Sonoma State To Offer Beer Course

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So this is great news, and feels even a little bit overdue, though to be fair I may be a little biased, as you’ll soon see. With craft beer persuading people that good beer is every bit as complex and worthy of respect as wine or whiskey, Sonoma State University, in partnership with Lagunitas Brewing, will be offering a certificate course on beer during their spring semester next year. I can say it should be amazing — with my tongue firmly in my cheek — because they’ve hired the best teachers. My little joke there, is the class will be great because Sonoma State has hired me to develop it and be the lead instructor for the course, although I’ll be bringing in a great roster of guest speakers from the beer industry and related fields to teach students everything they want to know about beer, and then some. At least that’s the plan. And right now, we could use your help in figuring out what potential students are most interested in learning about when it comes to beer and brewing.

We’re developing the curriculum now, and the program is being fueled by Lagunitas Brewing, which is where the majority of classes will be held. On Wednesday evenings, beginning next spring, students will spend three hours in the loft at Lagunitas learning about beer and how it’s made, the business of making and selling beer, along with a better appreciation for it.

Officially, the course will be taught through a partnership between the School of Science & Technology and SSU’s continuing education program, the School of Extended & International Education, along with Lagunitas Brewing, and students will receive a transcripted Certificate of Completion in one semester.

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So what do we need your help with? Simple, we’re trying to figure out what potential students are most interested in learning about when it comes to beer. Do you want to know more about how its made, how to taste it analytically and appreciate it better? Or are you interested in possibly joining the beer industry and so are interested in learning more about the business and what opportunities there might be where you could find your dream job? To figure that out, we’ve created a short survey — just rate 22 possible topics, answer two multiple choice questions, then add any other suggestions you might have, that’s all.

So if you’re not in the industry, simply a beer lover, what subjects would most interest you if you took a class about beer? If you are in the industry, what do you think are the most important things to cover?

Please fill out the survey by Sunday, September 7 to help us identify the key topics that you are most interested in. As a token of our gratitude, Lagunitas Brewing Company has graciously offered to give a special deck of playing cards to survey participants that can be picked up at the brewery in Petaluma. You will be notified by email when your cards are ready for pick-up at Lagunitas. Or you could just take the survey for the fun of it and to help out.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

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These are what the cards look like that you can pick up at Lagunitas brewery as a thank you for taking the survey.

Beer Birthday: Carolyn Smagalski

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Today is Carolyn Smagalski’s birthday. Carolyn’s a beer writer from Pennsylvania — not sure what it is about Pennsylvania and beer writing — who writes for BellaOnline. Her nickname is the Beer Fox and she does a terrific job spreading he gospel of great beer. Join me in wishing Carolyn a very happy birthday.

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Carolyn with Michael Jackson at GABF in 2006.

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Don Russell, Carolyn and Curt Decker, from Nodding Head.

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Don Feinberg with Carolyn.

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Ralph Olson, from HopUnion, the Alpha King and Carolyn.

NOTE: Last three photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer In Ads #1295: Bill For Taxes


Wednesday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, also from 1939. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, and just before World War II. Showing a simple bill template, with a lot of negative space for impact, makes the point just a few years after prohibition ended, that beer was providing quite a lot of money into the economy, over one million dollars each day. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $1 million in 1939 would be $17,140,287.77 in today’s money.

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Beer Birthday: Fred Bowman

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Today is Fred Bowman’s 70th birthday. Fred co-founded the Portland Brewing Co., which was bought a few years ago byPyramid Breweries, which in turn was bought by Magic Hat and now recently again by North American Breweries. Fred continues to be very active in the craft beer community, and has been supportive of the movement since the beginning. Last year, he dropped by and stayed with us during his drive ’round the country in a van, visiting old friends and family. Join me in wishing Fred a happy birthday.

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By the Celebrator booth at OBF, from left, John Harris (head brewer at Full Sail Brewing), Tom Dalldorf, and Fred.

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Dick Cantwell, co-owner of Elysian Brewing Co. in Seattle, with Fred at an after party at the Falling Rock during GABF.

