Beer Birthday: Darron Welch

Today is the 48th birthday of Darron Welch, brewmaster at Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon. Darron has something like a gazillion awards for his beers, including “Brewer of the Year” seven times (at GABF in 2000 and 2005 for small brewpub and in 2006 and 2014 for large brewpub; and at the World Beer Cup in 2008, 2012 and 2014 for large brewpub or small brewery). In addition to being a great brewer, Darron is also a terrific person, as well. Join me in wishing him a very happy birthday.

At a beer dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco several Januarys back, Pelican Pub brewmaster Darron Welch with the Beer Chef Bruce Paton.

Darron and the gang (including Ben Love at far left) from Pelican Pub & Brewery winning Gold for their Kiwanda Cream Ale at GABF in 2006.

Darron Welch (2nd from Left) with the Pelican Brewpub Team
Darron, again with the Peilcan Crew, this time at GABF in 2009.

On stage accepting on of his awards at the World Beer Cup in 2014.

Beer Birthday: Wil Turner

Today is the 48th birthday of Wil Turner, brewer at Goose Island Brewery. Wil’s originally from California — or at least that’s where I first met him — but moved to Chicago to brew at the Clybourn Goose Island brewpub, eventually moving to the production side. Since the sale of Goose Island, Wil’s moved back over to brewpub brewing at Revolution Brewing, also in Chicago. Wil’s a great brewer, of course, and a terrific person for the industry, always a fun guy to drink with. Join me in wishing Wil a very happy birthday.

Wil, me and Greg Hall at GABF in 2006.

Tom Nickel & Will Turner @ Wynkoop
Tom Nickel with Wil at the Brewer’s Reception at Wynkoop during GABF in 2009.

On the floor at GABF in 2007 with Andrew Mason (on left), Matt’s assistant when he was still at Flossmoor Station, and Wil.

Wil, also at the 2006 GABF, sadly empty.

Beer Birthday: Matt Brynildson

Today is the 44th birthday of Matt Brynildson, brewmaster at Firestone Walker Brewery. I’ve known Matt for some time, though I got to know him a lot better when I traveled with him to Burton-on-Trent in England to do a guest brew at Marston’s. And a few years ago, we both were in Chile to judge at the Copa Cervezas de America. Last year, I wrote a profile of Matt for Beer Connoisseur magazine, too. But suffice it to say that apart from being incredibly gifted as a brewer, Matt is also one of the nicest and coolest people in the industry. Join me in wishing Matt — a.k.a. “Batman” — a very happy birthday.

At Marston’s in Burton-on-Trent several years ago.

Matt (center) outside the Toronado with one of his then-assistant brewers, Jim Cibak (who’s now head brewer at Revolution Brewing) along with Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef enjoying the rare San Francisco winter sun.

Matt bookended by Adrienne and Claudia, from 21st Amendment Brewery, at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2007.

In Chile at Kross Cerveza Independiente with brewmaster Asbjorn Gerlach, Matt and Lars Larson from Trumer Brauerei.

Matt at the first Firestone Walker Invitational, held four years ago.

Beer Birthday: Brett Joyce

Today is the 43rd birthday of Brett Joyce, President of Rogue. Joyce grew up in the brewery, which his father Jack founded when Brett was sixteen. Having gone off to college and made a name for himself working with Adidas, building their international golf shoe business from the ground up, he returned to work for the brewery a number of years ago. I’ve gotten to know Brett much better since his return, beginning with when I interviewed him several years ago for a Beer Advocate magazine article profiling him. Join me in wishing Brett a very happy birthday.

Brett at the Full Sail Smoker during OBF, after a quick interview I did with him for Beer Advocate magazine.

The wedding party: Vinnie, Dave, Jennifer, Natalie, minister Brett Joyce and me, who gave the bride away
At Dave & Jen’s wedding during GABF a few years ago: Vinnie, Dave, Jennifer, Natalie, minister Brett Joyce and me.

Brett, me and Brian Dunn, from Great Divide, at SAVOR a few years ago in Washington, DC.

Me, Brett and Rogue’s maltster at their floor malting facility in Portland.

Beer Birthday: Craig Cauwels

Today is the 49th birthday of Craig Cauwels, who started brewing at Schooner’s in 2003, when his longtime friend Shawn Burns needed his help, and he continuing brewing there until after Burns sold the brewpub to a new owner. For a time, he was also brewing at E.J. Phair brewing, and even went back to brewing at Schooner’s part-time, splitting his time between the two East Bay breweries. More recently, Schooner’s has a new owner, who shut down the brewpub, but moved the equipment to a production space in Tracy, and is rebranding the brewery as Morgan Territory, which Craig doing all of the brewing. They even brought home their first medal from GABF this year, for a beer Craig made at Schooner’s but under the Morgan Territory name since the BA allowed them to enter under the new name even though they haven’t opened yet, which is pretty cool. Originally a molecular biologist, Craig was running the core lab facility at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University when he gave it all up to become a professional brewer. And that’s certainly been good news for people who love great beer, because he’s a very talented brewer. Join me in wishing Craig a very happy birthday.

