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Chris Caldovino: Crafty Celebrity Stories

Actor Chris Caldovino joins The Beer Connoisseur for the next installment of the Crafty Celebrity Stories series, which features the best tales of ale, and more, from leading actors, celebrities and persons of interest.

Caldovino's work can be seen in the Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire and more.

Beer drinkers like to laugh. What’s the funniest drinking story you can share with us?
I was at a bar with a group guys. My friend Joey was the hardest drinker I’d known, and not a very big guy, so it was deceiving how much he could drink. Anyway we ran into another friend with another group of guys. Apparently one of those guys was a big drinker too, so we were bragging about which guy could drink the most. So, they end up having a drinking contest that consisted of jaeger shots with beer chasers. They did so many shots that at one point the bartender just poured Jaeger into two pint glasses. These two lunatics picked them up and downed them. The guy from the other group went down pretty much immediately and my friend Joey stumbled out, my friend Dave and I had to help him out a bit, but he didn’t go down! In fact he looked back at the bartender and said “you never got me down, Ray,” which is a line from Raging Bull! At the time I had a two-seater sports car with a hatch back, and that’s where we put Joey to get him home. Of course by the time we pulled up to his building he was out cold. (Note: it was winter so we all happened to have black leather coats on.) When we pulled up to his building there were two people at the intercom waiting to get buzzed in. I popped the truck/hatchback, and Dave and jumped out. We proceeded to carry Joey’s seemingly dead body, into the building while the two people going into the building held the door for us with a look of shock and horror on their faces! We said “thank you” and continued on our way. If memory serves, I believe the police were called soon after we left.

Who's the coolest person you've had a beer with?
James Gandolfini. It was a couple years after I had shot Sopranos and I was in New York with a friend. The night was coming to an end, and we walked into a bar downtown for a night cap. Jimmy was there at the bar. I had no idea he was going to be there. So we sat down with him and had a beer and caught up a bit. It was the capper to an already great night.

What are a few of your favorite craft beers and why?
One of my long time personal favorites has to be Lagunitas IPA. I know, Heineken recently bought the company which technically means it’s no longer a craft brewery, but it was for the last 20-something years and it’s still a great beer. Another one I love, if you can get your hands on it, is “Pliny the Elder” and “Pliny the Younger” by Russian River Brewing Company. If I’m feeling something a little less heavy I’ve always been a fan of “Great White” by Lost Coast. It’s a great alternative to a Blue Moon or Shock Top.

Do you have a favorite (craft) brewery or breweries and why?
This one's easy for me. Lagunitas. I’ll say I’m slightly biased though because I have friends that work there and they always take care of me. But they have by far my favorite beer selection. “Little Sumpin” and “Sucks” (a Brown Sugar ale) along with the classic “IPA” and “Maximus” are my go-to's. Plus they always have a live band playing and outdoor seating with great food. And if you’re ever up that way in Sonoma County, you have to go to Russian River Brewery. 

Have you attended any beer events or festivals that you particularly enjoyed? What made them stand out?
I’ve been to a few Oktoberfest celebrations, and it’s always been a great time.
What projects do you have brewing?
I have a few things brewing. Some film projects in the works. I also shot a couple of TV pilots recently that are being shopped around, and there are a couple of other TV projects that I am involved with that hopefully will come to fruition soon. I’ll check back in with you guys when some of these things hit, and talk about it some more.

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