Beer Birthday: Judy Ashworth

Today is Judy Ashworth’s birthday. She’s the Grand Dame of Publicans, having once owned the Lyons Brewery Depot in the East Bay, one of the earliest bars to really embrace, support and promote craft beer. Judy sold the pub in 1998 after some health troubles sidelined her, but she’s still a fixture in the Bay Area beer scene. I’ve judged with her many times and these days she’s very supportive of the homebrewing movement and she can be seen at most of the major beer events throughout the year. Join me in wishing Judy a very happy birthday.

Judy with Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment) and Chris Black at his Falling Rock Taphouse during GABF week in 2007.

Out in front of The Bistro in Hayward at the Wood-Aged Beer Festival in August of 2008. From left: Jeremy Cowan, owner of He’Brew, Judy, Dave Heist, and Zak, also from He’Brew.

At the Toronado Barleywine Festival in 2008, Judy Ashworth, Matt Salie (with Big Sky Brewing) and Judy’s daughter Laurel.

Judy Ashworth, Stephen Beaumont, me & Peter Hoey at the Pliny the Younger release
Judy with Stephen Beaumont, me and Peter Hoey at the 2010 Pliny the Younger release.

Dave Suurballe, Judy, Julie Nickels and Bruce Paton at Anchor Brewing for the book release party for Tom Acitelli’s “Audacity of Hops” a couple of years ago.


  1. says

    Judy had a nasty fall at home and broke her leg in two places. She’s in a wheel chair and crutches for a bit. I know she’d appreciate everyone’s good wishes at this painful time.

  2. Dave Hopwood says

    Judy, feel better. You certainly have the love of so many of us, I hope that helps in some way. Hopefully you’re allowed a beer or two on your Birthday. Cheers

  3. Russ says

    Judy–is there a cup holder on that wheelchair?? Hope you still manage to have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and are feeling better soon. Thanks for starting us on the journey way back when!
    -Proud member, LBDCC

  4. Chuck Buettner says

    Happy Birthday Judy – it has been a long time since the original Lyons still remember you and it fondly. FYI my beer is much better now.

  5. Ed Chainey says

    Happy Birthday Judy! You have been through a lot lately, so I want you to know we are all keeping you in our thoughts. Cheers to you!

  6. Pliny the Elder says

    I well remember my first (& only) visit to Judy’s place in Niles Canyon back in 1986. I was with a busload of Chico-area home brewers and, after several stops en route, we wound up at Judy’s for more beers and dinner; and what beers! I discovered and fell in love with Felinfoel’s Double Dragon Ale which was on tap. Her charm and hospitality have stayed fresh in my memory since then. Happy Birthday to you & get well quickly, Judy, the planet does not have enough good people like you upon it.

  7. Dane Wells says

    Judy, so sorry I am later in wishing you H.B. and sorry to hear about your fall. We worked together in the mid ’80 (AHA and such) and you remain an inspiration. I kept wondering how you were doing, and was worried when I couldn’t find Lyons on the web, so asked Mark Carpenter of your whereabouts. We sold the inn in 2004 and retired to Center City Philadelphia (the best beer drinking city in the US). I hope we can stay in touch.

  8. Kim and Harry says

    Happy bday Judy!!!! We were at the first day of the Lyon’s grand opening in Dublin and didn’t even live here yet!!! And the last day by which time we’d been quaffing your great beers for many years. Sorry to hear about your fall but sure hope you can enjoy some great beers on your bday. Cheers to you!

  9. beerman49 says

    Judy’s always been a class act & was a great addition to the craft brew scene early on – the San Andreas Malts thank her again for judging @ many of the State Homebrew Club Competitions @ Stern Grove way back when.

    Kim & Harry – you’re a year late w/your comment – PAY ATTENTION!

    • The Duke of Dunkel says

      Happy birthday 2013, Judy! I’ll pour myself a Foggy Night in the Sierras in your honor this evening.

  10. Kim and Harry Graham says

    Hoppy beerday Judy!!!! Long time no see!!!! Hope all’s well and you had a great day!

  11. Kim and Harry Graham says

    Hoppy Beerday Judy! Nice to see you in Sac.!!! Tooooo funny to run into you there!!! We’re going back in the fall so may see you then too!!!! Hope you have a great beer day Great Dame of Beer!


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