The Beer Dream Team

Two famed American brewers come together to create Savor Flowers.


From domestic partnerships to international collaborations, it’s indisputable that there’s a special camaraderie among brewers today. More now than ever, trendsetters in the industry are working together to create unique and exciting brews fueled by creative beer-geek brainstorming and a love for bringing new flavors to consumers. These special offerings are typically limited edition bottlings, with small runs and production numbers resulting in a consumer frenzy to grab whatever is released. The bigger the names and brewery reputations, the higher the expectations and demand.

Enter Jim Koch of Samuel Adams and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, two of the beer world’s most notable personalities—the former a man many consider to be the godfather of the modern American craft beer movement , and the other, a rock star visionary with whom everyone wants to have a pint. Koch’s and Calaglione’s groundbreaking individual beers have inspired many brewers to think outside the box; now the two have teamed up on an equally innovative product called Savor Flowers.

The raw floral materials. Clockwise from top left: dried lavender, hibiscus, jasmine and rose flowers. Food-friendly and food-focused, the beer is brewed using rose water (instead of regular water, which is the main ingredient in beer) with the addition of a tincture (an alcoholic extract) of hibiscus, lavender and jasmine flowers that was aged in Samuel Adams’ Barrel One. (Adams says this is the barrel that started the craft brewing practice of aging beer in used whiskey barrels back in 1993/1994—this is when Sam Adams made Triple Bock). The influence of both breweries is evident, but unlike other collaborations in the industry, nothing screams one brewery or another. The result is a wildly new creation for both parties involved.

Although Dogfish Head has worked with many other notable breweries in the past, both domestic and international, this is Samuel Adams’s first domestic partnership (their only other one being with the German brewery Weihenstephan on their Infinium beer released winter 2010).

Savor Flowers came to fruition thanks to Savor: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, the Brewers Association’s annual event. Held in Washington, D.C. (this year June 3-4), Savor promotes the pairing of great beer and food through a grand tasting as well as several specialty salons that feature insight from renowned brewers or unique tastings of limited edition offerings. For craft beer lovers the educational value of Savor is unmatched, since only founders or brewers (or an equally knowledgeable person on brewery staff) are permitted to pour. Koch and Calaglione will be on hand this year to pour Savor Flowers, and everyone will receive a bottle of the special release to take home.

Inside the Process

Through a series of old-fashioned handwritten letters, Koch and Calaglione discussed their ideas for the brew for quite some time before diving in to the brewing process. Click below to read their exchanges:

Letter One From Jim
Letter Two From Sam
Letter Three From Jim
Letter Four From Sam

To watch the duo create the food-focused beer Savor Flowers, click here.

Used on Video landing page.

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Reader Comments:
Mar 24, 2011 03:38 pm
 Posted by  timbaraka

Links for Letters 3 and 4 appear to point back to Letter 2 for Sam. I'd love to read the last 2!

This has been flagged
Mar 25, 2011 02:34 am
 Posted by  28brix

It's Amazing to have 2 pioneers of the Craft Brewing World together for such a project. This is a very Interesting collaboration. I mean, Rosewater? Even for Dogfish, this is definitely, stepping out of the Box. I noticed very recently that Dogfish has a couple other collaborations going on. One of which is a Botrytis Viognier beer!??! Again, definitely outside the Box. Lauren, any ideas or info on what that's all about. That could be very interesting for all of us wine fans out there. Thank you and cheers.

Apr 12, 2011 01:57 pm
 Posted by  Lauren Buzzeo

@Timbaraka - Thanks for the heads up, and sorry for the technical issue. We seem to be all resolved now, so please check out letters 3 and 4 to finish the saga!

@28brix - I couldn't agree more! We think it's pretty exciting too, and loved the oppotunity to be there with the two madmen as they brewed together.

Dogfish is definitely familiar with working on collaboration brews, whether it's with other domestic brewers (like the iconic Isabelle Proximus) or even international buddies (like their My Antonia beer with Birra del Borgo in Italy).

The beer you mentioned with the Botrytis-infected Viognier (and Pinot Gris) must is their Noble Rot, a beer that was brewed for their brewpub only and not bottled (unfortunately). You can check out more on it here; definitely sounds interesting:

Even though they held out on supplying that to the masses, they do offer other vinous experiences like their Red & White, a Belgian Wit fermented with Pinot Noir juice, or their Ch√Ęteau Jiahu, an ancient ale that includes Muscat grapes in addition to a slew of other interesting ingredients.

There are so many more great examples out there, from the addition of wine grapes to the brew to the use of wine barrels for serious aging. It's a great time to enjoy good drinks!


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