If laughter is the best medicine, beer might be second best, so leave it to the crew at Dogfish Head to combine the two.
Mr. Chuckles Milk Stout, was released Feb. 29 at Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth Beach brewpub, and is a tribute to a local legend: Tom Greenwood, aka Chuckles the Clown.
Greenwood is known in the Cape Region as the cheerful man behind the counter at R&L Liquors in downtown Lewes, a favorite spot for Dogfish founder Sam Calagione that has one of the most diverse selections of vintage Dogfish beers in the area.
Greenwood considers himself a beer aficionado, and when Dogfish approached him about making the beer, he chose a milk stout, as it was appropriate for the late winter and has a low alcohol content - 5.1 percent ABV.
“I wanted a stout that had some flavor,” Greenwood said.
Dogfish brewing ambassador Bryan Selders said the beer also includes bananas, roasted peanut flour, marshmallows and all-natural sprinkles.
“We chose to honor Tom with this beer because he has been one of Dogfish Head and Delaware craft beer’s greatest advocates for a very long time,” Selders said. “To celebrate his passion for our brand and his championing of better beer, it was a no-brainer to honor him with a beer for which he himself selected the beer style and off-centered ingredients.”
The name Mr. Chuckles came from Greenwood’s career as a clown named Chuckles, a career Greenwood came across mostly by accident.
“I was living in Nashville, and I ended up working at a birthday party, helping a parent that had some kids at a pool party. Afterwards, another parent said, ‘You want to come help with my party? I’ll give you money.’ And that’s how it all started,” he said.
At the height of his clowning career, Greenwood was doing six shows a day as well as corporate events. In 1987, he was one of two clowns to appearon the cover of the Ray Stevens compilation album “Get The Best of Ray Stevens.”
In 2005, he moved to Lewes to work as a special education teacher at Cape Henlopen School District, where he still works as a substitute. It was around that time when he got the job at R&L that’s made him well-known in the community. He still performs children’s parties, primarily making his signature balloon animals.
“Entertaining kids is easy, but you have to be having a good time yourself,” Greenwood said.
A native of Wisconsin, Greenwood said friends from all over came to Delaware for the beer release. Dogfish employees, including founder Sam Calagione, wore balloon hats made by Greenwood. It was only fitting that of the 140 bottles made, Greenwood received bottle No.1.
“I’m very flattered,” Greenwood said. “I’m very humbled by it.”