Historic Beer Birthday: Louis de Luze Simonds

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Today is the birthday of Louis de Luze Simonds (May 20, 1852-1916). Though he was born in New York, at 19 his father, Frederick William Simonds, and his uncle, Henry Adolphus Simonds (who was a partner in the family brewery H & G Simonds) decided he would be groomed to take over the UK brewery since Uncle Louis had no heirs. He moved to England and began working for the brewery in 1872, and later became chairman, a post he held until his death from the flu epidemic in 1916.

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The Simonds family maintains a website chronicling their brewery and members of the family through history, which includes a biography of Louis de Luze Simonds.

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“The Simonds brewery was founded in Broad Street in Reading by William Blackall Simonds in 1785 (although his father had a brewing arm of his malting business as early as 1760). The company moved to Bridge Street, where it remained until 1978. The site is now occupied by The Oracle shopping centre. Simonds became a very early limited company in 1885, taking the name of H & G Simonds from William’s two sons, Henry and George. The latter was the father of a later director, George Blackall Simonds, a sculptor.”

“The company amalgamated with Courage & Barclay in 1960 and dropped the Simonds name after ten years. Eventually the firm became part of Scottish & Newcastle who sold the brands to Wells & Young’s Brewery in 2007 and closed the Reading brewery three years later.”

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Beer Birthday: Judy Ashworth

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

Beer Birthday: Sabine Weyermann

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Today is the 58th birthday of Sabine Weyermann, co-owner of Weyermann Malting in Bamberg, Germany. If you’ve visited any of the Craft Brewers Conferences, you’ve no doubt seen the bright yellow and red of the specialty malting company, which is sold in the U.S. by the Brewers Supply Group. Sabine’s family began the Weyermann Malt company in 1879, although she can trace her family back at least as far as 1510. She’s an amazing person, and her malt has helped fuel many a small and large brewery. Join me in wishing Sabine a very happy birthday.

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Sabine giving a presentation at their offices in Bamberg when I visited there in 2007.

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Sabine and her husband Thomas Kraus-Weyermann at CBC in San Diego, 2012.

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You can see the Weyermann Malting Brewer’s Star that Weyermann’s starting making at the top of my home office/guest house, which we call “The Brewhouse.”

Beer Birthday: Jeff Bagby

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Today is the 42nd birthday of Jeff Bagby, who until a few years ago was the head brewer extraordinaire at Pizza Port in Carlsbad. There, you used to be able to read the entire biography of Jeff “Extra Spicy” Bagby. I’m not sure when it was written, but it’s no longer there, but it ended with the following sentence. “Jeff has his sights set on winning a GABF Brewpub of the Year award and we most definitely believe it is in his future as well.” Six years ago at GABF, Jeff won an amazing seven medals and Pizza Port Carlsbad was awarded the Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. That means his plaid pants got to go up on stage a record eight times! You can see a retrospective of Jeff’s plaid choices over the years, too, at Jeff “Lucky Pants” Babgy Wins Big. Once he started working on opening his own brewery, I suggested he should consider “Plaid Brewing” or some variation of that idea, like “Plaid Pants Brewing” or “Lucky Plaid Brewing.” Unfortunately, he went with a more sensible Bagby Beer Co., which opened two years ago. All, well some, kidding aside, Jeff is a terrific brewer and a hell of a washoes player, though I still think Dave Keene and I could beat him and Tomme again. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff with his then-girlfriend, now wife, Dande at GABF a few years ago. And yes, those are his lucky pants.

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Greg Koch and Jeff at the Falling Rock.

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Former Drake’s brewer Melissa Myers with Jeff at an event at Anchor celebrating the Toronado’s 20th anniversary.

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Sam Calagione, Bruce Paton and Jeff at the Lost Abbey for a beer dinner during CBC.

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Jeff at the Toronado for the annual Belgian Beer Dinner in 2012, with owner Dave Keene wearing his “Who the F@#k is Jeff Bagby?” T-shirt.

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Dandelian and Jeff Bagby in the upstairs loft dining area of their new brewery. The plaid back of the bench seating was inspired by Jeff’s winning plaid pants that he used to wear for GABF award ceremonies, as I detailed several years ago in Jeff “Lucky Pants” Bagby Wins Big.

Historic Beer Birthday: Bert Grant

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Today would have been Bert Grant’s 88th birthday, and he is still definitely missed. Bert opened the country’s first brewpub in 1982 in Yakima, Washington and was a fixture in the industry until his death in late July of 2001. Join me tonight in lifting a pint to Bert’s memory.

