Beer Birthday: Dylan Schatz

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Today is the 44th birthday of Dylan Schatz, brewmaster at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, which is where he’s originally from. Dylan started in 1999 in the brewery’s packaging department, on the bottling line, and immediately fell in love with the beer industry. He took classes at UC Davis and became a brewer, and in 2005 was named head brewer. He’s a terrific person, one who often doesn’t get all the credit he deserves, especially since he’s been making some amazing beers. Please join me in wishing Dylan a very happy birthday.

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Dylan with some of the crew from Mad River after winning Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year at GABF in 2010.

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Behind the bar at Mad River’s tasting room during a visit there last summer, when I was in the research phase for my latest book, California Breweries North.

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Dylan and Vic at the Double IPA Fest

Historic Beer Birthday: Joe Allen

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Today is the birthday of Joe Allen (February 9, 1888-c. after 1960s). Allen’s parents were Irish and came to America, settling in Minnesota, in 1883. At some point, Joe made his way to San Francisco and was working as a brewer at the Anchor Brewery when it reopened after the end of prohibition in 1933 at 1610 Harrison Street. Unfortunately, less than a year later, in February of 1934, the brewery burned to the ground. Owner Joe Kraus then partnered with his brewmaster, Joe Allen, and they re-built the brewery in an old brick building at 398 Kansas Street, by 1st Street.

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Here, I’ll let Anchor Brewery’s website take up the story from The Era of Mass Production.

Kraus and Allen valiantly and lovingly kept Anchor afloat until Kraus’s death in 1952. By late 1959, America’s—even San Francisco’s—new-found “taste” for mass-produced, heavily marketed lighter beers had taken its toll on Anchor’s already declining sales. In July of that year, at the age of 71, Joe Allen shut Anchor down for what would, thankfully, be a brief period.

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Again, Anchor Brewing picks up the story, Surviving Another Challenge from 1960.

Lawrence Steese bought and re-opened Anchor in 1960 at yet another nearby location, retaining Joe Allen to carry Anchor’s craft brewing tradition forward. But one of Anchor’s oldest accounts, the Crystal Palace Market had already closed its doors. And Steese had an increasingly difficult time convincing loyal Bay Area establishments to continue serving Anchor Steam. By 1965, Steese—like Allen six years before—was ready to shut Anchor down.

The next year, 1961, the brewery moved to 541 8th Street, where it remained until 1977. Of course, in 1965, another owner invested in the brewery, eventually buying out the remaining partners. That, you probably already know, was Fritz Maytag. There’s not much I could find on Allen’s life before and after he worked at, and then owned, the Anchor Brewery, not even the year of his death. If anyone has any more information, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.

Historic Beer Birthday: Andrew MacElhone

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Today is the birthday of famed bartender Andrew MacElhone (February 8, 1923-September 16, 1996) whose father opened the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France in 1911.

It was originally founded by American jockey Tod Sloan, who so wanted to create the atmosphere of a New York saloon that he actually bought one in New York, had it dismantled, shipped to Paris and rebuilt it where it stands to day at 5 rue Daunou (Sank Roo Doe Noo). It’s original name was simply the New York Bar when it opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1911. Sloan initially hired a Scottish bartender from Dundee named Harry MacElhone to run it, who twelve years later bought the bar in 1923 and added his first name to it. Shortly after opening, it began attracting American expatriates and celebrities, including such “Lost Generation” writers as F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. George Gershwin supposedly wrote “An American In Paris” there, and it has been visited by many movie stars over the years, from Humphrey Bogart to Clint Eastwood. In the book Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s character Bond said it the best place in Paris to get a “solid drink.” It’s also where the Bloody Mary was first conceived, as well as the White Lady and the Sidecar.

Andrew started working in the bar in 1939, when he was 16, and never left. He took over for his father Harry MacElhone in 1958 and continued to run the bar for 31 years, until 1989. He’s also credited with creating the Blue Lagoon cocktail in the 1960s, when Blue Curaçao was first available in bottles.