Beer In Ads #1294: Why Responsible Brewers Are Adopting This Symbol


Tuesday’s ad is from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, from 1939. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, and just before World War II. It looks like it most likely was published in a trade magazine of some type rather than a consumer periodical. But I especially love the logo as if it were the sun, coming down from the heavens.

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Beer Birthday: Pete Reid

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Today is Pete Reid’s 51st birthday. Pete is the publisher of Modern Brewery Age. I first met Pete a number of years ago at a Craft Brewers Conference but finally got to know him much better during a trip to Bavaria a few years back, where the two of us took a side trip to Salzburg to visit the Austrian Trumer Brauerei. Join me in wishing Pete a very happy birthday.

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At the Zotler Brauerei in Germany.

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At the Bavarian Hop Museum, that’s Pete in the back row in the baseball cap.

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Pete, me and Chris Rice, from All About Beer magazine, during a trip to Belgium last year.

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Peter Reid, with Gary Ettelman, of Ettelman & Hochheiser at the NBWA convention in 2008.

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Toasting with Horst Dornbusch at the Bamberg Brewing Museum.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Brookston & Porter

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So you’ve probably noticed that one of the latest internet memes is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The idea involves “dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research.” Also, the “challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same.” I was challenged by my friend and colleague, Tom Dalldorf, publisher of the Celebrator Beer News, who also tapped Stephen Beaumont and Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association. So here’s my video, with my son Porter, who decided he wanted to join me.

You can find out more about how to donate at the ALS Association or the MDA.

THE ALS ASSOCIATION

I also challenged three friends:

  1. Fal Allen, brewmaster, Anderson Valley Brewing
  2. Justin Crossley, founder, The Brewing Network
  3. John Holl, Editor, All About Beer magazine

Now it’s their turn. No thanks necessary.

Beer Birthday: Pete Slosberg

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Today is my friend Pete Slosberg’s 64th birthday. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. After that he toyed with the idea of making barbecue but decided instead to make some incredible chocolates and had a small company, Cocoa Pete’s. A few years ago, I traveled to South America with Pete (where we took to calling him “El Pete“), where we both spoke and judged beer at a beer conference/competition in Argentina, the South Beer Cup, and then flew to Brazil to attend a pair of beer dinners Stephen Beaumont was hosting. More recently, he’s doing a lot of traveling and was working on Mavericks, a new line of canned session beers, along with Half Moon Bay Brewing. While his son Alex is still working woth Mavericks, Pete;s just relaxing and looking for the next adventure. Join me wishing Pete a very happy birthday!

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This was taken the first time I met Pete, over fifteen years ago at the KQED Beer and Food Festival in San Francisco, when I was more or less still a civilian. It was after I’d written a book on beer, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.

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Pete with his wife Amy and Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, at one of Sean Paxton’s beer dinners during SF Beer Week earlier this year.

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Working the bottling line at Russian River Brewing, with a bottle of Consecration.

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Matt Bonney, from Brouwer’s, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete and Rick Sellers, from Odonata at the Bistro Double IPA Festival.

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Pete with his wife Amy and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf at one of Bruce Paton’s beer dinners at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in February 2006.

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Martin Boan, who organized and ran the South Beer Cup, with Pete in Buenos Aires.

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Pete, with Edu Passarelli (owner of Melograno), Stephen Beaumont and me after a beer dinner at Edu’s place in Sao Paulo.

Beer In Ads #1293: Have You Ever Had A Glass Of Beer By Candlelight?


Monday’s ad is from the United States Brewers Association, from the late 1950s. This was well after the “Beer Belongs” series, and even after the unnumbered ones the followed the “Home Life in America” series. It’s also by the United States Brewers Association instead of the United States Brewers Foundation, as earlier ones had been. As a result, I believe it’s most likely after 1956. I love the look on the woman’s face. She’s having a good time with her glass of beer by candlelight. Those glasses look more like wine glasses, though, don’t they?

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Beer In Ads #1292: Litter Is A Slap In America’s Face


Sunday’s ad is later one from the United States Brewers Association — and associated industries — from the 1970s. This was part of the “Pitch In!” anti-littering campaign undertaken by Anheuser-Busch and other major brewers during the heyday of Ecology. This one may have been around the bicentennial in 1976, given the Statue of Liberty and the flag-waving.

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