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Bert Grant and me at OBF in the mid-1990s.

Historic Beer Birthday: John Schneider

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Today is the birthday of John Schneider (May 16, 1833-February 28, 1907). Schneider was born in Bavaria, and made his way to America in 1852. He settled initially in Cleveland, and worked all of his life as a journeyman brewer around Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Late in life he became “a stockholder in the Standard Brewing Co.” of Cleveland, and was named director and 2nd president.

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Brewery History has reprinted an autobiography Schneider wrote around 1904 and it’s an interesting read.

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The Standard Brewing Co. of Cleveland, Ohio

Peared Creation also has a nice history of the Standard Brewing Co., which was founded in 1904, when Schnedier began his association with the brewery.

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Beer Birthday: Gary Spedding

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Today is the 57th birthday of Gary Spedding, who owns and operates the Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services in Lexington, Kentucky. The BDAS focuses on “the testing of alcoholic beverages and beverage raw materials.” Gary was originally a biochemist before being bitten by the beer bug, and later becoming the director of the brewing test laboratories at the Siebel Institute of Technology. In 2002, Gary founded the BDAS and has been there ever since. I first met Gary when he started doing short seminars during judges orientation for both GABF and the World Beer Cup, creating sensory exercises for us to challenge our palettes and make us stronger judges. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday.

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Gary looking every bit the scientist.

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Gary giving a presentation on Calculations for Routine Measurements and Parameters in the Brewhouse and Brewery Lab, at CBC, when it was in DC in 2013. [Photo by Thomas Cizauskas. Thanks, Tom!]

Beer Birthday: Shaun O’Sullivan

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Today is 21st Amendment brewer and co-owner Shaun O’Sullivan’s 52nd birthday. Shaun is one my favorite people in the industry. He’s a tireless champion for craft beer and very supportive of other brewers, such as with his fun collaboration projects. He’s one of the founders and organizers of SF Beer Week and through his brewpub puts on many special and educational events all year, not to mention his extensive travel schedule. His new production brewery in San Leandro recently opened, and it appears to be going great. Plus, he’s one of the few people brave enough to read the rough draft of my book, Under the Table, and even claim to like it. Now that’s a friend. I just can’t say enough good things about Sully, so I’ll stop here. Join me in wishing Shaun a very Happy Birthday.

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Shaun O’Sullivan and business partner Nico Freccia in the front of their brewpub.

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Shaun and me outside the Bistro after judging the Double IPA Festival.

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Shaun O’Sullivan with Don Barkley of Napa Smith Brewing on the first day of SF Beer Week.

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Nico with Dave Keene and Shaun at a can party at the Toronado.

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Nico and Shaun in lederhosen during 21st Amendment’s Beer Bus School.

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But this by far my favorite, it’s hard to understand how he could have given up all that to start a brewery.

Beer Birthday: Brian Stechschulte

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Today is also the birthday of Brian Stechschulte, former executive director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, who is now working for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers as their Public Relations & Media Director. I’m just guessing at Brian’s age, but by my reckoning he’s got to be about 38 this year. In addition to his paying work with the guild and SF Beer Week, he also writes online at All Over Beer and Bygone Beer. Brian’s a terrific ambassador for beer and a great addition to the industry now that’s a working stiff. I think of him as a kindred spirit. Please join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

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Brian’s profile picture, used without permission but begged for here in the hopes that in the spirit of its use will be granted magnanimously.

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Brian and me with San Francisco mayor Ed Lee at this year;s SF Beer Week opening gala.

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Bob Brewer, from Anchor Brewing, with Brian at GABF a couple of years ago.

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Brian after grad school graduation in 2003. Notice the can of beer he’s drinking.
[Note: The last two photos purloined from Brian’s Facebook friends, blame them.]

Beer Birthday: Dan Carey

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Today is the 56th birthday of Dan Carey, the mad alchemist brewer of New Glarus Brewing. I first met Dan at Hop School in Yakima, Washington many years ago, but I’ve been enjoying his beers far longer than that. He’s a fellow lover of brewing history and a terrific person, as well as one of the industry’s finest brewers. Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.

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Dan and me at GABF in 2010.

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Two Dans: Daniel Bradford and Dan Carey at the Rare Beer Tasting 2009 at Wynkoop.