Craig Cauwels, from Schooner's, with Vic Krajl
Craig with Vic Krajl at the 2009 Bistro Barrel Aged Fest.

Craig with Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) and Dave McLean (from Magnolia’s) at the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro a couple of years ago.

Craig with Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing at the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in 2007.

Craig with Brian Yaeger, the Beer Chef Bruce Paton and me at a Schooner’s beer dinner at Cathedral Hotel in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Peter Hoey

Today is the 36th birthday of Peter Hoey, who used to be the brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing, then left to launch a new brewery, Odonata Beer Co., with Rick Sellers, which sadly ran into some hurdles that had nothing to do with how good the beer was that Peter was making. He’s also brewed at Sierra Nevada and Bison Brewing, too. These days Peter is working happily at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’s been promoted), and I just heard this week he’s been promoted himself. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

Rick Sellers & Peter Hoey of California's Newest Brewery, Odonata Brewing
Former Odonata partner Rick Sellers with Peter at GABF in 2010.

Peter with his wife Britany, as they take their new baby daughter Lorelai home from the hospital a couple of years ago.

Peter at the GABF Brewers Reception in 2007, along with Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic and Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing.

Peter, looking about twelve, and Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing, at the first Raley Field Beer Festival in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Mark Dredge

Today is the 31st birthday of Mark Dredge, who writes the beer blog Pencil and Spoon from his home in Kent, England. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking with Mark on his last few trips across the pond. The first time, at the opening gala for SF Beer Week, four years ago at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado, and more recently judging at GABF. By day, he works in digital marketing and social media, most recently for Pilsner Urquell, and by night, he’s “a beer writer and blogger.” The last two times I saw him, a few months ago in Belgium, and last week in San Francisco, it was working for Pilsner Urquell. In December 2009, he won the British Guild of Beer Writers New Media Writer of the Year for Pencil and Spoon. If you don’t read his stuff, you should. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.

With Mark at Central Kitchen in San Francisco on the anniversary of the 1st tapping of Pilsner Urquell, November 9, 1842.

Mark, at left, having lunch at Mountain Sun in Boulder, Colorado during the Beer Bloggers Conference a few years ago.

Raising a toast. (Note: This last photo was purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Grant Wood

Today is the 53rd birthday of Grant Wood, co-founder and brewmaster at Revolver Brewing in Granbury, Texas. For many years, Grant worked at the Boston Beer Co., making Samuel Adams beer, and many of their more experimental offerings, which is where I first got to know him. I knew he’d left to open his own place back home, and he sent me a text at the end of the GABF awards a couple of years ago inviting me to stop by his booth to see what he’d been up to. Not surprisingly, what that was is making great beer. All of the beers I tried were terrific and it looks like his new brewery is off to a good start. Join me in wishing Grant a very happy birthday.

Grant with Revolver’s first keg sold.

In case anybody was confused as to what they were doing; that’s Grant on the far left.

Grant back in his Sam Adams’s days two-fisting a pair of Sam Adams Light Beer, before he traded them in for a pair of revolvers. [Note: photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Don Russell

Today is fellow beer writer Don Russell’s 60th birthday. Don writes a beer column for the Philadelphia Daily News under the nom de plume Joe Sixpack. He also writes a blog online, Beer Radar. His most recent book, What the Hell Am I Drinking?, was published last year and can still be ordered directly from the author. Don recently became the executive director of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, the trade group for New Jersey breweries. Don is also a fellow Pennsylvanian, a crack card player, and one of my very favorite people to share a beer and discuss the issues of the day with. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

Don (center) with me and Lisa Morrison at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich during a press junket to Bavaria several years ago.

Don, with fellow Pennsylvanians Lew Bryson and Jack Curtin at GABF.

Me and Don at the kick-off for the first Philly Beer Week in 2008.

Don Russell & Pete Slosberg
Don with Pete Slosberg, signing books at GABF a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Ken Grossman

Today is the 61st birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. It would be hard to say too much about just how much Ken has done and continues to do for the craft beer industry, while at the same time being wildly successful. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

Ken with two of his children, Brian and Sierra, both of whom work for the company. I took this in 2007 for an article I did for American Brewer on passing breweries from one generation to the next.

At the Craft Brewers Conference in 2007, John Harris, from Full Sail, Ken’s daughter Sierra, Ken, and Garret Oliver, from Brooklyn Brewery.

“Inside the Brewers Studio” at the 2006 GABF with Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co., Ken, Charlie Papazian, founder of what is now the Brewers Association, and moderator Tom Dalldorf of the Celebrator.

Ken and Sam Calagione at the Life & Limb beer dinner in 2009.

Ken and Jeremy Cowan, from Shmaltz Brewing, at GABF a couple of years ago.

Ken and Pete Slosberg, signing books at GABF a couple of years ago.