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Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

Historic Beer Birthday: Lüder Rutenberg

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Today is the birthday of Lüder Rutenberg (February 8, 1816-June 14, 1890) who was born in Bremen, Germany. He was an architect, a builder and one of the co-founders of Beck’s Brewery, formally known as Brauerei Beck & Co. “The brewery was formed under the name Kaiserbrauerei Beck & May o.H.G. in 1873 by Lüder Rutenberg, Heinrich Beck and Thomas May. In 1875, Thomas May left the brewery which then became known as Kaiserbrauerei Beck & Co.”

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Here’s a short biography of Lüder Rutenberg, translated from his German Wikipedia page:

Rutenberg — son of the builder Diedrich Christian Rutenberg — learned after visiting the Remberti and the grammar school with his father. He studied from 1836 to 1840 in Berlin physics, chemistry and technology. From 1841 he was an employee at his father.

In 1847 he became an independent architect. Its operation was one of the largest construction companies in Bremen. Lüder Rutenberg was especially during the expansion of the Bremen suburbs as a builder for the typical residential streets with one- or two-story terraced houses successfully. Men of his profession erected at that time for its own account and sold whole streets of houses or flats profitably. 1849 by the Bremen Senate a request Rod Berg refused to be allowed to build in Bremen similarly large tenement houses such as in Hamburg or Berlin. Had been such application is approved, this greatly affect the appearance of many neighborhoods Bremen would have had.

1853 rose Rutenberg in the brewery business and acquired with his sister and his brother-in as a partner, the Runge brewery, which he in St. Pauli Brewery renamed and goal for until 1870 the largest brewery in Bremen. Later he bought along with the master brewer Heinrich Beck several smaller breweries and participated in 1873 in the construction of a brewery in the New Town, the then Kaiser brewery was later large brewery Beck & Co.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Morton Coutts

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Today is the birthday of Morton W. Coutts (February 7, 1904-June 25, 2004) who was a “New Zealand inventor who revolutionized the science of brewing beer,” and “is best known for the continuous fermentation method.”

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Here’s a basic biography from the DB Breweries website:

Morton Coutts (1904-2004) was the inheritor of a rich brewing tradition dating back to the 19th century. Like his father, W. Joseph Coutts and grandfather, Joseph Friedrich Kühtze, Morton Coutts was more an innovator and scientific brewer than a businessman. He was foundation head brewer of Dominion Breweries Ltd under (Sir) Henry Kelliher and became a director of the company after his father’s death in 1946. He and Kelliher formed a formidable team-Coutts, the boffin-like heir to a rich brewing heritage, obsessed with quality control and production innovation, and Kelliher, a confident, entrepreneurial businessman, able to hold his own with politicians and competitors.

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Morton Coutts’ most important contribution was the development in the 1950s of the system of continuous fermentation, patented in 1956, to give greater beer consistency and product control. The continuous fermentation process was so named because it allows a continuous flow of ingredients in the brewing, eliminating variables to produce the ideal beer continuously. The system achieved this by scrapping open vats-the weak link in the old system-and replacing them with enclosed sealed tanks. Continuous fermentation allows the brew to flow from tank to tank, fermenting under pressure, and never coming into contact with the atmosphere, even when bottled. Coutts’ research showed that his process could produce consistent, more palatable beer with a longer shelf life than under batch brewing. A London newspaper described it as a “brewer’s dream and yours too”. Coutts patented the process, and subsequently the patent rights were sold worldwide as other brewers recognised the inherent benefits of continuous processes. Although many attempted to implement the technology, most failed due to their inability to apply the rigorous hygiene techniques developed and applied by Coutts. Eventually, in 1983, Coutts’ contribution to the industry was honoured in New Zealand.

And DB Breweries also has a timeline with key events in the brewery’s history, including dates from Coutts’ life.

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The Waitemata Brewery in 1933, after it became part of DB Breweries.

