chests with a “V,” “O,” “L,” or “S”—short for the Tennessee Volunteers. Instead of red Solo cups, cups here are orange.

A barrage of “Good Ol’ Rocky Top” permeates past Neyland Stadium—one of the largest college football stadiums, holding more than 100,000—through downtown Knoxville, and to TVs across the state.

This parade of school spirit took a different form in the spring of 1974, though, when students ditched the orange and opted for nude. When a streaking fad took over American colleges in the 1970s, Walter Cronkite singled out the University of Tennessee, and Knoxville by proxy, as the ultimate hub of the sport. This was after more than 5,000 students left their textbooks and clothing behind and ran down the mile-long Cumberland Avenue—also known as The Strip.



Around Towns: Saluda, Charlotte Magazine

music, Storytelling, travel


A travel feature story for Charlotte magazine’s November 2016 issue. 

SALUDA IS NOT in the foothills of the Appalachians, and its locals are quick to correct me on that. If you’re driving north from South Carolina, the town sits atop the first peak in the Blue Ridge range and is home to the steepest railroad grade in the country—or would be, if the trains were still running.

In 2001, freight trains stopped passing through Saluda. Now, the town leans on its musical traditions to build itself up as a hub for live music and local art. You might say Saluda traded in the sounds of whistling trains for strumming chords, and the people here want you to listen.


Photo by Logan Cyrus