As for his most influential invention, continuous fermentation, here are some resources, one from New Zealand’s Science Trust Roadshow with Morton Coutts — Continuous Fermentation System. And after I visited New Zealand, I wrote a sidebar on it for an article I did for All About Beer, and also later when a German university announced something very similar a few years ago in Everything Old Is New Again: Non-Stop Fermentation.

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Coutts later in life.

Also, here’s the story of him creating DB Export The Untold Story, featuring this fun video.

Beer Birthday: Tom Acitelli

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Today is the 39th birthday of Tom Acitelli, author of the wonderful history of craft beer, The Audacity of Hops. Tom reached out to me while he was working on his book, and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s a great new addition to the cadre of writers chronicling the beer industry these days. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

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Tom reading selections from his book at Anchor Brewery.

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Tom and Vinnie Cilurzo during a visit to the Russian River production brewery.

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At Lagunitas for Tom’s book release party two years ago, with Joe Tucker, Jeremy Marshall, me, Tom and Ken Weaver.

Beer Birthday: Jeff O’Neil

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Today is the 42nd birthday of Jeff O’Neil, who I first met when he was brewing at Drake’s here in sunny California. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself at Ithaca Beer Co. before leaving that gig to become the brewmaster at the Peekskill Brewery, both of which are in upstate New York, which is where Jeff originally hails from. Jeff’s a terrific brewer and an equally wonderful guy. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff at GABF in 2007.

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Jeff O’Neil, from Ithaca Brewing, wearing his automatic-get-on-the-bulletin shirt, with Rodger Davis, when he was still with Drake’s, not wearing his, at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2008.

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Jeff O’Neil, a mild-mannered brewer was underneath wearing the Bulletin supporter costume that turns him into a superhero, coming into Deep Ellum in Boson for an event during the Craft Brewers Conference a few years ago.

Beer Birthday: John Hickenlooper

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Today is the 64th birthday of Governor of Colorado — and former Denver mayor — John Hickenlooper. John was also the co-founder of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver’s LoDo District, and in fact is credited with helping to revitalize the whole area. After being a popular, and by all accounts very effective mayor, for several years, he was elected as the Governor of Colorado. John’s been great for Denver, Colorado and craft brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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George Wendt, Nancy Johnson & John at the Great American Beer Festival three years ago.

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With Ken Allen, from Anderson Valley Brewing, and Dave Buehler, from Elysian Brewing at GABF several years ago.

Beer Birthday: Jay Sheveck

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Today is also the 46th birthday of Jay Sheveck, a beer writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles. In addition to writing for the Celebrator, Jay wrote the Beer Guppy’s Guide to Southern California . He’s also been working for many, many years on a documentary film about the early days of craft beer, Beer Pioneers. There’s a teaser trailer of it at the bottom of this page. Personally, I’m excited about his film (and not just because I may be in it, unless I end up on the cutting room floor, that is). Join me in wishing Jay a very happy birthday.

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Alec Moss, former brewer at Half Moon Bay, with Jay at the celebrator’s Best of the West Fest in 2009.

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Jay and a glass of Chimay.

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Jay and his wife Vicki at the Director’s Guild dinner in 1998.

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Jay and his new son Jake.

(Note: last three photos purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Brian Ford

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Today is the 52nd birthday of Brian Ford, owner/brewer at the Auburn Alehouse near Sacramento, California. Brian previously brewed at Beermann’s Beerworks, but left before they closed a number of years ago. His new place is in an old historic building, a really cool space, where he’s making some more great beer. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

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Brian pouring his beer at the Raley Field Beerfest in 2007.

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And here’s Brian with Glynn Phillips, from Rubicon, at the same event.

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Rich Norgrove, from Bear Republic and Brian, bookending Dave Morrow from DBI, at the Celebrator’s 25th Anniversary Party in 2013.

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A publicity shot at the Auburn Alehouse.